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Ensuring Patient Privacy in Healthcare Communication

When it comes to mailing confidential material, how can healthcare organizations ensure patient privacy without breaking the bank?

Perhaps more than in any other industry, healthcare companies have to be laser focused on protecting their customers’ privacy. Lapses in security that lead to individuals’ protected health information (PHI) becoming public will not only anger a lot of customers, but they may also constitute HIPAA violations and land the organization in hot water. Yet they also need to communicate sensitive information — from notifications of physician departures, brochures on new medical procedures to sensitive mailings, insurance policies and more — in direct mailings throughout the year.

Of course, the high stakes don’t overrule the need for efficiency and cost containment. So, short of appointing one person to print, stuff, address, double check and send every piece of mail individually, how can healthcare companies ensure their mailings won’t put confidential information at risk?

Here’s the good news: healthcare organizations don’t have to handle their sensitive mailings — or any mailings, for that matter — alone, if they find the right print marketing execution partner who can take on the management responsibilities of printing and mailing variable materials while both ensuring patient data is protected and keeping costs within the budget.

5 Things Healthcare Companies Should Look for in an Execution Partner for HIPAA Compliant Mailings

There are plenty of print marketing execution vendors out there, but not all of them are equipped to handle private health information. Here are a few things to look for as you begin your search.

1. Data Management Practices

You’ll want to ensure your vendor has a secure method of encrypting and electronically transmitting data, such as through a secure VPN or FTP. Additionally, find out whether there are any circumstances under which a vendor discloses information in their possession.

2. Personnel Training

Who will be handling your customers’ sensitive data during the printing and fulfillment process? Look for a vendor with comprehensive training on HIPAA for employees, and a commitment to vetting every team member who may have access to client data. Nobody who isn’t qualified should be touching sensitive materials.

3. Quality Control

How does the vendor ensure items are correctly printed, sorted, and mailed? What do those double- and triple-check processes look like? It’s critical that Jane Doe doesn’t receive John Smith’s benefits statement, or visa-versa, so you’ll want to find a vendor with 100% match mailing capabilities, which should include a stringent QC process and a track record of accuracy.

4. Materials Disposal

In cases of overprinting or duplications that leave confidential materials sitting in the warehouse after a mailing is complete, what happens to the waste? Is it simply tossed in the alley recycle bin, or does the vendor have a disposal method that ensures continued privacy until the papers are destroyed?

5. Cost Efficiencies

All these strict process and procedure requirements don’t necessarily lead to exorbitant costs. Look for a vendor with print-on-demand capabilities that minimize the costs and waste of excess printing, ideally with the capability to localize printing to minimize delivery costs and onsite USPS experts to ensure every mailing meets regulations and is fulfilled at the most cost-effective rates possible.

At OneTouchPoint, our solutions check each of these boxes, enabling companies to lower costs and provide timely service while maintaining airtight information security. We mail over 155 million mail pieces each year, and hundreds of thousands contain sensitive information for companies in and out of the healthcare industry. Our recurring mail platform and client vault network are HITRUST certified, and our 100 percent match mailing process ensures each patient receives the correct information. Our employees are trained annually on HIPAA requirements, and we have a 98 percent on-time delivery rate with higher than 99 percent order accuracy.

We understand the burden of cutting waste and managing spend without compromising patient privacy, and we’re dedicated to partnering with healthcare organizations to ease that burden — and improve print marketing and communications effectiveness overall. To discover how we partner with healthcare organizations across the country, contact us to learn more.

Healthcare Is Personal: Shouldn't Your Healthcare Company's Communications Be, Too?

Learn how personalizing print marketing communications can help healthcare companies enhance customer relationships.

No matter what industry we’re talking about, a common theme is that today’s consumers are demanding more personalized experiences than ever before. They expect brands they patronize to treat them as friends, rather than as transactions. They expect outreach to reflect their preferences and to indicate that the business remembers them, is able and willing to provide personalized value, and is sincere in its efforts to connect.

This is true in every industry, and healthcare is no exception. In fact, the highly personal, private and emotional nature of healthcare makes the responsibility to personalize the customer experience even greater, as the American Hospital Association (AHA) and Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) remind us in their recent report, “Bridging Worlds.”

"The practice of healthcare touches intimate and often emotional elements of our humanity. Health is one of the most—if not the most—personal aspects of our lives. Connecting to the emotional aspects of people’s motivations is vital to forging a relationship. The one-size-fits-all approach to consumers often produces the opposite effect."

However, the report goes on to say, healthcare systems tend to lag behind other industries in creating and nurturing those emotional connections with customers.

As far as strategies to build customer relationships and drive business go, personalizing print marketing communication is a pretty good one. McKinsey reports that it can reduce acquisition costs by as much as half, lift revenues by up to 15 percent and increase marketing spend efficiency by up to 30 percent. And research from Canon Solutions America shows that simply adding a person’s name to a mailer can increase the response rate by up to 44 percent. (Add color, too, and you boost the response rate by up to 135 percent!)

Customers want to see communication that reflects their experiences, especially in healthcare businesses, where a significant part of building trust is indicating that you know your patients’ history and needs. Recent research from Marketo found that 79 percent of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized to reflect previous interactions they’ve had with the brand. The ability to tailor communication to each recipient is important in building that relationship and encouraging customers to continue patronizing your business.

So, what’s stopping healthcare businesses from delivering personalized communications to current and would-be clients?

The way we see it, there are three key factors deterring healthcare companies from creating the personalized marketing interactions customers crave. The first is the sheer cost of printing, packing and mailing variable information. The second is the management burden. Keeping track of different materials for different patients (or potential patients), ensuring every piece maintains brand standards and confirming that each customer gets the correct version of the document require enough oversight to head off even the most organized marketing leaders. And the burden only increases when a company has multiple locations across the country, and the team at headquarters has to oversee the same process for several local leaders.

And finally, there are added privacy concerns around sending personalized communications, as the chances that patients’ secure information will be compromised due to a printing, mailing or management error. The risk — both in patient fallout and regulatory sanctions — often feels too big to make personalization worth it.

Eliminating the Obstacles to Personalized Communication — and Maximizing the ROI

While we understand that the challenges of creating personalized campaigns can feel too big for brand leaders (who are already stretched thin) to bear on their own, we also know that the ROI of building strong customer relationships through tailored communication is too great to pass up.

What these marketing teams need is a one-stop print marketing execution partner who can take the management burden off their shoulders, ensure total patient privacy and save costs through strategic print and mailing capabilities. Here at OneTouchPoint, we specialize in exactly that, empowering healthcare providers to create powerful print marketing communications without busting the budget or compromising privacy. To discover how we partner with healthcare organizations across the country, we invite you to read our recent blog post and download our data sheet. When you’re ready, contact us for next steps.

Of All the Challenges Facing the Healthcare Industry, Communicating Shouldn't Be One

Learn how OneTouchPoint takes the logistics burdens and compliance risks off the shoulders of healthcare marketing and communications leaders.

From combatting shrinking margins and meeting revenue objectives to managing changing patient expectations, and staying up-to-date with the latest technical and medical updates (not to mention staying compliant with state and federal requirements) all while managing multi-location clinical organizations, the healthcare industry is facing a wide variety of business challenges. And in the juggle, it can be all too easy to let patient communication slip through the cracks. But patients are the heart and soul the healthcare industry, right? So how can resource- and energy-strapped organizations make patient communication a priority no matter what else is going on?

Have you heard the phrase, “death by a thousand paper cuts”? The idea is that all these little things — each inconsequential enough on its own — pile up until the burden is overwhelming. When it comes to patient communication, marketing and communications leaders in the healthcare world may feel like they’re facing death by a thousand paper cuts as they manage the logistics involved in print marketing fulfillment, including printing, mailing, personalization, privacy, budget maintenance and so much more. What they need is a system that manages the details (takes away the paper cuts) and leaves them free to focus on what they do best: building trusting, compassion-driven relationships with patients.

Fortunately, OneTouchPoint is here to help. As a single-source print marketing execution partner, we are dedicated to helping our clients streamline all the logistics involved in patient communication. We handle the medium, so you can focus on the message.

“We value OneTouchPoint as an indispensable partner. OneTouchPoint’s expertise, not only in printing, but in mail fulfillment, programming, design, and customer service has made us consistently successful in meeting stringent state requirements and serving our members. We could not do what we do, as well as we do it, without OneTouchPoint.”
-Aetna

Here are just a few ways we’re helping healthcare marketing leaders lighten their loads and get back to what matters.

Centralizing Marketing Materials to Protect the Message

One of the biggest priorities for national healthcare marketing and communication leaders is protecting the brand and its message, ensuring the design remains consistent from location to location, every patient learns the same policies and procedures and has access to the same information, and inventory stays current across the organization.

Of course, managing all this manually is a full-time job in and of itself. But OneTouchPoint’s U.Connect platform takes the burden (and risk) off both corporate leaders and marketers by collecting marketing assets and patient material in a single, centrally controlled online hub. This means marketing leaders can ensure materials are up to date based on design, messaging, legal compliance, internal policy, etc., while local clinic managers and staff can easily access and customize marketing assets, replenish stock – such as forms, or order swag for a local community event — all managed and fulfilled by OneTouchPoint.

By centralizing assets, the organization stays on brand, and marketing teams are freed from managing one-off requests, saving significant time and frustration, and allowing them to focus on the job at hand – nurturing patient relationships and driving revenue. As a single source marketing execution vendor, OneTouchPoint can removes the middleman from the production and fulfillment process, saving costs and boosting efficiency.

Ensuring Compliance in Every Communication

Healthcare providers and insurers are tasked with communicating sensitive information in a way that builds trust, shows empathy and reflects a high standard of care — and doing all that without risking patient privacy or violating HIPAA compliance. Often, the compliance burden gets in the way of effective, personalized, compassion-driven communication. But again, OneTouchPoint is equipped to remove that burden.

Our end-to-end data security measures are HiTrust certified, and our expertise extends to secure print production strategies. Our employees are trained annually on HIPAA requirements and provided the resources they need to ensure HIPAA standards are met for physical, network and process security. We upload patient names and lists to a secure FTP site and with 100% match mailing capabilities, we ensure each patient receives the correct information. Learn more about our certifications here.

The bottom line is that, while traditionally, compliance has gotten in the way of communication, OneTouchPoint specializes in helping our healthcare industry clients ensure that a patient’s protected health information (PHI) is secure so they can focus on what really matters.

Finding Cost Savings — Without Compromising Quality

As healthcare costs continue to skyrocket, margins are shrinking, but that doesn’t mean quality print marketing and communications are off the table. At OneTouchPoint, we pride ourselves on helping clients minimize print costs by cutting waste and finding savings. Our team of experts can help you identify ways to maximize marketing or procurement spend for direct mail marketing, benefits statements to patient notifications and more through bulk postage discounts, paper procurement and other system efficiencies, while our six production facilities nationwide minimize shipping time and costs by allowing for strategic choices as to where materials are printed. Our centralized order management and reporting system, U.Connect, makes it easy to track print spending and spot savings opportunities.

Finally, we’re dedicated to saving costs by minimizing wastes. We help clients keep pace with legal changes, required notices and patient forms with print on demand capabilities that minimize the amount of outdated and/or noncompliant material that ends up in the recycling bin. These print-on-demand capabilities and real-time inventory management have reduced customers’ inventory by up to 50 percent and cut scrap material to less than 0.1 percent.

Organizations in the healthcare industry have enough obstacles to overcome and enough challenges to face — patient communication shouldn’t be one of them. When your organization is ready to find a trusted, single-source print marketing execution partner, we invite you to contact us to learn more, or request a quote on your next project.

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