Much like any industry, there are core legal issues for hospital marketers that must be minded. As communication in healthcare continues to increase – in the form of email marketing, social media usage and more – hospital marketers are responsible for learning and maintaining compliance with the core legal issues affecting them. New U.S. privacy regulation that could affect hospital marketers is on the horizon, but in the mean time it makes sense to look at core legal issues for hospital marketers already in place. Of course, as new federal privacy legislation develops in the U.S., we will keep a close eye on the situation and can help you mitigate your marketing strategy risks.
Below, we’ve highlighted some of the core legal issues for hospital marketers that should always be on the radar when introducing new advertising and communications strategies for clients and patients alike:
As a general rule of thumb when considering core legal issues for hospital marketers, never use words that can make it seem like you’re overpromising. For instance, if you claim that your facility is the “best in the U.S.” without being named on a national list, patients will likely call you out. If you say you have an outstanding program, be sure to back it up with your credentials, awards, and the like.
Remember: Everything on the internet exists forever. You can delete an email on your end, but your recipient will always have a record of it. Be truthful and avoid overpromising in your marketing strategy. Manage expectations. You can’t ensure that your organization is going to provide an undeniable cure – so always avoid using words like “guarantee” and “promise” in your emails and messaging.
Fraud and Abuse Laws
For hospital marketers, Becker’s Hospital Review reminds facilities to consider Antikickback and Stark law concerns when creating ads that stand to benefit physicians in their community more than the hospital as a whole. To avoid potential legal issues, be sure to partner with your organization’s compliance department for best practices in negotiating arrangements with providers that will stand up to scrutiny.
You may be inclined to share a patient success story in your marketing strategy, but you must have well-documented patient sign off on this beforehand. HIPAA compliance, specifically the Privacy Rule, is a high bar that must always be met.
The Privacy Rule gives patients control of their personal health information and how it’s distributed from a marketing perspective. Under this rule, individuals must authorize the use and disclosure of their protected health information at all times for marketing purposes.
If you want to share a positive story, consider making it a generalized scenario. Use the word “patient” instead of a specific name, and tweak the story so personal identifying details remain unknown to your audience. Also be mindful of photos by ensuring proper consent has been obtained.
How HealthLink Dimensions Can Help
HealthLink Dimensions provides solutions for hospital marketers wishing to enhance their master data management, compliance, and marketing initiatives. With our services, you can reach your target audience and optimize claims processing all while meeting compliance requirements.