How to Adhere to HIPAA Compliant Marketing for Dentists

How to Adhere to HIPAA Compliant Marketing for Dentists

September 12, 2019 - Arminco Inc.

Contrary to popular belief, HIPAA does not completely forbid answering questions regarding the review or sharing testimonials for dentists. There are some strict guidelines, but by following these tips, you can still market your business and adhere to HIPAA guidelines.

What is protected health information?

HIPAA’s privacy rules explicitly forbid sharing “individually identifiable information”. So unless the information you are sharing will reveal the patient’s identity, you are not violating HIPAA’s rule. Health information consists of demographics, conditions, treatment, and financial matters. Individually identifiable items include basic information such as name, full-face photos and … dates, location, identifying numbers and etc.

There are, however, some unexpected aspects to these guidelines so be sure to pay extra attention to the facts cited below.

  • The individual’s status as a patient is considered health information. If a patient complains that the wait time in your office was an hour, you cannot respond by saying it was only 5 minutes.
  • Even if the individual explains his medical condition in great detail, you cannot repeat that information in your response.
  • You may release information about the patient if they authorize you to do so, but verbal consent is not enough.
  • Do not be very direct with your patients. A statement like “it was good to see you” may violate HIPAA guidelines.

You can thank the reviewers, even if they put up a negative review. You can also discuss your services without revealing any patient information. You may ask your patients to contact you directly to solve any potential problems that can quickly escalate into rants by the reviewer.

Don’t let these guidelines scare you into discouraging patients from reviewing your business and not responding to them. So just don’t include any kind of information in your response that might potentially reveal that the reviewer was a patient of yours. You can hire an experienced HIPAA lawyer who can advise you on how to respond professionally to reviews and concerns. Also, you may use pre-made responses. Whichever path you decide to take, keep with generic responses to good or bad reviews.

Source: www.dmdtoday.com

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