Why Is A HIPAA Dental Consent Form Necessary
HIPAA dental consent forms safeguard patient privacy which is vital to protecting your practice, it also shows you respect and value your relationships with patients and their families.
So, when it comes to HIPAA compliance and social media marketing—which is all about sharing valuable content—it’s understandable that there could be some apprehension about snapping and sharing photos and videos from your dental practice.
With a few guidelines and a little team training, your practice will dodge all of the most common dental HIPPA compliance violations and start sharing photos worry-free!
What You Need to Know About Consent Forms
Two of the most common questions we hear are:
- Is a consent form for dental photography needed for patient photos?
- What should the dental HIPAA form say?
Every time your practice shares any photo or video on your pages that includes patient PHI, it’s necessary to obtain their consent. This is one of the fundamental requirements of dental HIPAA compliance. If you’re creating your own form, a good patient photo consent form will cover a few simple items:
- What the patient is authorizing: permission for your practice to share a photo or video on your social media accounts.
- The purpose of the authorization: social media and/or advertising.
- The patient’s power to revoke the authorization and the expiration date of this power.
- The option for the patient to receive a copy of the form.
- Who the patient is authorizing: your practice name.
- Space for the patient, or parent/guardian of a minor, to sign and date.
Good Dental Practice HIPAA Habits
Along with consent forms, there are other simple things your team can implement to assure patients that their privacy is protected.
The most important point is to train your team on your practice’s HIPAA compliant social media policy. Make sure everyone is clear on what they can post, the proper way to invite patients to participate in your social media, and who to go to if there’s a question. Remind them of the values you strive to reflect through your online presence.
Designate a space in your practice for social media photos. Do this to avoid the risk of having anything or anyone in the background that could compromise patient privacy.
The Very BEST Photos And Strategies DON’T Require HIPAA Consent
That statement sounds counterintuitive but hear me out.
The best digital marketing opportunities are when patients take photos and share them on THEIR OWN social media accounts.
If a patient takes a photo, shares it on their own social media accounts, and tags your practice, there is no need for HIPAA consent. Your practice can then share their post on your own business page.
Sharing a photo this way is not only simpler but better for promoting your practice because all the patient’s friends will see it!
Remember that HIPAA and privacy policies are there to protect patients, not create barriers. Don’t let fear or doubt keep you from taking advantage of valuable opportunities to build relationships through patient and team photos.
By adhering to a few common-sense safeguards and making sure your entire team is trained, you can confidently and comfortably include practice photos and videos in your social media marketing efforts.
Keeping your nose clean of HIPAA disclosure issues is simpler than you think. Download the HIPAA dental consent form and train your team to get signatures. If you need best photography advice, Andy Defrancesco is the right person to ask!
Frequently Asked Questions
One of the most common dental HIPAA questions is “Am I allowed to share photos of patients on social media?” According to HIPAA’s Privacy Rule, sharing (or even taking) a photo of a patient without consent is not permissible. Photography HIPAA rules are a bit complicated, but the main thing to remember is that you need written permission before sharing photos online. Even if the patient’s face is not in view, there’s still a chance they could be identified. So if you’re planning on sharing teeth photos, or if someone happens to be in the background of a picture, always get permission before posting.
The only way to be compliant when sharing patient information or photos is to get permission beforehand. With a dental marketing company like My Social Practice, you can use a HIPAA-compliant photo-sharing app to take pictures, get signatures for patient consent, and share to social media all in one place. Another way to share patient photos with permission is to have the patient post a photo and tag your practice with their own mobile device. This way, you can repost their image without worrying about HIPAA compliance, because they were the ones that shared the photo publicly. Of course, if a patient’s profile is private you will still need to ask for consent. Check your website for HIPAA compliance as well.
Yes. As long as you are considered a covered entity, every new patient needs to fill out HIPAA forms. By agreeing to privacy guidelines, both you and your patients are aware of how information is handled. It’s also a good idea to hand out HIPAA consent forms any time you intend to share a photo of a patient. This free dental HIPAA form makes it easy to get patients’ permission to share fun photos on social media or your website. You can also encourage patients to take photos in the office with a life events sig pack as part of your dental marketing efforts.
As long as patients have signed a HIPAA form for compliance, you should be able to post photos of them in marketing materials. Whether you intend on sharing pictures on your website, social media, or even paper mailers, you must specify and disclose all possible uses in the consent form. Keep in mind that patients may decide to revoke an authorization to use their photos and information, and that HIPAA covers their right to do so. Try this free social sign pack to encourage patients to take fun photos.
When patients post reviews about your practice online, the way you respond could end up being non-compliant with HIPAA privacy guidelines. Recently, YELP and HIPAA were in the news because a dental practice was ordered to pay $23,000 for violating HIPAA in a Yelp response. Any time you confirm or disclose PHI (Protected Health Information), you’re violating HIPAA—even on Yelp. One way to avoid this slip-up is by automating review responses with a HIPAA-compliant script. You can also work with a dental marketing agency that’s aware of HIPAA guidelines, and have them monitor online reviews.
About the Author: Adrian Lefler is a dental marketing expert and one of the founding members of My Social Practice. My Social Practice is a digital dental marketing company located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Adrian is passionate about helping dental practices grow. If you’d like to book Adrian or one of the other members of My Social Practice’s speaking team, you can do that HERE. Interested in learning more about the benefits of SEO for dentists, our dental websites service? Learn More Here.