If you’re in charge of healthcare compliance, HIPAA may make you nervous — particularly when you think about the regulations and how they relate to social media. Although the public has the insatiable need to know about the businesses, organizations, and even healthcare providers they support, there’s some information they just can’t know.
Today’s healthcare organizations need to be online, but they need to do so without violating HIPAA. It’s posing a major challenge for compliance professionals.
Healthcare Companies Need to be Online
Social media has become a ubiquitous presence in many aspects of our lives, and the medical field is no exception.
Surveys show that close to 90% of doctors and other medical staff use at least one social media outlet for personal use, while over 65% employ such sites professionally. The potential advantages for medical practitioners are significant; promoting public health, debating healthcare policy, educating the public, and networking with colleagues are all constructive ways of which professionals can use social media.
Social media also carries significant risks for medical professionals. HIPAA violations can lead to costly legal penalties, and healthcare employers may find themselves liable for health information disclosures made via social media. It is crucial that doctors and other medical staff understand these risks and take necessary precautions to avoid dangerous outcomes.
Establish a Social Media Policy
Healthcare providers must establish a social media policy, which outlines clear guidelines that employees must follow when engaging on social media platforms. By managing social media effectively and setting appropriate rules for employees, providers can maintain compliance with HIPAA regulations and protect sensitive patient information.
With the right tools and expertise, healthcare providers can confidently navigate the world of social media while keeping their patients’ privacy a top priority.
Create a Social Media Policy and Education Around It
Not only do healthcare organizations need to worry about their own content, they also need to ensure all employees are aware and accountable for their actions on social media. Any HIPAA violations can result in costly consequences. By training your employees — every one of them — on the potential risks and providing clear guidelines, you can reduce the likelihood of a breach.
Remember, social media is here to stay, but proper management is key. Specialized healthcare social media training can be a game-changer, saving time and money while ensuring that employees are aware of where the risks lie. Investing in social media training for your employees can ultimately lead to better patient care and a stronger reputation for your facility.
Establish a Framework for Monitoring Social Media
The risk of violating HIPAA regulations is greater now more than ever, with multitudes of personal information being shared daily. To mitigate this risk, it’s essential to establish a program for monitoring and managing online presence, as well as providing appropriate training for staff. The policy and procedure for social media use must come first, followed by the implementation of an appropriate monitoring system.
One way to monitor and track any HIPAA breaches on social media, is by coordinating policy acknowledgment and incident reporting. You can hold all staff, including yourself, accountable by requiring personnel to report any instances of potential HIPAA violations or sharing of patient information online, without the patient’s consent. It may seem daunting, but with the right planning and organization, it’s worth the time and effort. By establishing an effective accountability program and staff training, healthcare providers can protect their practices from the far-reaching consequences of HIPAA violations.
How to Support Better Social Media Compliance
It is important to find the right compliance training solutions for all employees at your healthcare facility, including administrative staff and marketing teams, so everyone understands what is acceptable and what is not. By setting out strict guidelines and training your entire team, you can avoid HIPAA violations and the costly fines that accompany them. Here’s how MedTrainer can help:
1. Offer a range of HIPAA-centered courses
MedTrainer is committed to providing a comprehensive platform for essential HIPAA information. As the most popular course topic last year, MedTrainer has over 20 HIPAA-centered courses in the catalog. Offering a variety of social media policies and protocols ensures your healthcare facility stays up-to-date with the latest industry standards. These courses are designed to educate and inform on the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare and privacy regulations, with the goal of ultimately keeping your facility safe and secure. Whether you’re a provider or work in another healthcare-related capacity, MedTrainer’s HIPAA courses will provide the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate this complex and vital area of healthcare law.
2. Establish microlearning opportunities
MedTrainer offers healthcare compliance professionals with an ingenious solution to ensure that HIPAA and social media compliance is always top of mind. Our microlearning opportunities provide bite-sized pieces of valuable information that can easily fit into any employee’s schedule, including those in administrative or marketing roles. We’ve created an easy to use, engaging platform for individuals to stay compliant throughout the year.
3. Provide simple policy storage and acknowledgement solutions
MedTrainer provides an online platform for storing social media and HIPAA-related policies that makes it easy for compliance officials to ensure employees acknowledge and understand guidelines. The platform’s tracking and reporting capabilities make it easy to share employee acknowledgments with surveyors and regulators in the event of a social media HIPAA breach — a valuable tool for organizations looking to stay on top of compliance. With MedTrainer, healthcare organizations can feel confident they’re taking the necessary steps to protect patient privacy and data.
MedTrainer Supports your Social Media Compliance Efforts
Healthcare compliance professionals play a critical role in ensuring that healthcare organizations comply with various regulations and guidelines. In today’s digital age, social networking has become a popular way to communicate and share information. It’s critical to understand that social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn can be potential minefields if not used appropriately.
Compliance professionals must extend patient privacy rules to social media sites and address online activity, both on and off-duty. Lack of professionalism on social media platforms can lead to tarnishing the organization’s reputation with potential legal consequences, resulting in costly fines. It’s crucial to practice professionalism and adopt policies that address social media use.
If implementing these policies seems daunting, MedTrainer is here to help. We specialize in supporting healthcare compliance professionals, helping you set out clear guidelines, obtain facility-wide acknowledgement, and ensure your team is following HIPAA guidelines both on and off the job.