Blogging

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In recent weeks I’ve been learning a lot about the health insurance portability and accountability act (HIPAA) and what that means for me as a blogger. What is HIPAA? HIPAA is a law that protects patient information and the security of health-care information. For example, if I were to post a selfie with, let’s say, Blue Ivy Carter in the hospital and captioned the photo “Omg, I had the fiercest patient today getting her tonsils removed!”; I’d be in LOTS of trouble and not only lose my job but have some legal issues as well. (For the record, I have never met Blue Ivy Carter nor do I know the status of her tonsils.) Anyways, what’s the big deal and how does this apply to blogging? Well, while that last example was obviously a HIPAA violation, you’d be surprised how vague the rules can seem.

With all of this talk about rules, I decided to compile a list of some of my own rules I follow in the blog world as a health care professional as well as some fun tips.

  • Always keep HIPAA in mind when posting ANYTHING! Does it include a patient’s name? Can someone recognize the patient from your story (even if you changed their name in the story)? Can someone find a connection between the patient and what you’re posting (i.e.,room number/date/family heirloom in the background of the photo)? If you answered yes to any of those questions or if you’re 1% hesitant- DON’T POST IT!
  • Don’t include the name of the hospital where you currently work in your post(s). Doing so could become a big marketing issue with your hospital.
  • If posting on Instagram, don’t skip the hashtags. We are pioneering Child Life in the social media world and we definitely want to prove ourselves as more than just #toyladies. Placed a g-tube in an American Girl doll? #childlifespecialist #childlife #pediatrics #healthcarejobs #education #gtube – Hashtags help reach a variety of audiences think high school students, nursing students, med school students, nurses, doctors, psych majors, education majors, therapists, anyone! Use hashtags to raise awareness of Child Life and the importance it has in the lives of children.
  • Bloggers: watermark your photos! Adventures in Child Life will be turning 4-years-old early next year which means I have uploaded lots of photos onto the internet. And boy, have those photos been saved, put through filters, downloaded, cut, resized, and uploaded by many other people. Luckily by watermarking my photos my name stays on them so if people want to share, the more the merrier! It’s a great way to get your blogs name out there. My favorite app to watermark is called “Over”.

When reading up on health care bloggers I found a great post that eased my HIPAA fears – follow this link to have a look for yourself: Don’t be afraid of HIPAA

 

What are some of the rules you follow, fellow health care bloggers?

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3 thoughts on “Blogging

  1. Hi, I recently started my own blog: Peace Hope and Play and I had a question regarding HIPAA. Say I want to blog about my day, do you think this would be a good way to write about the child: “Today, I engaged with a seven year old girl with cancer through syringe painting.” I have yet to write any blog post regarding this example. I just wanted to see if this was okay before writing anything. Thanks!

    • Hi Ashley! Great job starting your own blog! You’re sure to make a big impact in raising awareness of our amazing profession. As for your question, I asked a similar question to my hospitals marketing and risk management team. I was told that if a reader could recognize the patient I am writing about even though I didn’t mention the patients name, it’s a HIPAA violation. So, using your example, make the focus of your post the syringe painting – not the 7-year-old girl.

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