4 Things to know when posting on social media.

By: Hadiya Iqbal, DPS Blogger & Marketing Coordinator

Sponsored by Dean's Professional Services.

As time goes on, technology is evolving. Social Media has proven to be such a powerful tool for communicating any type of information to all types of audiences. However, according to Healthcare Compliance Pros, there are over 800 million people on social networks and professional blogs and  HIPAA violations are on the rise and are raising major concerns among medical practices.
Understanding HIPPAA policies is crucial, especially when you are working in a healthcare setting. Here are four important things to know when posting on social media while you are working:

1.    What is HIPAA?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that states that a patient has control of his or her own protected health information. No one else can release that information without consent of the patient. The patient’s protected health information can ONLY be used for healthcare operations. It can ONLY be shared internally, from a hospital to a physician, from a physician to a hospital, and to payment companies for insurance purposes. This information CANNOT be released beyond that circle without the consent of the patient.

2.    Understand what is considered a HIPAA violation on Social Media
According to the Healthcare Compliance Pros, Common examples of social media HIPAA violations include:

A.    Posting verbal “gossip” about a patient to unauthorized individuals, even if the name is not disclosed. 
B.    Sharing of photographs, or any form of PHI without written consent from a patient.
C.    A mistaken belief that posts are private or have been deleted when they are still visible to the public.
D.    Sharing of seemingly innocent comments or pictures, such as a workplace lunch which happens to have visible patient files underneath. 

3.    Familiarize and understand your company’s social media policy as it may be more specific than the HIPAA policy

4.    Keep your ethical and legal obligation in mind at all times                                           As a healthcare professional, you a have an ethical and legal obligation to keep patient’s information secure at all times. According to TheDailyNurse.com, This includes discussing an individual patient or their care, even if all identifying information is removed.

For additional information about HIPAA and the social media policy for Dean’s Professional Sources, please contact Tiffany Wright at twright@deansprofessionalservices.com