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Don't let privacy laws get in the way of your marketing plans

Tried and true healthcare marketing techniques-from testimonial-driven advertising campaigns to health fairs that offer free screenings to members of the community-suddenly got a lot more complicated with the advent of the federal privacy law known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). In general, HIPAA's privacy rule says healthcare organizations must get prior authorization from individuals before using their protected health information (PHI) for marketing purposes. Afraid of running afoul of the law, some stopped using patient data for marketing purposes altogether.