Are Patient Testimonials a HIPAA Problem?
By: Dr. Jeff Brown |
When it comes to growing a business, patient testimonials are extremely powerful. However, they can quickly become a HIPAA problem if not handled with care.
Obtaining a patient's consent to use their testimonial (e.g., written, video, picture) must go well beyond a single sentence or a verbal agreement. True "consent" must be informative and comprehensive.
Elements of testimonial consent
A good patient testimonial consent form should include information a patient would need in order to make an informed decision. At a minimum, be sure to include the following sections.
- The proposed uses of their testimonial information, such as:
- Print advertising and marketing
- Social media, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Constant Contact, Instagram, etc.
- Verbal conversation with clients and prospective clients
- Describe the purpose of consent and the patient's right to revoke.
- By signing this form, you are hereby consenting to allow [Practice Name] to use and disclose...
- You have the right to revoke this Release at any time by providing your revocation...
- Actual "consent to release" language, which is the typical legalese you find in most agreements.
- I hereby authorize [Practice Name] to use my testimonial...
- I understand the information I provide in my testimonial...
- By signing below I agree and acknowledge...
- Provide how the patient would like to be identified. Examples include:
- First name and first initial of my last name (e.g., Jeff B., Michelle H.)
- First initial of my first name and first initial of my last name (e.g., J.B., M.H.)
- Use only my written testimonial, I would like to remain "anonymous"
To avoid a HIPAA problem, it is time to match the powerful patient testimonials you receive with a powerful consent form! Here's a sample Patient Testimonial form.
DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this article, the information provided herein may not be applicable in every situation and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice.