I recently had the privilege of writing a guest post over at the Compliance & Ethics Blog for the Healthcare Compliance Association, which focuses on helping healthcare companies keep their status as compliant organizations. Read below for the introduction or head over to their blog for the full post. – Jenn
The Internet is only a few years older than HIPAA (enacted in 1996), but as social media has grown in popularity with healthcare professionals in recent years, HIPAA has begun cracking down on privacy concerns that have come up on social platforms.
Healthcare organizations in many cases are scrambling to demonstrate proactive due diligence by documenting social media guidelines and providing training to prevent employees from posting protected health information.
Penalties can be stiff, according to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, civil penalties result in fines of $100 to $50,000 (with a maximum of $1.5 million for identical provisions during a calendar year), and criminal penalties may result in up to 10 years jail time.
It’s important not to fear social media though, prevention and education are key. And it isn’t going away – it’s an increasingly important part of our personal and professional lives. For context, 85% of the world’s 7 billion+ people will have high-speed Internet access by 2017 says a new study by tech company Ericsson, and three quarters of those people are expected to participate in at least one form of social media.
It’s time to embrace social media as a positive tool for becoming providers of choice in consumers’ minds, and to encourage employees to share their valuable voices in an appropriate and positive way. Read More