If you are a Marketer, HIPAA may seem to be one the greatest limitations on how you prepare your health system for today’s consumer-focused healthcare economy. From deriving insight on which consumers/patients to engage, utilizing and prioritizing channels, personalizing messaging, and even managing attribution, HIPAA seems to be the first roadblock in designing the next generation healthcare marketing operations platform.
We want to demystify HIPAA-specific Marketing. If you were to survey individuals across your health system’s various touch-points, asking if they use a consumer’s health information to connect specific health system resources to the consumer, you’d find it is nearly guaranteed that your system is already using HIPAA in a marketing sense across the organization.
It is probably helpful to start by defining HIPAA marketing. Typically, when people start talking about this subject, defensive positions have already been taken, as they imagine the marketing department is pulling protected health information from the EMR and then using it to target patients for generic campaigns. They worry that the marketing department will include this information, explicitly or implicitly, in the messaging to the patient. This could allow a third party who happened to see the message to discern a patient’s health condition. That would clearly be a HIPAA violation.
But, what is marketing? A core part of marketing, in any industry, is engaging existing customers in an ongoing dialogue that has value for the existing customer. Financial services providers like Wells Fargo and Schwab, for example, are constantly reaching out to their existing customers with messages about ways to improve their financial health. Mortgage rates are down, IRA contributions for the year are due, 529 plans can help save for college… Equally importantly, they customize the message for the customer based financial health and communication preferences, among other things. When this is done right, these communications have value for the existing customers, and by increasing customer loyalty, have value for the financial service providers.
Health systems are doing similar outreach. They just aren’t doing it as well. Care coordinators, case managers, call center agents, and others are already reaching out to patients. A key part of many of those reach outs is to talk to patients about services that have value to them: annual wellness visits, breast cancer screening, diabetic eye exam, discharge follow-up visit, colorectal cancer screening. Letters are sent, secure messages are sent, calls are received. Most expensively, outbound calls are made. This is extremely valuable to patients. This is valuable to the health systems. This is HIPAA marketing.
Now, how could we do HIPAA marketing better? This is a big question and valuable question. It is the subject of many articles. For starters, however, we need to observe that patient outreach at most health systems is highly decentralized. Further, it has little to no metrics around activity or accomplishment. For instance, there are measurements for, or contact rules around, how often a patient is contacted: emails, voicemails, letters, live conversations, website visits. There is no coordination internally about what, in this moment, are the most valuable dialogues that a patient could be engaged in: follow-up visit, A1C reminder, med monitoring, survey.
We at SymphonyRM think these should be thought of as Next Best Actions, and it is exactly what you see embedded within our next generation HealthOS platform, and quite honestly something you’ll find limited in today’s Healthcare CRM. Schedule a Demo today of the SymphonyRM HealthOS Platform.