If you have ever read your insurance policy, you may find that you have little or no coverage for HIPAA violations. Under HIPAA you are to protect patient’s medical information (the patient’s name, social security number, and services provided).
Many surgeons and OB/GYN’s fail to realize that even “friending” a client on a social network can create a possible HIPAA claim which your medical malpractice insurance may or may not cover. If you are a General Surgeon, Cosmetic Surgeon or OB/GYN and are sued for medical malpractice for a HIPAA violation this can lead to an increase in your malpractice insurance premiums. General Surgeon malpractice insurance, as with Cosmetic Surgeon malpractice insurance and OB malpractice insurance, can be extremely expensive, even with a clean record. When claims are filed due to violations of HIPAA due to social networking, the malpractice rates can increase significantly.
General Surgeon Malpractice Insurance, Cosmetic Malpractice Insurance, and OB/GYN Malpractice Insurance loss ratios can be protected from HIPAA claims by doing some simple risk management when it comes to social media.
1. Do not “friend” any current or past patients. If they invite you to be a friend, politely turn them down and inform them of your patient confidentiality policy.
2. Ask your employees to sign a practice policy informing them that they are not to “friend”, or be “friended”, on any patient’s social networking site. Let the employee know that apart from putting the practice at risk, they themselves could be named in a suit.
3. Do not list a patient’s name or image of their face on your website without consulting your attorney.
4. Consider buying HIPAA liability insurance that will protect you for claims for HIPAA violations. The coverage is affordable and worth the expense.
This blog is a brief description of some risk management ideas and is not meant to be legal advice.