Your Most Pressing Social Media HIPAA Related Questions

A few months ago, I wrote an article called Social Media Legal Considerations for Dentistry. Since then, I’ve received dozens of comments, questions and feedback. Many of you were simply grateful to have some clarity on basic questions like whether signed consents are necessary before using patients’ names or images on social media.

On the other hand, the article seemed to open up a Pandora’s box of other HIPAA questions. For example, did you know that Facebook message communication, although seemingly private, is not HIPAA compliant? True. You need to ask patients to contact you directly to answer any questions that fall under the HIPAA umbrella, likewise for any social media communication or private message.

While my social media expertise runs deep, we need to consult a HIPAA expert for advice beyond the basics. This is where Linda Harvey, RDH, MS, LHRM, DFASHRM comes in — thanks to Patterson Dental and Off the Cusp, Linda Harvey has agreed to answer our most pressing social media and HIPAA related questions. So, fire away!

What are your most pressing social media HIPAA related questions? Let us know in the comments below, or email us privately at We’ll have Linda address your questions in a future Off the Cusp exclusive article. How cool is that? Fabulous, free advice. All you need to do is ask.

So, what is your most pressing social media HIPAA related question?

3 thoughts on “Your Most Pressing Social Media HIPAA Related Questions

  1. HIPAA…like trying to decipher the tax code.

    If a patient posts a picture of their new smile to their dentist’s Facebook page after completing Invisalign treatment, is that a HIPAA violation?

    By the same token…

    If a dentist posts the same picture to their own Facebook page, and tags the patient in the photo, and remarks on the post how “Jane Doe” looks after her Invisalign treatment…is that a HIPAA violation?

    And still…

    Say the dentist does all of the above, but first has the patient sign a release or waiver…would that be considered a HIPAA violation?

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