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Hoveround, HIPAA, Social Media, and You

July 17, 2015

Like many companies, Hoveround is on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube. It’s easy to find us (our Web site features links to these sites – plus our blog!) and it’s easy to reach out. And we LOVE hearing from our customers and fans.

While we love to chat with you about the great content we provide, we can’t chat about everything.

Because your Hoveround power wheelchair is a medical device and is used by you because of a medical condition, any and all talk about your specific needs and use of Hoveround is considered medical — falling under federal rules and mandates. The reason is this: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.

A little about HIPAA

You’ve had to sign waivers about your HIPAA rights every time you go to your doctor’s office, but do you really know what HIPAA is? The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) means that any individually identifiable health information remains private for your personal protection. As a result, only those who you grant permission to will have access to your health information — and any covered entity (like Hoveround) that has received such access must keep that information private and confidential.

Here’s the type of information that is protected:

 

  • Any information that can identify you individually such as your name, address, phone number, pictures etc.
  • Information put in your medical records by your doctors, nurses and other health care providers
  • Conversations your doctor has about your care or treatment
  • Any information in a health provider’s computer system
  • Your billing information
  • Most other health information about you

 

HIPAA and social media

As you can see above, pretty much all health and personal information that your doctors and healthcare providers possess is protected by HIPAA. So talking about any of that health information via social media with a healthcare provider, including Hoveround — even if you’re willingly offering such information — could be a violation for the business/healthcare provider if they reveal any of your protected health information.

We have your best interest at heart and don’t want anyone to be able to view any of your protected health information over public social networks. So, unfortunately, we can’t obtain any information from you about you or your Hoveround product that may help us resolve any issues or questions you may have online — not even in a private message or email.

What about private and/or direct messages?

In essence, you’d think a “private” or “direct” message on Facebook or Twitter is just that: Private. So no one else can see. However, we care about your privacy and we know things aren’t always private on social media or internet.

Someone could gain access to your account and have this personal, medical information at their fingertips. While that may be simply someone in your own home who you don’t mind viewing this information, things happen on the Internet and there is always a chance you could be hacked or someone could gain access to your accounts for a malicious reason.

We’d love to hear from you!

Even though we can’t discuss specifics on social media, we still love to engage in conversation! And, if you do need assistance or have any questions that require us having personal information about you or your case, you can always call us! Contact our Hoveround mobility specialists at (800) 542-7236 and we’ll be happy to help you out whether you are interested in choosing the right product or have questions about your current product.

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