As a medical spa, clients rely on you to offer the highest quality services and to protect their information while doing it. While clients enjoy the results of fewer wrinkles or reduced spots, they may not want everyone to know what procedures or services they’ve had done.
To provide responsible care for both clients and staff, you need to ensure that your office meets all the necessary HIPAA requirements. Maintaining compliance isn’t tricky if your business is organized and your staff is thoroughly trained. After all, not doing so could result in a tarnished reputation, a hefty fine, or even jail time.
Check out these five tips for maintaining proper HIPAA compliance.
- Appreciate feedback, but don’t confirm it. According to Inc., about 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, which makes what people say about your business online matter even more. By HIPAA standards, it’s okay to ask your clients to provide reviews, and they can even mention staff by name and provide their own details. However, you cannot verify what clients disclose in their review. Doing so confirms that they’re a patient and have had those treatments done, thus disclosing confidential, HIPAA-protected information. Keep your review responses vague to avoid any violations.
- Share photos with permission only. Make sure that any photos you share publicly are only of your staff or hired actors, unless you have written permission from the photographed patient. Without permission, you’re disclosing that they’re a patient, thereby violating HIPAA privacy requirements.
- Dispose of trash responsibly. When any personal information is discarded, be sure to shred documents or use secure trash cans and a trusted disposal company. Personal information can range from formal medical documents to thoughts on a sticky note. Be even more careful by using a secure, digital document system.
- Prioritize patient privacy. Don’t reveal any of this information, since selling or disclosing patient information is illegal. When having a conversation with or about a patient and any of their personal details, do so privately. Avoid casually discussing a patient, which could be overheard by another client or anyone passing by. Make it a point to also protect written information, such as a client’s chart, patient files or even a patient list.
- Use HIPAA compliant software. Managing patient data or appointments, tracking staff trainings, and keeping client data secure can be a lot for a small business. By using digital software systems created specifically for medical spas, patient photos are secure, staff training is easily trackable and you can securely record and protect all client information.
Maintaining HIPAA compliance takes education and attention across the business. Be consistent in keeping high standards at your med spa by educating staff on all HIPAA regulations and requirements to ensure client confidentiality. The risk to patients is real, which is why HIPAA is federal law. The risk of non-compliance to your business is equally real. Prioritize compliance to avoid fines, the associated reputation, and client loss. It’s not easy, but it’s not optional.
About the Author: Jeff Dickerson is CEO of DaySmart Software, the makers of Orchid Spa Software, a leading spa business management software for appointment booking, staff management, payment processing, marketing, and customer communications for spa professionals worldwide. Dickerson has more than 25 years of experience building software companies and developing technology that empowers and drives real business results for customers.