Employees working in the health care field mainly doctors and nurses and also insurance personnel or officers working for covered entities gather a lot of knowledge and experience over the years regarding the different aspects of ailments, treatments, insurance and legal angles. And with the growing popularity of various social media platforms they may wish to share their valuable perspective with others or might be asked for advice from various quarters.
However the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) have a number of guidelines to protect the information of patients and any kind of breach even through the social media will be considered as a HIPAA Rules violation.
The following 4 precautions will help you to avoid any such possible breach.
• Understand the Social Platforms: Before you post anything on a social website it is important that you understand the nature of such media. You must keep in mind that the social platform was built to share information and anything that is meant to be kept private should never appear here. Also make it a point to read the privacy policies of the particular social website and keep track of any modifications in such rules which in fact happens quite often.
• Stay Away From Generalizations: While it is obvious that no names must be used when discussing any ailment or related matter, many people feel that excluding the name is sufficient and do not pay attention to other descriptions like gender, age and time. However it is best to stay off any kind of description no matter how general they may seem. When posting anything just mention the ailment and possible symptoms. Remember there is no need to provide any examples.
• When in Doubt, Opt out: When posting any material on the social media you must follow a simple rule of the thumb; anything that you would not say at your workplace must also not be said online. You must read and reread your post, this is especially important when responding to queries. Remember that there is no hurry to respond quickly, and it is more important to give a correct and safe reply for which you can take your own time.
• Keep Professional and Personal Spheres Separate: When communicating on a social platform you must have separate accounts for professional and personal interactions. Also never include your patients or clients in your group and always refrain from providing any information about them on such informal platforms. Communicating with patients must be strictly in a professional capacity and you must use only the approved channels for interacting, and that too from your office.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to stop using the social media or must not provide guidance at all. All you must do is to take the necessary precautions because you have access to sensitive information that is well protected by HIPAA laws. Understanding this law is the best way to remain in your limits, because in the eyes of law a violation is a violation irrespective of whether it happens in the office or in the virtual world.
For more information, please visit our HIPAA rule violations website.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Greg_Garner/201171
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