Are You HIPAA Compliant with Your Patient Testimonials?

Patient engagement seems to be the new buzz  word in town; similar to how the “cloud” was popular a few years ago. There has been a strong emphasis on growing your practice online through reviews and patient testimonials. Having your patients write or speak about their outstanding experiences with your practice and posting them online for others to see is a great strategy in validating your excellent services to patients.

Did you know that a physical therapy provider was fined $25,000 in 2012 by posting patient testimonials online? The physical therapy practice violated the HIPAA Privacy Rules by posting patient testimonials without valid, written authorization from patients. The next time you post a patient testimonial on your website or social media platforms remember to check if the patient has signed your practice’s client testimonial authorization form and if the authorization form is still valid. Here are some suggestions to meet HIPAA compliance when creating your patient testimonial authorization form:

1. State the purpose(s) for signing this form
Display the reason why the patient is completing this form. You must include specific reason(s) and a full description of what is being disclosed and how it will be used. For example:

I, Jane Doe, by signing this release, authorize Dental eShare, Inc. and their staff to use photographs, video images, or other likenesses of myself and/or my child, and the attached written testimonials, for the following purposes: {list your purposes}

I understand that the images and written/oral testimonials described above may be included in, copied and distributed by means of various print and electronic media, such as television ads or social media postings.

2. Be specific 
Include specific information relating to the purpose of this authorization form. Here are some requirements when creating your dental patient forms with regards to patients authorizing the release of their testimonials to be posted on your website, social media outlets, TV ads, etc.:

  • Expiration date – stated that an expiration date or an expiration event is required.
  • Practice name and contact information – such as, primary contact person, address and telephone number.
  • Name of the individual patient in which you are requesting authorization to release the testimonial information
  • Signature and date – if the authorization form is signed by an individual other than the patient, you must include the name of the individual signing the form and his/her relationship to the patient.

3. Include a disclosure on how to revoke this authorization form
Provide patients with information on how to revoke the authorization form should they choose to do so.

Online dental patient forms can help a practice be more efficient. Do you offer mobile friendly patient forms? Are you including a patient testimonial authorization form as part of your new patient dental forms package? Contact us today to see how Dental eShare can help your practice in creating customizable online patient forms, such as patient testimonial authorization form.

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