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Don't Forget Patient Privacy When Marketing Your Practice

MONDAY, July 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Use of marketing by health care providers must be in accordance with federal and state regulations relating to patient privacy, according to an article published June 24 in Medical Economics.

Noting that many providers are considering or pursuing use of marking activities to bolster their practices, Matthew Colongeli, JD, from Garfunkel Wild, P.C., in Great Neck, NY, discusses the importance of considering patient privacy when developing marketing strategies.

According to Cologneli, health care providers need to be aware of potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) via use or disclosure of a patient's protected health information (PHI). In general, HIPAA authorizations must comprise information such as the specific information to be disclosed; who is authorized to use or disclose the PHI and to whom; and the purpose of the use or disclosure. In addition to HIPAA-compliant authorization, health care providers must ensure that marketing activities are in accordance with federal and state statutes and regulations. Use of patient testimonials as a marketing tool are discussed in a guide released by the Federal Trade Commission and should be in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA).

"The use of marketing by healthcare providers will continue to grow and evolve," Colongeli writes. "It is essential that providers develop and implement a marketing strategy that is compliant with HIPAA, the FTCA, and all other federal and state laws."

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