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How to Sell Without Getting Sued: Medical Marketing in the Age of HIPAA

HIPAA—whether or not you say that acronym in affection or exhaustion, you can’t deny its impact on how we approach healthcare and the public. Since 1996, the healthcare industry has been navigating what it means to be a successful brand in the age of HIPAA. While marketing according to HIPAA’s seemingly endless restrictions can seem like a daunting task, it’s not only incredibly beneficial to your healthcare brand—it’ll get you a lawsuit if you don’t.

Here are some ways to get the word out about your brand while staying in HIPAA’s good graces.

Make it Personal – Without Giving Private Information

Marketing under HIPAA is defined as “a communication about a product or service that encourages recipients of the communication to purchase that product or service.” That’s a pretty straightforward definition, but one with a lot of asterisks. In the digital age, it’s easier than ever to share a testimonial or story of your brand’s success with thousands, but medical marketing faces a unique challenge—how do you effectively show what your brand has done without specifically highlighting the people you’ve helped?

Under HIPAA, it’s imperative that marketers do not share patient information. Be certain that the marketing materials you create do not reveal any patient’s identity. Stray away from using patient names and photos, substituting stock photos and actors for visuals of real-life patients. Tell the stories of patients who have been helped by your brand while keeping their personal health information (PHI) and identity disconnected.

Being HIPAA Compliant and Digitally Savvy

While your medical company may know HIPAA inside and out, the people creating your graphics, writing your copy, and crafting your social media profiles may not. Make sure that your brand is working with an agency that’s well acquainted with HIPAA and what it means when it comes to marketing in the digital age.

One misstep in sending out PHI could become disastrous. The help of a business attorney can serve as a final measure to ensure that your hard work is legally sound. Medical brands need a great marketing strategy to thrive but can’t neglect the HIPAA restrictions they need to survive.

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