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There are a myriad of tools available, but practices should still be cautious.
In 2022, there is no shortage of tools and integrations available for your marketing website. Many of them take little more than a few clicks to implement and tout lengthy lists of benefits. We’re all looking to save time and money and enhance efficiencies, but I’d encourage healthcare organizations to proceed with caution when it comes to these types of offerings.
Now, I’m not suggesting that all third-party tools are off-limits. That’s simply not the case. But the reality is that — like all other portions of your healthcare organization’s marketing plan — the tools you use on the web are subject to the rules and regulations set forth by the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Today, I’d like to discuss a few questions you should ask before implementing a new tool on your website to prevent opening yourself, your practice, or your patients up to the ramifications of potential HIPAA violations.
In general, when I think of the common thread between these considerations, it’s about uncovering individual needs, individual responsibilities, individual strengths, and individual knowledge, and then leveraging those capabilities to accomplish a unified goal of connecting with more patients. Although the marketing and technology landscapes become increasingly automated with every passing month, placing value and effort into the human element remains key. Invest in the individual who is analyzing the data that’s being collected, the person who’s tasked with staying well-versed on security compliance, and the patient who is in need of your organization’s services. Each of these individuals plays a critical role in the overarching success of your organization, and considering how a technology decision impacts each of them can provide a great deal of insight as you evaluate potential risks and benefits.
Kevin West is a founding partner, Executive Vice President, and Chief Technical Officer for Full Media, a Chattanooga, Tenn.-based digital marketing agency specializing in health care. Full Media offers a full spectrum of HIPAA-compliant digital marketing capabilities within the healthcare space, including website design, online advertising, SEO, patient experience optimization, and analytics.