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Healthcare Marketing in the Age of HIPAA Fears

November 14, 2012

The acronym HIPAA alone causes physicians and some healthcare marketing agencies to shudder in fear. The thought of running a successful Facebook campaign for a medical organization is nearly, well, unthinkable for many healthcare marketing agencies in Los Angeles. However, it’s not as scary as it sounds or seems, it just takes some social media knowhow and common sense.


Last week we discussed some tips for running a successful healthcare marketing campaign on Facebook. Today, I want to talk about some added considerations when contemplating HIPAA and Facebook marketing for medical practices.


1. Personal Privacy Settings – While we greatly discourage physicians from running marketing campaigns from their personal Facebook profiles, many across the nation toy with this idea. Any company in any business should know better then to launch Facebook marketing campaigns from their personal pages for many reasons. However, if this is something that you’re looking into, be sure to check your privacy settings, and check them often, perhaps even once a week. Make sure these privacy settings specify that your profile is private, able to be seen only by those who are Friends with you. And, while we’re on that subject, be absolutely sure not to add any new Friends who you do not know, and still be extremely careful as to what you post regarding medical issues within your offices.

2. Always Remain General and Informative – When using a Facebook Business Page, as should be done when running a healthcare marketing campaign, you’ll come across situations in which you want to talk about a case or condition that occurred at your medical offices. It’s only natural to either warn your patients, let the public know about the condition, and/or remind patients to get checked for certain aspects of the condition. There are ways of doing this so as not to get red flagged by HIPAA. Be general and provide the information in an educational, non-specific manner. Provide the facts, symptoms or medical details of the condition, but do not mention when you first noticed it, where or who you first noticed the symptoms in. You can very successfully educate your Facebook audience as to the condition without breaking any rules of HIPAA.

3. Establish Office Guidelines – While we do not suggest allowing each member of your staff, physicians included, to have access to the Facebook Business Page, or to make comments or posts regarding the business, we understand that many medical offices want each member of their staff to be a part of the marketing team. If this is your position, it is crucial and absolutely imperative that you hold monthly meetings to establish and re-establish policies and procedures. The easiest way to avoid this issue is to have a healthcare marketing agency in Los Angeles manage these campaigns for you in order to avoid any HIPAA violations.

4. Post Guidelines On Social Networks – To be safe, have all social media policies and guidelines posted clearly on your social media platforms. So, for example, if you are running a contest be sure to have those guidelines and waivers clear for everyone to follow. If you are receiving quite a lot of personal health questions on your Facebook Wall, public for all to see, consider posting guidelines about asking those questions through Facebook Messaging, where you can answer in private and direct them to your phone lines. Whatever you’re pursuing in terms of campaigns on Facebook, make sure to have the release signed and a terms of use policy available for all Fans to read.


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is not as scary as so many healthcare marketing agencies in Los Angeles will have you believe. If you simply follow the rules, get permissions and do not get specific, you can run a successful Facebook campaign.


About Quaintise Healthcare Marketing in Los Angeles

Quaintise is the Agency of Record for multiple medical organizations across Los Angeles as well as Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and across Arizona. With over 10-years in the industry, Quaintise has propelled itself into a new realm of healthcare marketing agencies, receiving top honors from clients and marketing associations alike. Visit our LA QDigital location at 10100 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 300, Los Angeles, California 90067, (310) 736-1752 or our main headquarters in Scottsdale at 7150 E. Camelback Road, Suite 444, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85251, (602) 910-4112.