For any medical practice, social media is a great platform for interacting with your patients and acquiring new ones.
In a bid to remain competitive in a crowded industry, the use of social media in healthcare adds an edge needed to ensure a continuous flow of patients. However, this appeal is not unknown to hackers and scammers who know the true value of the patient information shared on your platform.
With the increasing cases of cybersecurity violations, you can never be too careful when it comes to securing patient information. Unfortunately, most small medical practices using IT solutions to drive efficiency do not give cybersecurity the weight it deserves. Whether you have a small following of patients or present as an influential brand with a greater following, the issue of patient privacy remains important. Utilizing cyber security to not only protect patient information from unauthorized third party access but to also ensure compliance with set privacy standards including HIPAA for your medical practice
Pros and Cons of Social Media Cybersecurity in Healthcare
With social media, potential clients find it easy to go through your page before deciding on their next step. The type of content you post on your social media accounts speaks for you. Creating useful content that touches on commonly researched health issues, and combining testimonials from past patients is a great marketing strategy that guarantees a continuous stream of patients. While creating content, always make sure that the patient information you use on your social accounts is compliant with HIPAA privacy rules.
Additionally, social media has immense power in educating the masses. Social media is the fastest medium to use in spreading information to people. As a healthcare provider, you will find social media fast and efficient in reaching out to your patients or potential patients.
Being on social media also means you are likely to get constructive feedback. From a marketing perspective, both negative and positive feedback is useful to inform you if you are meeting expectations and whether you have weak points that need to be addressed. Constantly checking your reviews and addressing any concerns is important because a majority of potential patients rely on reviews when making a decision on whether they should visit your facility for a consultation.
Using social media in healthcare is not all roses. There are certain disadvantages of social media in healthcare, among them being patient privacy. Although potential patients want to hear success stories for motivation and advice, you never know how the patient or their family will react. Also, adhering to HIPAA guidelines on privacy might be difficult, but it’s necessary to successfully implement a social media strategy to market your medical practice. It is a tight balancing act where you need to ensure that your marketing efforts will not come back to haunt you later.
Why You Need to Cyber Secure Your Medical Practice
Patient privacy does not stop at HIPAA and whether or not you are meeting set criteria. There are hackers and scammers who are also interested in your patients’ personal information. Hackers can easily take over your social tools to not only steal personal data, but mislead patients who trust you with their info. When it comes to information privacy, you can never be too careful. There are tips for social media security that you can implement to reduce the likelihood of your information falling into the wrong hands.
HIPAA provides rules that should be followed by health providers in safeguarding their patient’s privacy. The federal law dictates that healthcare providers should seek permission from their patients before disclosing their health information. Getting their consent is important so you do not fall on the wrong side of the law. On your part, you need to cyber secure your medical practice so that the patient information you have remains safe from third parties who may misuse it for own gain.
How to Cyber Secure Your Medical Practice
Keeping tabs on your social media accounts 24/7 is a difficult task, which means you need to invest in any small business IT support to help you. You do not want to be on the receiving end when information concerning your patients is leaked. In a nutshell, IT support will cushion you from any possibility of legal suits concerning patient information leakage or locking horns with HIPAA.
If you are worried about costs running high, especially if you are a small practice, you can take advantage of IT Solutions providers who have software meant for cyber securing small businesses. IT solutions such as ZeroFOX by Hootsuite alert you on potential security risks, and you can address them before it is too late. Hootsuite offers more security tips to help you cyber secure your medical practice including:
• Creating a social media policy and ensuring that your staff is aware of the set guidelines.
• Hiring an employee who specializes in social media to run accounts.
• Setting a system of approvals for any social media posts made.
• Taking advantage of small business IT support solutions to ensure that accounts are secure.
The use of social media in healthcare has revolutionized how healthcare providers market their services. The core of a successful marketing strategy is the use of patient information to support your claims and reach new patients. However, given the delicate nature of patient information, you could easily be violating your patient privacy in your marketing efforts. Though unknowingly you may be in violation of HIPAA, poor protection of patient information could mean that sensitive details may land in the wrong hands.
If you’re in need of IT support to help you protect patient information, we can help. For more information about protecting patient privacy, contact Scale Technology today at (501) 213-1732 to speak with an IT professional.