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5 Data Security Requirements Healthcare Companies Should Look for in a Direct Mail Partner

Learn how to keep protected health information secure without compromising effective healthcare communication.

Many of the updates healthcare providers and insurers share with individual consumers are highly sensitive and require strict adherence to HIPAA standards in order to protect privacy. Often, this compliance burden gets in the way of effective, personalized, compassion-driven communication, but part of keeping customers in the know is being able to communicate sensitive information in a way that maintains patient privacy and meets HIPAA standards while also building trust, showing empathy, and reflecting a high standard of care.

In other words, rather than letting compliance jeopardize the relationship-building nature of these communications, savvy healthcare companies should be looking for strategies to ensure their sensitive mailings won’t put confidential information at risk. This includes data security measures that extend to HIPAA compliant list transmission, print production, and mailings.

So, when your organization is looking for support for sensitive healthcare mailings, ask about these five capabilities to ensure your customer information is protected from beginning to end.

1. Data Security

From the initial transmission of data to the end of the engagement, the right vendor will have security protocols in place to protect sensitive information every step of the way. For starters, ask how a potential vendor vets any personnel before allowing them access to client data and find out whether there is any circumstance under which they disclose the sensitive information in their possession. HIPAA training for staff is a must.

2. Secure FTP Storage of Patient Names and Lists

A key component of data security is the method by which a potential direct mail partner stores and transmits the data they’re using on your behalf. 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. Otherwise, client information could be vulnerable to a data breach, which would not only break client trust, but could also land your organization in legal hot water.

3. HiTrust Certification

The HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) was developed to address a wide range of security, privacy, and regulatory challenges facing the healthcare industry. By including federal and state regulations, standards, and frameworks, and incorporating a risk-based approach, the HITRUST CSF helps organizations address these challenges through a comprehensive and flexible framework of prescriptive and scalable security controls.

In the context of a direct mail partner, HiTrust status demonstrates that an organization’s recurring mail platform and client vault network folders have met key regulations and industry-defined requirements, and that the organization is appropriately managing any risk to client privacy.

4. HIPAA/PHI Compliance

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) sets the standard for securing protected health information (PHI). Any company dealing with PHI must ensure that all the required physical, network, and process security measures are in place and followed.

Look for a direct mail partner whose employees undergo annual training on HIPAA compliance, and that has established protocols and dedicated sufficient resources to ensure the confidentiality of all health information.

5. 100 Percent Match Mailing

Finally, ask about the systems a potential vendor uses to ensure items are correctly printed, sorted, and mailed. 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 percent match mailing capabilities, which should include a stringent quality control process and a robust track record of accuracy.

When it comes to the privacy and security of healthcare information, the stakes couldn’t be higher, legally or ethically, and the consequences of a lapse can be devastating. So how can healthcare organizations handle this burden? One option could be to appoint one person or a small team to print, stuff, address, double check and send every piece of mail individually, but with the time-sensitivity of these communications (not to mention the need for cost containment), healthcare systems are better served by a supply chain management solution that specializes in the unique needs of healthcare communication.

At OneTouchPoint, we understand both the security stakes and the importance of personalized, trust-building communication. Our 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. Patient names and lists are uploaded to a secure FTP site, and with 100 percent match mailing capabilities, we ensure each patient receives the correct information. In short, we specialize 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. You can learn more about our certifications here, and we encourage you to download our white paper to learn more about what it takes to create successful healthcare marketing campaigns that balance airtight security with that all-important personal touch.

Keeping Employees & Customers Up to Date in a Fast-Moving Healthcare Landscape

Learn how to keep staff, patients, and families up to speed on health industry changes, in the age of COVID-19 and beyond.

One of the biggest challenges facing the healthcare industry is ensuring every stakeholder — from the staff to the executive team to patients and their families — has access to the latest information at any given moment. In the best of times, healthcare companies have to communicate a lot of sensitive information and changes to clients in a way that builds trust, shows empathy, and reflects a high standard of care. These may include federal, state, or local regulations, brochures on new medical procedures offered at certain locations, notifications of physician departures, and individual updates like care plan details, explanations of benefits or claims status, or medical bills.

During COVID-19, these updates are coming even more frequently as local and state orders dictate individual clinic availability, as leadership teams adjust safety precautions and check-in policies, and as testing and vaccination information evolves on a daily basis. Customers and potential customers have never had more questions — all of which need to be communicated in a consistent matter, both externally to patients (and their families), as well as to internal staff - and the answers are moving targets. For example:

  • As hospital capacities have fluctuated in many states during the COVID-19 pandemic, elective surgeries have been cancelled or reinstated based on bed availability and virus-related hospitalization forecasts.
  • Testing and vaccine availability and scheduling procedures have varied significantly from week to week (sometimes day to day), so it’s been difficult to give consumers (and providers) clarity on who is eligible, where to find testing and vaccines, and how to register for them.

In the face of these kinds of changes, which have caused significant confusion for industry professionals and consumers alike, good customer care starts with strong, efficient internal communication tools that ensure everyone from the front desk to the CEO is fully informed and able to communicate the latest message, both internally and externally. And to make matters more complicated, the methods of distributing this information — both internally and externally — have changed as both in-office staff and in-person client interactions are limited for safety.

To Keep Everyone Up to Date, Centralize Internal Communications

Healthcare systems need a foolproof way to keep their employees up to date on the latest news and changes so that they can keep patients and customers up to date, as well — during COVID-19 and beyond. The most effective way to do so is to create a centralized, accessible-from-anywhere hub for all internal communications and updates.

This “command center” will make critical information and updates available to employees 24/7, whether they’re on site, at home, or en route, providing them with the details they need to know — and any assets they’ll need to quickly and accurately pass the message on to patients and the community. And in a time of crisis such as COVID-19, when the updates are coming in fast and furious, a specific “area” of the hub can contain all crisis-related communications, content, and assets to ensure they don’t get lost in the everyday shuffle.

The result of keeping all this information front and center? A seamless patient experience. We know patients expect personalized, consistent, multichannel communication from the healthcare organizations they use, and those expectations only grow in times of uncertainty, when they look to their healthcare providers for clarity and stability. But internal teams can only provide that clarity and stability if they have the access they need, first. Once they do, they can customize and localize the preapproved messaging, print or order brochures, flyers, and signage, and create social media updates to pass what they know on to their communities.

OneTouchPoint’s U.Connect platform is a powerful internal tool to keep employees and leaders up to date as they adapt to changes in the healthcare industry, whether related to COVID or not. Keeping departments, clinic locations, physician liaisons, and other internal stakeholders up to speed on changes — and providing them access to the latest approved messaging —ensures that on-the-ground staff can keep patients and their families fully in the know. Learn more about how OneTouchPoint is empowering healthcare communication here.

How to Make Your Healthcare Brand Stand Out

What does it take for multilocation healthcare systems to ensure their messages reach current and potential customers at the right place, every time?

In every industry, but in healthcare particularly, consumers demand personal, trusted relationships with their providers — and those relationships start with the marketing communications that set one brand apart from all the rest.

But how can healthcare marketing and communication leaders ensure potential and existing patients engage with their messaging in a meaningful way? In short, by ensuring consumers are encountering your brand wherever they go through the right combination of online and print marketing, including search ads, social media, and email along with physical signage, targeted mailers, and Every Door Direct Mail® campaigns.

Multichannel Marketing at a Glance:

There’s no denying the importance of these integrated, multichannel marketing and communication campaigns for companies that want to attract and retain patients, but for national healthcare marketing and communication leaders, managing all these moving pieces is a full-time job, and protecting the brand’s integrity — especially when organizations have facilities and staff spread out across the country — adds an additional level of challenge. Throw in critical regulatory language and the constant stream of updates around everything from new regulatory policies and procedures to local physician turnover to state-by-state COVID-19 precautions, and the stakes are higher than ever.

This level of oversight is more than any one person (or team) can manage manually, no matter how skilled and efficient they are. But unfortunately, many local teams are providers and practitioners who don’t have marketing experience and don’t have the time to learn. So, how can corporate marketing leaders empower their teams to create clear, consistent communication across every channel?

The key is to create a powerful “brand control center” that ensures your healthcare marketing campaigns are meeting consumers where they are and delivering the right message every time. This brand control center brings together a centralized platform that keeps the latest materials easily accessible at any time and an integrative marketing partner to manage the marketing supply chain along the way. So, when you are vetting potential marketing solutions, ask about these five key capabilities to ensure your teams get the support they need to elevate your company’s message above the competition.

  1. Brand Control: Does the vendor have a centralized hub from which to manage approved assets, templates, and campaigns across your organization and locations?
  2. Web-to-Print: How easy is it for users at the local and national levels to prepare, fulfill, and distribute orders wherever they need to go? And for the national team to track and manage local budgets?
  3. Fulfill and Ship: Can users localize and customize materials (within pre-approved parameters) and order collateral from one centralized platform connected to a trusted printing and fulfillment center?
  4. Multichannel Marketing Campaigns: Does the solution empower localized, targeted campaigns that span traditional, social, and digital channels, or is it all print or all digital all the time?
  5. Strategic Support: Can local users who aren’t marketing experts (and don’t have time to be) get the support they need to successfully implement their marketing initiatives with the confidence of a seasoned CMO?

The healthcare industry is a crowded space that deals with ever-changing information, tight regulations, and the challenge of managing branding and communications for sprawling organizations with multiple departments, locations, and affiliates across the country. If a national marketing leader wants the company’s voice to stand out, the key is to streamline brand control in order to ensure consistent, multichannel communications without spending countless hours micromanaging local teams. That’s where OneTouchPoint can help. We’re a one-stop shop for multi-location healthcare organizations, powering marketing and communications via our U.Connect platform, where creation, production, distribution, and fulfillment come together.

Download our white paper to learn more about what it takes to create successful healthcare marketing campaigns — and for more on how OneTouchPoint can help, learn about our healthcare solutions here.

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