Were you aware that there have been 104,933 reported HIPAA complaints, with 22% resulting in actionable concerns? Did you also know that along with HIPAA, the HITECH Act is going to have a growing impact on healthcare?  Health and life science marketers need to offer targeted, personalized marketing content that will help them get their message to the right people.  They're also required to safeguard information, and manage proper allowable use based on the patients -- and consumers -- opt in requests. So, how can these marketers align both marketing and compliance best practices?

 

We discussed this topic with Kristy Junio, Senior Director, Product Management for Healthcare and Life Sciences with the Oracle Marketing Cloud. 40-KJunio.jpg


Kristy, can you provide us with an explanation of the impact regulations like HIPAA and the HITECH Act are having on marketers?

The regulations are requiring health care and life sciences marketers to put into place new and different practices and processes to ensure that information is protected for consumers. Beyond the normal safeguards of what is applied to any type of personal information, protected health information also requires safeguards as to how information is stored, transferred and so on. It changes the game on how many marketers need to handle and manage their day to day work in the digital space.


What are some trends you're seeing from marketing in response to these regulations?

In addition to requiring marketers to change how they do their day-to-day work, there is also a different level of expertise that is required, new skills that need to be honed. It's requiring many marketers to step back into training to address how and what they need to do differently to ensure that they are using tools and systems effectively, efficiently and for the health care and life sciences marketer in a manner that keeps that in compliance with government regulations. Furthermore, consumers are also becoming savvier, which creates more opportunities for us as marketers to increase how and what we talk about with consumers.


Kristy, you have an extensive background in the health sciences space, what are some best practices you were mindful of when developing and executing against your marketing strategy?

First and foremost, know your audience, use data to help segment your target audience. Pair that with insightful content that helps people to drive toward their desired health outcomes. But make sure that when it comes to marketing to consumers that you get the right permissions to speak to them, I can?t underscore the importance of the opt-in for health care consumers. All and all, its classic marketing applied to a new medium.

Regarding content, there is so much happening in the health care industry today that it's important to ensure that content stays fresh and up to date. With that being said, marketers should continue to look for ways to simplify health information, make sure that the content is easy to understand and help your consumers build better health care fluency, which by the way continues to be a concern for many health care professionals: how to make health care information easy to digest. With marketing automation, we assist by enabling marketers to break down content into manageable bite size pieces and delivering it to people in a choreographed manner to enable improved understanding of information. Well timed, easy to understand information is part of the equation for a successful program.


In order to achieve the marketing and regulation alignment necessary, are there tools or skill sets companies can employ?

I think most importantly is the ability to develop a close partnership with marketers and legal colleagues within an organization. Although the regulations are very detailed, interpretations may differ from company to company or even person to person, therefore it's important to ensure clear communications between legal, regulatory, marketing and sales partners. It takes a great partnership to ensure that what is intended with programs is carried through into our market messaging. And make sure you have a good plan in place with the right check points. Test your content, your data and use the relevant information to help you continue to improve your tactics. Digital marketing in the health care space is not a sprint, its marathon. Continue to build on what you learn in each campaign by making sure you have the right tools in place to build a compliant program that allows for you to track and learn with each marketing campaign.

 

Balancing compliance best practice with marketing best practice will continue to be an exercise many marketers will implement.  If you'd like to hear more from Kristy on this topic you can access the entire podcast interview here.