3 Questions to Ask Before Posting a Photo to Your Practice’s Social Media Sites

By: Emily Williams

One way to enhance your facility’s social media page is by posting photographs. Pictures grab the attention of your audience and allow your organization to become more relatable. Including photographs of your office and staff can help achieve these goals.

Before posting a photo of your practice, be sure you ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are there patients in my photo?

According to HIPAA privacy laws, photographs fall under the category of Patient Health Information (PHI), and cannot be disclosed without a patient’s consent. This includes patients who are the subject of the photo as well as patients who appear in the background.

HCA affiliated organizations must have each patient in the photograph sign both of these release forms before using the photo online or for other marketing purposes:

Consent for Use and Disclosure of Image, Voice, and/or Written Testimonials

Authorization for Use and Disclosure of Protected Health Information for Marketing and/or Promotional Purposes

  1. Is there any Patient Health Information (PHI) in my photo?

If there is a computer screen or a stack of files in the photo, there is a good chance that patient health information (like names, contact information or health records) is visible. Even if you feel like the words are not easily seen, there are tools that allow users to zoom in on this information. Never post a photo with any type of patient information, no matter how small it may appear in the photo.

  1. Does this photo accurately represent my office’s brand?

Think about the brand that your office is representing. If your photograph represents the culture and personality of your office while upholding the standards of your organization, it is likely a good photograph to post online. However, if the photograph sends a message that your organization would not condone, do not post it. Does your office appear messy or unorganized? Is your staff acting unprofessionally in the picture? When in doubt, don’t post. For online images, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Below are three examples of photos that were recently posted to HCA-affiliated sites. These photos are excellent examples of images that do not include patient health information and accurately represent the brand and culture of the office.

tristar centennial medical center - go red for women

Tri-Star Centennial Medical Center supporting the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign on National Wear Red Day in February


TMCA volunteers

Team members from The Medical Center of Aurora volunteering at the Food Bank of the Rockies’ mobile pantry


Medical Center of Plano - Boom

The Medical Center of Plano ER staff wearing BOOM shirts in recognition of their outstanding ranking in patient satisfaction

When you post photos online, remember that once a photo hits the web, it lives there forever. By asking yourself these three questions before posting, you will be able to select appropriate photos to represent your organization. Always put your best face forward online!

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