02 Apr Navigating Relaxed HIPAA Regulations
This past month in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, The Office Of Civil Rights (OCR) has relaxed HIPAA privacy regulations in an effort to help medical practitioners stay in contact with their patients – as long as the communication is held in good faith. But what does good faith mean?
Use of private one-to-one communication applications like Facetime, Zoom, & Skype are all now acceptable platforms, but what if a patient reaches out to you or your practice’s page on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter? Well, it really will depend on how they do so.
Social Media & HIPAA
For many medical providers across the world, social media has been a critical component for those trying to stay in touch with their patients. Publishing educating content on your story, page, or on a live feed is a great way to keep your patients engaged with their health while they are in quarantine. This allows for an open dialogue with your patients about various subjects related to what you specialize in.
What should you do if a patient begins to talk about their personal health on a public aspect of your page?
Depending on the nature of their question or comment you can answer your patient’s question in the comment section, but your best bet is to provide a general response and push to speak further in a private channel. This will help you to prevent any HIPAA violations, as a public forum would not be considered “communication in good faith.”
In these crazy times, it is important to remember that although HIPAA regulations have relaxed to expand your patient’s access to care, any public discussion, even if raised by the patient should be handled with care.
Do not let this deter you from staying engaged on social media. This is the perfect time to engage with patients and providing consistent content can help you to grow your channels.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, & Go Social Media
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