A health care blog could be a great way to share valuable information with others and/or promote a health care facility and its staff. But even if you have a masters in health communication from a reputable school like Boston University, there are certain things that you need to know in order to avoid legal problems when working with this type of blog.
Putting Out False Information
When it comes to running a health care blog, it’s imperative that you only post accurate, well-researched information. The last thing that you want to do is mislead the public in any way, whether intentionally or accidentally. You could get into trouble if you spin any information, especially when you’re dealing with treatment options and their results. There are state regulations and medical boards that want you to post only reliable and legitimate data, so make sure you are always truthful.
Advertising the Treatment Rather Than the Doctor
When it comes to medical procedures and treatments which use pharmaceuticals or devices, you should only be using your health care blog to advertise the service that is being provided or the provider who is offering that medical service. You should not be advertising the device, drug, or treatment itself. If you end up advertising a product, you could run into legal issues, so make sure you write your blog posts in a way that will promote the expertise of the professional who is administering the treatment instead.
Claiming to Be a Specialist When You Really Aren’t One
Always keep in mind that, even though you may very well have a lot of expertise, knowledge, and experience in a particular field in the medical industry, you are not considered a specialist until you have received a certification that is recognized legally. Therefore, avoid calling yourself a specialist, as you are not legally allowed to do so unless you can prove that you have become certified.
Revealing Patient Information
If you’re going to discuss a patient’s case and testimonial, you’ll need to get a signed release that follows HIPAA standards. If you can’t get this type of release, it’s best to avoid talking about patients, even if you think you’re doing so anonymously.
Failing to Include a Disclaimer
Another way that you can fall into legal troubles with your health care blog is by using examples or testimonials that promise, guarantee, or even imply great results. You can avoid problems by simply including a disclaimer on your page. It can read something along the lines of, “result may vary,” as that will cover you in the event that patients aren’t satisfied. You should also avoid any statements that claim you have a cure for a condition or that your facility is superior to the competition.
After you’ve received your health communication degree, you can start promoting a great medical facility and its doctors. Just keep the above tips, as well as your state’s laws, rules, and regulations, in mind so you can do so legally and effectively.