HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Marketing Compliance Checklist

HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is crucial for healthcare marketing as it safeguards patient privacy and ensures the secure handling of sensitive medical information, fostering trust and compliance in healthcare communications.

What is protected health information (PHI)?

Protected Health Information refers to any individually identifiable health information, including demographic data, medical histories, test results, and other information organizations collect. This includes information shared on all digital platforms. According to the HHS, PHI includes:

HIPAA Compliance Checklist

1. Protected Health Information (PHI)

HIPAA mandates strict protection of patient’s PHI, including medical records, billing information, and other identifiable health information.

2. Authorization for Marketing

Healthcare entities must obtain written authorization from patients before using their PHI for marketing purposes. Organizations must ensure that any information shared on social media or any digital platform complies with HIPAA regulations, maintaining patient privacy and confidentiality.

3. Call tracking

All call tracking systems must be HIPAA-compliant. Any recorded information, such as patient discussions or voicemail messages, should be handled confidentially and securely. The use of AI to track and analyze phone calls and identify crucial data points is permissible, but the data must be protected.

4. Scheduling

Scheduling systems should be secure and HIPAA compliant. All patient data, including appointment details, should be stored securely to prevent unauthorized access. Patient communication, including appointment scheduling, billing, referrals, and prescription refills, must respect patient privacy.

5. Form Fills

Forms that collect PHI must be designed to meet HIPAA standards. Information collected through form fills must be stored securely to prevent unauthorized access. It’s also crucial that these forms are accessible to people with disabilities to comply with ADA regulations.

6. CRM Solutions

CRM solutions used by healthcare organizations must be HIPAA-compliant. This means data transmitted via email and stored within the database should be fully encrypted and secured. Tools like Outlook and Gmail, or social media platforms, fall under the purview of HIPAA if they require personal identifiers for account connection. Provided that a BAA is in place between the healthcare organization and business associates, patient data can be transferred securely.

7. Data Encryption

Implement robust data encryption techniques to secure PHI during transmission and storage.

8. Privacy Practices

HIPAA requires organizations to have clear privacy policies and must notify all users of these practices.

9. Breach Notification

Covered entities must report any data breaches promptly, including unauthorized access to or disclosure of PHI. Develop and maintain an incident response plan to address any potential data breaches promptly.

10. Business Associate Agreements

Healthcare marketers must sign Business Associate Agreements with any third-party vendors who handle PHI on their behalf.

11. Minimum Necessary Rule

Access to PHI should be limited to what is necessary for the intended purpose.

12. Customer Database Platforms (CDPs):

Implement CDPs techniques like data anonymization or de-identification to remove personally identifiable information from the datasets.

13. Website Forms

As a precaution, limit the information, especially PHI, that is  collected on digital platforms.  Instead, direct people to a HIPAA-compliant online booking platform whenever possible.

14. Data De-Identification

Ensure that data used for marketing analytics is de-identified, meaning it doesn’t contain personally identifiable information (PII) or protected health information (PHI).

15. Access Controls

Implement strict access controls to restrict access to patient data to only authorized personnel. Use role-based access controls to limit who can view, edit, or export sensitive data.

16. Regular Training

Educate and train all personnel on HIPAA regulations and best practices to maintain compliance.

17. Incident Response Plan

Develop and maintain an incident response plan to address any potential data breaches promptly.

18. Data Minimization

Collect only the minimum amount of data necessary for the analytics and visualization tasks to reduce the risk of exposure.

19. Chatbots and live chats

Ensure data encryption, strict access controls, user authentication, limited data storage, and obtain user consent for collecting and using protected health information (PHI).

ADA Compliance (Americans with Disabilities Act)

ADA Compliance (Americans with Disabilities Act) ensures equal access to healthcare services and information for individuals with disabilities, including accessible websites and communication materials.

ADA Compliance Checklist

1. Accessible Websites

Healthcare websites must be accessible to individuals with disabilities, including those with visual, auditory, and motor impairments.

2. Additional accessibility

For mobile accessibility, the website should have responsive design and adapt to different screen sizes and orientations. It should also support touch screen navigation and be compatible with voice commands.

3. Assistive Technology

The website should be accessible using various assistive technologies like screen readers, and the user should be able to adjust text size and colors.

4. Website navigation

The website must be navigable using different input methods, including keyboard-only navigation. Moreover, users should be able to understand the content and the interface, which means the website should avoid using complex language or unusual navigation features without offering adequate explanation or alternatives.

5. Alternative Formats

Providing alternative formats of healthcare marketing materials, such as Braille or large print, is often necessary.

6. Captioning and Transcripts

Videos and audio content must include captions and transcripts for accessibility.

7. Accessible Forms

Online forms and documents must be compatible with screen readers and other assistive technologies. It can include alternative text for images and ensuring color contrast for readability.

8. Accessible Communication

Healthcare providers should offer communication options, such as sign language interpreters or TTY services, for patients with hearing impairments.

9. Physical Accessibility

Healthcare facilities must be physically accessible to individuals with mobility challenges, including ramps, handrails, and accessible bathrooms.

10. Training

Staff should receive training on ADA compliance and how to assist patients with disabilities effectively.

11. Compliance Audits

Regular audits and assessments of ADA compliance for websites, facilities, and communication materials are advisable.

Are you in violation?

Security Certifications

While there is no standard or implementation specification that requires a covered entity to certify compliance with security regulations, there are several certifications that can demonstrate a commitment to HIPAA and ADA compliance. These include:

This certification, offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), demonstrates a deep knowledge of privacy and security regulations in the healthcare industry.

This globally recognized certification validates an individual’s abilities in designing, implementing, and managing a best-in-class cybersecurity program.

This certification, offered by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), demonstrates a strong foundation in U.S. privacy laws and regulations, including HIPAA.

This certification, offered by the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP), demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of a wide range of accessibility issues, including ADA compliance.

Please note that these certifications do not exempt organizations from their legal obligations under HIPAA or the ADA, nor do they prevent potential security violations from being found later on.

Our Team

Claire Messina

Marketing & PR Manager

Important points to remember

Healthcare entities are required to continually identify trends, risks, and opportunities for improvement, also ensuring that marketing activities positively impact patient engagement and adoption. Any selling of protected health information to third parties for their own purposes is not allowed without individual authorization.

If the marketing technology vendor refuses to sign a BAA, Customer Database Platforms may be implemented. CDPS can help healthcare organizations organize and protect patient records by storing data such as patient demographics, medical histories, treatment plans, and other relevant information. They ensure proper consent and authorization processes, thereby guaranteeing data confidentiality, protecting against security threats, and detecting and preventing unauthorized use or disclosure of data.

DEI Principles in Healthcare Marketing & Advertising

1. Highlighting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Values

Healthcare brands should emphasize their commitment to these values in their advertising and marketing efforts. This not only increases patient access to care but also improves outcomes and patient satisfaction.

2. Addressing Health Disparities

DEI principles involve acknowledging and addressing the racial health disparities and inequity in the healthcare industry. This includes a focus on marginalized groups that have historically faced more health challenges.

3. Being Accurate and Transparent

DEI principles advocate for accurate and transparent communication in healthcare marketing. This means sharing relevant, truthful and accessible information about healthcare services, resources, and policies.

4. Understanding the Audience

DEI in healthcare marketing involves understanding the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and needs of the audience. This helps in creating content and campaigns that resonate with people from all walks of life.

5. Encouraging Feedback

DEI principles encourage open dialogue and feedback from consumers. This helps healthcare organizations to continually improve their services and address any shortcomings.

6. Legal and Ethical Standards

Adherence to DEI principles should align with legal and ethical standards in healthcare advertising and marketing.

7. Diverse Imagery and Stories

DEI principles in healthcare marketing advocate for the representation of diverse groups in marketing imagery and narratives. This helps to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome.

8. Inclusive Language

Using correct, respectful, and inclusive language is a crucial DEI principle in healthcare content creation. This involves updating style guides to reflect inclusive language. .

9. Assembling a Diverse Team

DEI principles call for a diverse marketing team that can effectively reach and resonate with a diverse audience.

10. Corporate-Level Changes

DEI principles highlight the need for changes at the corporate level to foster an inclusive environment. This includes implementing policies and practices that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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