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Why you need a HIPAA-compliant CRM and how you can find the right one for your business.

Photo of pills on currency portraying the money involved in overlooking the HIPAA

The cost of overlooking the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) can be high — up to millions of dollars. You need a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that minimizes the risk. With so many products in the marketing technology market, how do you choose?

Choose CRM software that makes sure your leads and customers are happy. This program should cover every part of their buyer lifecycle, from sales to customer service to referrals.

Of course, a program that covers the buyer life cycle completely will store a lot of data. While CRM is usually a case of “the more data, the better,” this attitude can cause big problems in healthcare. Healthcare consumers have higher expectations when it comes to data privacy and security. How do you manage these concerns?

Having a HIPAA-compliant CRM is imperative. After all, if your marketing prioritizes the security of patient data, patients will be happier and healthier. How can you show consumers that they are your priority? Understand what HIPAA compliance is, why you need a compliant CRM, and how to find one.

What is HIPAA compliance?

HIPAA is broad in scope and has had many amendments. However, this complex legislation has a simple message: ensure the privacy and security of patient information.

Ensure privacy

What kind of patient information is your organization handling? You might only be in sales or marketing, but do you have any of this protected health information?

  • Patient names, addresses, and contact information
  • Email addresses
  • IP addresses
  • License plate numbers
  • Social security numbers
  • Biometrics, like fingerprints and retinal scans
  • Patient history, including medications, allergies, or surgeries
  • Care plans details

If so, your operations could fall under HIPAA laws.

Do you have this information in a filing cabinet, on a computer, or across a network? If this information is left lying around, leaked, or hacked, it could be sold and used for fraud or identity theft.

Large healthcare datasets released to the public are de-identified to protect privacy. If further protection is necessary, then the data can be anonymized. De-identifying or anonymizing data means removing any method of re-linking the datasets to the people it came from.

Large datasets can be hugely valuable for research, health system planning, and quality control. Often this data is de-identified or anonymized and sold to marketers. The market for healthcare data is expected to grow three-fold in the next five years to more than $50 billion. With such a potentially large market, adequate regulation is necessary.

Ensure security

Patient details that are leaked or hacked can be used for nefarious activities, such as identity theft. To prevent such occurrences, you need data security.

What is data security? It’s how we protect databases, obscure what they contain, and categorize unauthorized users. It can be done a number of ways.

Data security protects data using specialized software and hardware. It includes methods like firewalls, encryption, backups, and regular updates on computers and servers. Data security also occurs through HR policies and internal training. For example, train your employees to spot a phishing attack. After all, one-third of data breaches are the result of human error.

Complete data security is an unattainable goal. The world’s top governments and most advanced tech companies still struggle with it. Instead, build plans and routines that follow best practices. Data security should be an ongoing pursuit that recognizes your legal obligations.

Security camera represents the importance of data security for patient details

Know your legal standing in HIPAA compliance.

The federal government doesn’t hand out HIPAA-compliance certifications. Because compliance is so important, be proactive and do your research. Seek out industry-led programs, such as HITRUST. These bodies often offer solutions that go beyond government regulations.

For organizations to be certified, they must prove complete control of data. Data control occurs at hundreds of points in a system. It starts with intake of data and includes data creation, access, storage, and exchange.

Because no government-recognized certification of cybersecurity is available, what should you look for?

What to look for in a compliant CRM.

You might not be an IT expert, but you can often tell when something isn’t quite right. Here are a few things to look for in a HIPAA-compliant CRM:

  • Look for different levels of security for each user. Do you know who has access to your most sensitive data? If an individual employee does not need access, the CRM shouldn’t provide it.
  • Look for different levels of security for records and databases. The best security systems classify each piece of data to a certain level of protection. This way, only people with appropriate authorization can access data.
  • Do a background check on the vendor and check references and reviews. In cybersecurity, you can never guarantee that you won’t be hacked, so vendors boast about their clients instead. Look for case studies, high-value clients, and proven success in the field. Above all, look for those who’ve worked with complex healthcare businesses.
  • Ask about the best practices of cybersecurity. Every tech provider should be aware of the basic principles of security. They can explain security measures, like patches, encryption, and two-factor authentication. The best cybersecurity experts know the subject intimately.

Balance security with your other priorities

Over 53,300 cybersecurity incidents occurred in the past year. Guarding against every attack is impossible. While you never want to say “don’t worry about cybersecurity,” keep it in perspective. Your customers will likely forgive a hack, but they won’t forgive a poor response to a hack.

Your organization has a risk profile, and security is one aspect of that. How can you balance CRM compliance with other priorities, like return on investment, ease of use, and customer service?

Rely on experts for HIPAA compliance

HIPAA compliance errors cause interruptions and hefty fines. To be successful as a healthcare marketer, you don’t need a degree in cybersecurity law. However, you do need to know your potential liabilities.

Triptych’s experts know the relevant HIPAA regulations inside and out. Our expertise is why we became HITRUST certified. It's also the reason we automate compliance of content created on our platform. We’re committed to continued improvement in security, and we bring our clients up to speed with us.

Through the Triptych platform, you can reduce your production workload. You can also automate reporting and receive real-time insights across your business. Contact us today for a free demo.