Digital Marketing

What Privacy Regulations In Healthcare Mean For Digital Marketing

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  • 26 February 2024
  • 6 min read

Due to the nature of healthcare information, many countries, including the U.S., have taken measures to protect the confidentiality and security of patient healthcare data. These privacy regulations in healthcare consequently restrict and impact how healthcare providers handle their communications, marketing, and sales processes. 

If you are a healthcare provider looking to grow your business online, this article will help you discover how to ensure that your healthcare marketing efforts fall within ethical and legal guidelines.

Why Healthcare Digital Marketing is Important

To grow your reach as a healthcare provider, utilizing healthcare digital marketing methods correctly will help you meet those goals. Healthcare digital marketing is important because it elevates your business with brand awareness and reputation management and provides the means to engage with patients through valuable information. 

In addition, healthcare digital marketing is essential if you’re looking to target particular demographics and geographical locations. This targeted approach can help you get in front of patients looking for your services near their homes. By attracting the right leads that convert, you can reinvest your time and resources toward providing the best quality services possible.

What Privacy Regulations Mean For Digital Marketing Strategies

Online privacy regulations undoubtedly impact the type of claims and data disclosures that healthcare providers can make due to the need to secure patients’ private information. This means that companies and providers should be aware of what information they share, especially concerning data disclosure and product/service claims. 

Even innocent mistakes can be costly. For example, sharing patient testimonials on social media or giving out patient emails to an email list without the patient’s permission can cost a provider $100 to $50,000 in penalty fees.

Inevitably, more than in any other industry, healthcare marketing efforts have to be better planned and vetted around these state and federal privacy regulations to ensure compliance and negate penalties. 

To understand how to create and implement your healthcare marketing plan around these privacy parameters, you’ll have to get to know the privacy laws dictating healthcare industry regulations in the U.S. 

Common Healthcare Privacy Regulations

When it comes to healthcare privacy regulations there are many that you need to be aware of, but below are some of the most common ones:

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA Act): HIPPA was created to protect the electronic transmission of individuals’ health information and is subject to all healthcare-covered entities.
  • Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act): This health act was approved to strengthen HIPAA’s privacy and security laws by introducing provisions related to breach notification, electronic health records, and penalties for non-compliance. 
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA): Commonly known as Obamacare, this act was designed to expand access to medical care for Americans. Its provisions also enforce the protection of patient data. 
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA): The FDA heavily regulates the marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, ensuring that the promotion of medical products is accurate and not misleading.
  • Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC): The FTC Act was ratified to prohibit deceptive practices in manufacturing and trade, including false advertising. It includes certain provisions over healthcare marketing claims for products and services.
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Although this regulation is created by and implemented by the European Union, any companies operating in the European markets should be mindful of data privacy regulations in this law. 

Healthcare Privacy Regulations

Ad Tracking Restrictions

To ensure the regulatory liability of your digital marketing strategy, you should also be aware of ad tracking restrictions that are in place to protect visitors’ data from being harvested, used, or sold to third parties. Utilize these restrictions so that you can stay compliant with regulatory laws.

To manage what information you track and receive from patients with your ads, you can use a Consent Management Platform (CMP) to obtain and manage user consent. CMPs ensure that patients have the opportunity to either opt in or opt out of tracking.

You can take this a step further and include all of your marketing data privacy specifications on your website privacy policy page, where you outline how you use your visitor data and how patients can opt out. 

How to Create an Engaging Healthcare Digital Marketing Strategy That Does Not Violate Customer Data Privacy

Now that you are more aware of privacy laws and how they restrict how healthcare providers market their products and services, let’s delve into creating a healthcare digital marketing strategy that meets your business goals and does not violate customer data privacy.

Create writer and social media manager guidelines

To ensure that your customer or patients’ data is not used in any piece of content marketing, create guidelines for social media posts, SEO content, and PPC marketing that help your content team navigate privacy laws. 

From keywords to in-house photo usage, your guidelines can help your brand align with privacy regulations in healthcare and stay consistent with content production for years to come.

Share success stories under a pseudonym

Storytelling is the main ingredient of your content strategy that will help you connect with your audience and drive conversions. And, what better way to do so than to share your patients’ success stories? 

To comply with privacy laws, you can create pseudonyms for the patients who agree to have their stories profiled. Simply remind your audience that you have changed the name and customer details for privacy reasons. 

Highlight expertise and trustworthiness

Organic content is a great place to show off your qualifications and accomplishments. Since placing one’s health into someone else’s hands is always risky, signaling expertise and trustworthiness through words, statistics, and guarantees can help heighten your credibility and lower buyer resistance.


healthcare digital marketing

Using SEO and PPC for Healthcare Marketing

Utilizing both SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising in healthcare marketing can be highly effective in maximizing visibility and reaching target audiences:

SEO for Healthcare

Well-managed SEO is an important part of an organic digital marketing strategy, as it helps to improve online visibility, attract patients, and establish credibility. Through long-form content publication, it also helps to shape the thought expertise of healthcare providers and companies. There are also several other expert SEO strategies that you can leverage for healthcare marketing.

To start implementing SEO into your healthcare digital marketing, begin by researching the search trends in the healthcare industry with Google Trends or any keyword research tool. Once you zero in on the most informative topics, find ways that you can write about them by utilizing the power of local SEO. Local SEO will help you get discovered by local patients who are looking for healthcare providers near them. 

Finally, make sure all of your content is accurate, reliable, and adheres to privacy regulations in healthcare. 

Healthcare PPC Marketing

Using Pay-Per-Click marketing can help you be found on search engines faster than SEO. Since SEO takes time to generate traffic organically, PPC helps you bypass the wait by getting in front of your audience with promoted content. 

You can get started with PPC advertising by using tools like Google Keyword Planner to find the highest-performing keywords in the healthcare field. Then, utilize the power of copywriting to deliver a powerful message about your product services. 

To get the best results, ensure that your message includes a sense of urgency and includes main keywords that are descriptive and location-specific. You can also A/B test a few of your ads to see what your audience responds to the most.

Lastly, make sure that your ads have clear calls to action!

healthcare digital marketing

Healthcare Marketing Assistance

Privacy regulations in healthcare marketing can influence the way you show up online and how much you can disclose when it comes to patient data. Since non-compliance can result in hefty fines, being diligent with your digital marketing strategy and implementation is key to meeting legal standards, protecting your brand’s credibility, and growing your business.

If all of this seems too over your head or you simply need help with assurance that your digital marketing strategy, guidelines, and material are vetted for privacy regulations, we can help! At CloudMellow, we have worked with some of the biggest brands in the healthcare industry to help them achieve their marketing goals and grow their businesses.

Give our team a call to discuss your healthcare marketing.