Sharing testimonials on websites and social media is a common strategy used in marketing outreach for all types of products and services, including the healthcare industry. Perhaps these stories are even more relatable for patients contemplating a surgical treatment or procedure when they read of another person’s experience. And since patients can be inspired by others’ successes, it can be an effective way to engage potential patients. Healthcare providers must use caution, however, so they do so without violating patient privacy and confidentiality.
Here are a few things to know before you post:
- Have separate social media accounts for personal use and business use.
- Understand the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
- Be sure to gain consent from the patient with clear indication of how and where the testimonial will be used.
- Even if a patient posts detailed medical information on your page, it should not be shared.
- Ensure that you and your practice manager/staff are properly trained and are aware of the potential consequences of disclosing patient-related information via social media. Common examples of social media HIPAA violations include:
- Sharing of photographs, or any form of personal health information, without written consent from a patient.
- A mistaken belief that posts are private or have been deleted when they are actually public.
- Sharing of seemingly innocent pictures in the office, which happens to have visible patient information in the background.
Social media is a powerful tool for sharing information, sharing experiences, and potentially expanding your practice. As long as you’re compliant with what you share in social media, patient testimonials can be a powerful tool for your business.