Contributed by Lee Kim, Esq.


The Medical Billing & Coding blog has a recent entry on the role of social media in healthcare.  The title of the post is 50 Amazing Ways Hospitals Are Using Facebook and Twitter.  The blog entry provides a broad perspective on how hospitals are using social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.  Posting to social media has become quite easy and most mobile devices have applications to enable this. 

As the blog entry states, using social media to create and maintain goodwill and disseminate information is a definite plus for healthcare entities.  However, healthcare entities are also using social media to connect with patients, such as communicating directly with patients, updating family members regarding surgery updates, patient care reminders, following up with patients, and pharmacy reminders such as prescription management. 

The HIPAA Security Rule governs the disclosure and use of electronic protected health information.  Healthcare entities should ensure that they have conducted risk analysis and risk management regarding the use and disclosure of their electronic protected health information and also ensure that they have policies, procedures, training, and documentation in place to make sure that the appropriate safeguards in place.  The HIPAA Security Rule is technology neutral.  However, as convenient as technology may be, each situation must be analyzed to determine if electronic protected health information is being used and/or disclosed and properly safeguarded.