Recently a clinic in London mistakenly revealed the identities of more than 700 patients with AIDS who’d signed up for an email-based appointment reminder service that included a monthly newsletter. The newsletter “To:” addresses were from an Outlook list, and were visible by anyone who received the email. As a result, there are two pending investigations into the incident and the clinic has suspended group email services.
Privacy issues should be a top concern for all marketers in this day and age, especially those working in digital marketing. And, obviously we’d be talking about a major HIPAA violation if this had happened here in the U.S. – it underscores the importance of not only training healthcare marketers in HIPAA laws, but requiring a high level of technical proficiency. While the article doesn’t say exactly how the email was sent, it’s easy to deduce that a secure third party email marketing service wasn’t used (like Constant Contact or MailChimp for example) which would’ve hidden recipients’ email addresses.
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