Healthcare Organizations: Do Your Employee’s HAVE HIPAA Compliant Social Media?

July 17, 2023

Social media has revolutionized the way we connect, communicate, and share information. Healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, and other professionals, are not immune to the influence of social media. Over 90% of Healthcare Professionals saying they use social media for personal reasons, and 65% saying they use it for professional purposes. Healthcare workers increasingly use social media platforms as a way to connect with existing patients, engage with new audiences, and share their experience and knowledge in their respective fields of study. 


With all that said, Healthcare workers have strict policies and procedures to follow under HIPAA’s guidelines surrounding social media and many have lost their job or been suspended in recent years for violating these rules and regulations. 


What is HIPAA?


HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and  is a Federal law established to require the protection and confidential handling of Protected Health Information (PHI). 


According to HHS, the majority of HIPAA compliance violations from recent years have occurred from employees mishandling PHI, many of which stem from inappropriate social media sharing. 


Common HIPAA risks and violations on social media include: 


  • Sharing patient photos or documents
  • Responding to negative comments with PHI information
  • Communicating with PHI Information on social media platforms
  • Targeted marketing using PHI information
  • Sharing PHI with third parties without a business associate agreement.


What could the HIPAA violations cost?


Violating the HIPAA Privacy Rule can come with some pretty hefty consequences. The Civil Money Penalties which can result in fines ranging from $100 – $1,500,000 or Criminal Penalties which can result in fines up to $250,000 and up to 10 years in prison. Other consequences can include lawsuits, employee termination, and even the loss of a medical license. 


How do we help prevent these violations?


Since hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and related practices provide millions of people with jobs across the country, monitoring every employees’ social media profiles manually would be a near impossible task for any human to complete.


LifeBrand makes it easy!


Phase 1: All employees complete LifeBrand’s SMAA e-course


Our Social Media Accountability & Awareness E-course teaches the fundamentals of productive and responsible social media use through highly relevant topics including Personal Branding, Online Networking, Positive Practices, and a custom chapter dedicated to HIPAA’s social media rules. 


Phase 2: All employees run a thorough cleaning of all their social media accounts with LifeBrand’s secure AI software. 


Our software will perform a clean sweep of all social media accounts including Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/TikTok and flag posts that may be harmful or inappropriate based on text-in-image, video, and audio. After the scan is completed, you will have the option to delete or keep any flagged content. This is secure, private and establishments who offer this for their employees will not be able to see or access the posts of their employees. 


Looking for other tools to help support your employees? In today’s digital ecosystem, a positive social media presence is not only vital for public image but also for internal communication, learning, and compliance.

LifeBrand’s Social Media Policy Template is a powerful resource designed specifically for leaders who understand the profound impact of digital interactions on their organization. It’s not merely a policy — it’s a strategic roadmap for fostering a constructive and inclusive digital culture that reflects your brand’s ethos and engages all team members effectively. To get started with implementing this FREE Social Media Policy, click here.