Email marketing is a highly effective way to communicate the latest news about your dental practice to patients. However, stale newsletters and practice announcements are not enough to keep patients engaged with their oral health. Take your dental practice email marketing to the next level with these tips to improve your messaging.
1) Choose an email marketing platform that allows you to use ePHI
Identifying the tools to market your practice is often trickier than it appears. Dental practices must abide by HIPAA regulations, affecting how they can transmit information about their services to their patients. Any vendor that handles PHI on behalf of a dental practice must sign a Business Associate Agreement outlining how patient data will be stored, transmitted, and disposed of. Don’t choose a vendor who is unfamiliar with HIPAA’s stringent requirements.
Also, watch out for quasi-compliance. Some self-identified “HIPAA-compliant” email vendors can protect data at rest but not in transmission, rendering their services moot. What’s the point of using a HIPAA-compliant email marketing service that doesn’t allow you to transmit relevant information?
Some organizations try to avoid HIPAA regulations by having patients sign consent forms to waive their rights under HIPAA. However, this is unwise for several reasons. Even if patients agree, it does not remove the organization’s obligations to secure PHI under the law. If protected health information is improperly accessed, it is still a breach and can lead to severe financial and reputational consequences. Plus, keeping track of waivers and keeping email lists up to date is a major hassle. It’s much easier to do the right thing under the law.
2) Encrypt marketing emails to comply with HIPAA
Many marketing emails imply a relationship between patients and providers and, as such, can often be classified as protected health information. PHI must be encrypted in transit and at rest to comply with HIPAA. Ensure your email marketing platform encrypts every email automatically instead of relying on your marketing team to secure sensitive data.
However, not all email encryption is created equal. TLS encryption meets HIPAA transport encryption requirements and provides a better user experience. Emails encrypted with TLS are sent directly to the patient’s inbox and are opened just like a regular email. This means that marketing emails sent with TLS encryption are more likely to be opened than those sent to a patient portal which requires users to login to read the email.
Learn more about the differences between TLS and Secure Portal Pickup.
3) Use PHI to send personalized emails that are relevant to your customers
Once you’ve selected a tool that complies with HIPAA email encryption transmission requirements, use patient data to create highly relevant messaging. Some organizations try to get around HIPAA requirements by sending very generic marketing content. However, these tactics do not deliver results. Marketers in other industries have found that using customer data to segment their audience allows them to create highly relevant messaging that delivers better open and click rates.
Dental marketers can use PHI to segment and personalize emails and delivers results for both your practice and your patients. Healthcare marketing emails can be personalized as long as the proper safeguards and precautions are in place to protect patient privacy and meet compliance requirements.
4) Use email marketing to engage patients
Healthcare consumerism is rising, and patients are willing to change providers if they are unsatisfied with their experience. Educating and informing current and potential patients about your services is essential to improving new customer acquisition and patient retention. Many patients now prefer to receive communications about their health status, upcoming appointments, and relevant offers via email.
Adapting your communications to fit patient preferences is an easy change that can go a long way to increase patient satisfaction.
5) Track the results and use data to improve messaging
Unlike other traditional marketing channels, email marketing campaigns deliver a wealth of data that can be used to inform your strategic plans. Unlike social media, email isn’t subject to the whims of the latest algorithm change. Reviewing performance over time makes it possible to tell what is popular and unpopular with your customer base. Email marketing is so effective at delivering a positive return on investment because it is straightforward to track what is resonating and what is not.
Using HIPAA-compliant email marketing tools allows dental practices to achieve better marketing results via segmentation and personalization without sacrificing patient privacy. LuxSci’s Secure Marketing platform was designed to help organizations connect with their patients without violating HIPAA.