Medical clinic web design has industry compliance, GDPR, Accessibility, and data privacy policies that need to be taken into consideration before deploying digital assets in the Medical or Hospital space.
Google has different filters that it uses for users searching for medical information. When making any attempt to accessing medical information on Google, each web property that appears in search requires a high level of trust and authority in order to rank organically in the SERPs. In order to mitigate liabilities and successfully leverage digital marketing tools to benefit medical practices, a solid understanding of HIPAA and PHIPA compliance should be communicated by your digital marketing agency or representative.
Medical Content Considerations for PHI
Any customer information collected by an organization that falls under Protected Health Information (PHI) will be impacted by these policies. In America, the regulation of PHI can be illustrated across several agencies including The Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Once Medical Information is collected, PHI data can only be used for reasons specified in the terms of service. Consider having backups that encrypt this data on third-party sites in case of physical emergencies. Collecting and processing personal data should be done so for the specified purpose only. This relates closely to the first principle of lawfulness, fairness, and transparency.
The Heath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulates the use of data for advertising and marketing purposes within the medical industry. This includes a variety of provisions to keep confidential patient data safe, including a security policy for storage and encryption, as well as a limitation on how long the data may be kept depending on the purpose it is being used for.
The Canadian version of HIPAA is the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), which includes a series of rigorous privacy laws that indicate the lawful storage and collection of ePHI/PHI. In Canada, it is also the responsibility of all physicians and advertisers to comply with the rules and regulations of the Food and Drug Act (FDA) and Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). This can be particularly difficult for industries within the Cannabis space as it is highly regulated. This is to prevent misleading advertising or marketing claims that can disrupt trust in the healthcare industry. All advertisements must be evidence-based, accurate, and not misleading.
Types of Medical Professions Impacted by Google Search Policy & HIPAA/PHIPA
- Medical Clinics
- Dental Clinics
- Medical Technology
- Health Coaching
- Mental Health Services
- Doctor Websites
- Medically Licensed
- Aesthethician or Cosmetic Clinic Procedures
- Healthcare Websites
It’s important to understand where the data is located, who has access to the data and whether or not it should be investigated for GDPR violations. By asking the right questions to the teams using the data, you should gain an understanding of the purpose and specific reasoning behind their data collection request. When dealing with technical challenges such as GDPR, there is an opportunity to adapt and meet compliance goals.
Trust & Confidence
- Personal data must be secure
- Apply security protocols such as encryption, and masking of data to eliminate sensitive elements
Creating an inventory of your personal data collection policies can save time and effort when HIPAA/PHIPA compliance questions arise. The first step is to define exactly what type of data is considered personal data before you can begin the investigation. It is also important to know exactly where the organization is storing the data, whether or not it is backed up, how often, who has access, etc.
Data Retention Policies for Medical Web Design
- Time Limit: The right to be forgotten beyond the initial purpose of the data is the core principle of the GDPR. This means defining how long data can be collected before it is removed or encrypted. The only exceptions are scientific or historical research, statistical purposes, or public interest.
- Quarterly Policy Reviews: The Privacy Officer should be aware of what data is being collected, for what purpose, and for how long. If during the review process the Officer cannot reasonably justify the collection of data, it should be put into review and removed until concerns are resolved.
- Encryption & Pseudonymization: If storage is to exceed the limitation set out by the data standardization principle then data should be safeguarded using encryption, anonymization or pseudonymization.
Data retention policies can provide a brief overview of data subjects’ rights under internet privacy laws including the technical organizational data protection measures a company has in use. Even when PHI data is taken offline there must be clear processes for access in order to comply with requests for the data subject rights. Data masking is suggested as a method of securing any long-term retention processes, with Anonymization being the most aggressive technique. This renders the data impossible to read in its original state. The storage limitation principle is designed to minimize data collection while maintaining the most amount of security to protect the privacy of those whom the data was collected from.
Google Analytics Considerations for Privacy Compliance
- Geolocation data cannot be fine-grained or contain GPS information for any area less than 1 square mile, including lat/long coordinates
- This includes Postal or Zip codes that can be mapped to a specific area or residence
- Do not use Custom dimensions, including:
Medical Inspiration & Web Design Challenges
The transparency principle is designed to ensure that the processing of personal data is communicated clearly and intelligibly. The information concerning the processing of personal data must be easily accessible and presented in clear and simple language. If the controller is processing the personal data of children this is especially important. Data subjects must be informed of:
- what rights they have
- how their personal data will be processed
- what purposes that data is being collected and processed for
- what personal data related to them is being collected
Security & Support
Building Medical websites without compliance in mind can be an expensive mistake. This includes AODA policies if you live in Ontario. Having a strong understanding of HIPAA/PHIPA rules can limit the digital liabilities incurred if a security breach takes place.
- Consent of the Data Subject
- A Contract
- Legal Obligation to Controller
- Legitimate Interests of Controller or a Third Party
- Task Carried Out in Public Interest / Exercise of Public Authority
In order to establish a standard of Internet Privacy, personal data must be processed responsibly and demonstrate compliance with EU and member state data protection laws. The policies of GDPR are essentially applied globally to any website that captures and stores information obtained by EU site visitors. Big brands and corporations have accountability to meet GDPR standards whether they are hosted in the United States, Mexico, Australia or Hawaii. Anywhere that an EU visitor can reach, the GDPR applies regardless of the location of the company that operates the website.
Require help with meeting HIPAA/PHIPA compliance goals? Contact our team for affordable help.