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Being Hip With HIPAA

ID-100261541People often say “social media isn’t for everyone or every business”.

Call me a millennial or tell me I’m biased because I am in marketing and all… but I disagree. Everyone and especially every business can use social media in some facet. Especially businesses.

It’s the strategy that matters… picking the appropriate social networks… organically creating a following… crafting unique and interesting content… engaging the appropriate audience.

As a few readers brought up one of the significant risks of social media in healthcare in my last post. HIPAA is a challenge and even a risk with “going social” for many. For those of you who may not know, HIPAA is government set rules and regulations that protect your privacy as a patient which includes the protection of any information that may identify you as a person.

The risk of social media in healthcare arises when sharing any content that discusses or shows patients in your healthcare setting. This risk is both financial and criminal. Violations of HIPAA are classified in several different levels of severity, but all include a financial consequence and many include a criminal consequence that could hurt your organization in many ways.

ID-100259900Avoiding identifying information or not showing patient faces is just not enough. Kate Cornelius shared some examples of violations that were unintentionally made. Pictures that appear to be harmless or even posts that refers vaguely to a past patient’s appointment can all inadvertently violate a patient’s rights to privacy and security.

In a business that is all about patients, this can create some challenges – especially in photo sharing platforms such as Instagram. However, fear not! This is does not create a roadblock but rather an opportunity to get creative and witty with your content.

Focus on the big picture of healthcare – what specific conditions mean in lament terms, special treatments and any current research, safety and health suggestions for the masses, organization events, or even industry related holidays like Nurses Week. By focusing on educational and positive themes, you can create a relationship with all levels of healthcare stakeholders without violating anyone’s rights. If you’re unsure, just take a look at some of the leaders of the healthcare social media pack.


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