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IL license lawyerSocial media has dramatically changed the way people interact with one another, and it has become a large part of life for many people. In fact, a recent study found that about 244 million Americans—about two-thirds of the entire population!—use some type of social media. Many professionals, including lawyers, accountants, and consultants, maintain various social media accounts, as do many doctors, psychologists, dentists, and other healthcare professionals. In light of modern privacy laws, however, medical professionals must be sure that their social media posting remains ethical and compliant with the standards that apply to such individuals.

Privacy and Ethics

A healthcare professional is required to follow a variety of privacy laws, the most notable of which is the Health Insurance Portability Act—more commonly known as HIPAA. While there are many elements to HIPAA, one of the law’s primary functions is to ensure that patient’s personal and healthcare information is well protected. Unfortunately, not all medical professionals are as careful on social media as they should be, and sometimes, a doctor or nurse might post something that violates HIPAA, leading to the possibility of action from the state licensing board.

Keeping Yourself Safe

If you are a healthcare professional who uses social media for personal or professional reasons, there are few things you can do protect yourself from potential problems:

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IL license defense lawyerMost people know that a person’s medical records and information are private information that is protected by law. If you are a medical professional, you must be familiar with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a law that was passed in 1996 to protect the privacy of patients’ health information in the United States. The law gives rules and procedures that you must follow in order to protect your patients’ privacy rights. If you fail to follow HIPAA procedures or rules, you could face expensive fines and your medical license could even be put into jeopardy. Here are a few of the most common ways HIPAA is violated.

Unauthorized Access of Healthcare Records

The HIPAA only gives certain reasons as to why you can access the healthcare records of a patient without gaining their consent. Unless you are accessing records for treatment, payment or healthcare operation, you are doing so illegally. This can result in disciplinary action and a fine to the organization is possible, though uncommon.

Not Performing a Risk Analysis

One of the most common HIPAA violations to result in a financial penalty is given to organizations that fail to perform a risk analysis. These analyses must be performed regularly in order to assess whether or not there are any vulnerabilities to the confidentiality and integrity of patient health records. To prevent this from happening, conducting a regular risk analysis is recommended.

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