Chiropractic marketing tips: Avoid the social media misstep

Social media is an important part of chiropractic marketing, but be careful about sharing patient information.

Social media is an important part of chiropractic marketing, but be careful about sharing patient information.

Tapping into the power of social media is an essential part of any chiropractic marketing strategy, since most prospective clients will undoubtedly investigate your practice online before stepping into your brick-and-mortar location. However, in your eagerness to establish connections through Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, it's important to be wary of certain social media mishaps.

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) touched on one faux pas that can be incredibly damaging in the August edition of ACA News. According to the source, some chiropractors may run the risk of violating patient privacy.

"Patient pictures, X-rays or any identifying information should not be discussed without proper patient consent. If the patient or anyone who knows the patient can tell you are discussing that patient's case on a public site without consent, you have violated HIPAA," ACA News warns.

In addition, it isn't uncommon for individuals to seek out medical advice online. ACA warns about giving any clinical guidance on these forums, and instead instructs professionals to reach out to these inquirers privately to suggest scheduling an appointment.

The rise of social media has sparked many concerns about patient privacy in recent years. In multiple instances, medical professionals have been reprimanded and even dismissed for unwittingly violating HIPAA by broadcasting patient information online. In 2011, for example, Rhode Island physician Dr. Alexandra Thran was fired after posting details about a trauma patient on her Facebook page. Though the doctor did not reference the individual's name, The Boston Globe reported that Thran had provided enough information for others to surmise the patient's identity.

Such instances serve as a reminder about the perils of leaping into social media without a sound understanding of how to wield it. As well as remaining mindful of the details you share on social media, you can also protect patient privacy by adopting a chiropractic management system that safeguard their medical records.

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