Birmingham, AL – The state of healthcare is in a nebulous place right now. Hospitals, clinics, and other members of the healthcare industry are seeing the effects of Covid-19, as well as an already overwhelmed system that undergone recent changes in policy only a few years back. Combine that with the burgeoning technology we are using to cope with these situations and you can imagine that the landscape of healthcare, let alone healthcare marketing has changed drastically.
And people are already changing their lives to adjust to the new obstacles that are occuring. All of these circumstances are creating new problems that require solving. This means that everyone involved in the healthcare industry, including healthcare marketing, needs to take a step back, and examine what new obstacles are arising, and how we can face those challenges together.
Meeting New Legal Mandates
Most career fields that deal with public health and safety require that its participants stay up to date on its regulations. And it makes sense. When you have someone’s life in their hands, the last thing you want to do is take unnecessary risks.
This is why doctors often go to seminars and keep databases filled with information in order to be able to keep up to date information about the latest in medicine. This is also true when it comes to the legal side of the healthcare industry. Doctors and hospitals do not only have to stay up to date with what they practice, they also need to stay up to date on their ethical and legal procedures.
In other words, every year hospitals and healthcare marketing personnel have to try and keep up with the legal regulations that are put into place by the government for ethical reasons. One of the big contenders that has become a concern as of late is the Stark Law and anti-kickback measures.
What is Stark Law? According to Constantinecannon.com, “The Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law prohibit medical providers from paying or receiving kickbacks, remuneration, or anything of value in exchange for referrals of patients who will receive treatment paid for by government healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, and from entering into certain kinds of financial relationships.”
While the law is in place for a while, practices and healthcare marketing companies are fully aware that the government is going over these laws in recent years.
“Although we don’t know which portions of the proposed changes will be implemented in final rule-making, there will be changes that will more than likely come in 2020,” says Kelli Carpenter Fleming, Esq., a partner in the healthcare group at Burr & Forman LLP, a law firm located in Birmingham, Alabama.”
So, with the recent issue of Covid-19, there is most likely going to be a new shift in policy as well as mindset when it comes to these regulations. Especially if some changes were put on hold until the crisis is over.
Telecommunications and Data Sharing
There has been a growing amount of reliance on technology in these last few months. The presence of Covid-19 has not only sped up the use of technology in the healthcare marketplace, but it has also served as a healthcare marketing selling point. Most people see the increase of telecommunications in medicine as a good thing, which is evidenced by the willingness of patients to share their medical data for research purposes to improve patient care.
However, because data is becoming its own currency, and sharing it does have its own consequences, many health care professionals are noticing the challenge that comes with storing and securing this type of information. Healthcare marketing professionals, and other branches of the healthcare industry are trying to strike a balance between making sure that patients know what services are available and making sure they are not crossing a boundary with the information they do have regarding patient data.
This type of information storage in the digital age is something that humanity has not seen before and it is up to everyone involved to determine what is the ethical, responsible and most useful way for storing and using the information on hand. While patients are more willing to share their data, we need to be specific about what we share to who, and what benefits and drawbacks that will yield.