Boosts Your Online Presence: Free Dental HIPAA Form
What’s the most important part of sharing a photo from your dental practice? Lighting? Composition? No — it’s WHO shared it and the effect that has on your marketing efforts.
Many practices post photos of their patients to their social media pages. Authentic and original patient photos are extremely important in building social proof and establishing your dental practice brand.
One additional to boost your digital marketing is to ask your patient to post the photo to their own social media accounts and tag your practice.
Do You Need A HIPAA Consent Form When Your Patients Post?
If a patient takes a photo in your office, posts it on their social media accounts, it’s not the dental practices responsibility. It’s only the dental practices responsibility when the practice posts photo’s of patients.
When a patient posts a photo there are several marketing advantages over your practice posting the photo:
- The patient’s friends and family who trust their recommendations will see it
- No HIPAA consent is required
- If your practice’s page doesn’t have many fans, a patient’s post will have better reach
- No additional cost to promote the post
Sharing HIPAA Compliant Photos Is One Of The Best Ways To Market
You’d be surprised at how many patients will share their experience online. All you have to do is give them the opportunity to do so.
As many of our client practices have discovered, your patients love to share about great experiences with local businesses and want to help your practice grow. Sharing a photo from their dental visit gives them an easy way to become advocates for your practice.
You might think “easier said than done,” but by applying a few simple techniques you can have patients sharing photos in no time. As with all social media efforts, you should assign at least one member of your team to improve patient experiences through photo sharing. Here’s what you can do:
- Use the patient’s phone to take the photo instead of your own.
- If you use your phone, text or email the photo to the patient immediately and encourage them to share it.
- Offer an incentive, such as entry into a prize drawing, for sharing the photo and tagging your practice.
- If you’re a My Social Practice client, simply use the HIPAA Complaint Photo Sharing App to accomplish all this in just a few taps! (The photos in this post were snapped and shared using the Publisher app.)
Tools for Turning Patients Into Advocates
Frequently Asked Questions
Aside from having patients sign a form before posting photos, there are other things to keep in mind if you want to avoid violating HIPAA. Stay up to date on any changes to HIPAA requirements by subscribing to alerts, or using software that notifies you of updates automatically. Working with a dental marketing company is another great way to avoid violations. Dental marketing experts keep track of the latest requirements and have processes in place to make sure your content is compliant.
One of the most common HIPAA violations for dentists is losing a device (or having a device stolen) with stored patient information on it. This usually includes laptops, computers, and tablets used in the office. Another common HIPAA violation for dentists is sharing PHI (protected health information) online. Marketing companies for dentists are great because they know how to keep you compliant, and handle all of your social media posting, comment responding, and other things that could unintentionally violate HIPAA guidelines.
The HHS has made several proposed changes to HIPAA that are expected to be passed and finalized in 2023. If you’re worried about staying HIPAA compliant in 2023, be sure to subscribe to a dental health information newsletter. When changes to the Privacy Rule are finalized, your office will need to implement these updates. Many of the expected changes involve giving patients more access to PHI, as well as giving patients the ability to share ePHI with other providers.
Yes—because dental offices fall under “covered entities,” all posts and interactions with patients online must be HIPAA-compliant. With dental marketing, make sure you have the patient’s permission before sharing photos, personal information, and even stories that may identify someone. Always err on the side of caution when posting photos on your HIPAA-compliant dental website or responding to comments, and be sure to give patients consent forms to sign during their visits to cover your bases. But don’t let HIPAA compliance scare you away from posting on social media! The more you post and engage with people, the more your practice will grow.
No. Sharing patient information with friends and family is one of the most common blunders with HIPAA compliance. Imagine telling your sister a patient story, having her repeat the story to a colleague, and the colleague turns out to be related to the original patient. If word gets back to your patient that you’ve been sharing their information, they have grounds to file an official complaint to the OCR. Minor violations like these can impact your reputation and your business, and result in hefty fines. Check your website for HIPAA compliance, and work with a dental marketing agency to make your life easier.
About the Author: Adrian Lefler is a dental digital marketing expert and one of the founding members of My Social Practice. My Social Practice is a dental marketing services 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 dental practices or our agile dental website development service, you can learn more here.