PR Week – #BridgeTheGap: Healthcare Marketing Session Recap

Session: Healthcare Marketing

Presenter: Stephanie Wagoner, Manager of Marketing and Community Relations for the Washington Health System

Recap: Stephanie Wagoner presented on what do practitioners need to know if they decide to go into healthcare marketing – examples of this being HIPPA, the fine line of social media and Stark Law. These areas are all considered “highly important” facets of the healthcare communication industry.

HIPAA, which was implemented in 1996, allowed patients to have privacy rights. The rules outlined in HIPAA must be followed when releasing any information to the media, posting on social media and sharing information with colleagues.

With social media, you must watch what you post. For example, if a patient “checks-in” on social media, there is nothing you can do, that’s their prerogative. She also states that most HIPPA violations related to social media don’t take place on business pages, they occur as posts on personal pages.

Wagoner also discussed Stark Laws; which are private vs. employed physicians. You can feature non-employed physicians in your advertising, provided you don’t include the doctor’s office location, practice phone number or office web address in the advertisement. Otherwise, you’ll be advertising for the physician office and not for the hospital. If advertising promotes the practice, the private office is responsible for advertising payment or reimbursing the hospital. Some health systems avoid these issues by not using physician faces in advertising.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Know the HIPPA laws and violations! Do research!
  2. You must know what can and can’t be released to the media.
  3. Know the process and/or chain of command.
  4. Think before you post!
  5. Know the Stark Laws, and, again, RESEARCH.

Taylor Pieper is a senior pursing degrees in public relations and digital design at Waynesburg University. She serves as the fundraising coordinator the Waynesburg University Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter, as well as the vice president for Waynesburg University AIGA. Taylor hopes to pursue a job as a wedding planner post-graduation. 


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