We know how seriously our client practices take HIPAA compliance—it’s just as important to us.
Safeguarding patient privacy is not only vital to protecting your practice, it also shows you respect and value your relationships with patients and their families.
So, when it comes to social media marketing—which is all about sharing—it’s understandable that there could be some apprehension about snapping and sharing photos and videos from your practice. With a few guidelines and a little team training, your practice can be sharing photos worry-free! It’s simpler than you think.
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 that form say?
Every time your practice shares any photo or video on your pages that includes a patient, it’s necessary to obtain their consent. 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.
Find out more by watching our video and download our free consent form template. If you have questions regarding how to create a consent form for your specific circumstances, consult with your practice attorney.
Good 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 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. We have a free sample policy you can download and easily adapt to your practice.
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
Create opportunities for photos that patients take and share themselves on THEIR OWN social media accounts. If a patient takes a photo, shares it on their own social media accounts, and simply 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! My Social Practice campaigns are specialized to create photo ops that encourage this type of sharing.
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 efforts.
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About the Author: Jack Hadley 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. Jack is passionate about helping dental practices grow. If you’d like to book Jack 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.