5 Key Considerations When Choosing a Third-Party Medical Marketing Partner
Marketing a medical practice comes with unique challenges not seen in most other industries. Making sure patient data is secure, communications are HIPAA-compliant and that important healthcare messages are reaching the correct audience are all challenges that differ from that of the average marketing campaign.
If you are looking for a solution to market your practice, consider outsourcing your medical marketing print campaigns. Choosing a reputable partner is not only good for business, but it can also help avoid financial penalties and data breaches. Not sure how to vet a company for your medical marketing needs? Here are some key considerations:
Am I Using Sensitive Information?
Information that discloses conditions, treatments, and care for a specific patient is protected by law. Even accidental infractions have steep financial penalties. It is important that parties on both sides of the healthcare marketing vendor relationship understand what information requires extra care.
The content of your marketing messages will dictate which medical marketing partner is best for your needs. If sending out appointment reminders are part of your patient retention strategy, many printers can assist with this broad, universal content. If your print marketing is more specific about conditions, it may inadvertently disclose a patient’s diagnosis or treatment and put your practice at legal and/or financial risk.
Awareness of HIPAA and medical privacy regulations protects your patients, your practice, and your reputation. For print marketing based on a patient diagnosis such as medicine recommendations, peer support groups, outpatient care options, and more, it’s important to work with a Commercial Printer that is familiar with healthcare privacy regulations to ensure you’re always in compliance. Preferred Direct is a HIPAA-compliant commercial printer with extensive experience handling not only medical marketing print services but third-party billing as well, for a variety of healthcare organizations.
Does This Printer Have Any Relevant Certifications?
There are industry certifications a printing partner can earn to display their medical marketing expertise. How will you know if a potential printer has them? In most cases, these certifications will be visible on the company’s website and other marketing materials.
Look for mentions of HIPAA compliance, HITRUST certifications, and ways they keep data secure. Without these, you run the risk of incidental violation, compromised data, and workflow challenges.
A strong reputation also goes a long way. Does the printing company have a working relationship with others in the healthcare industry? Preferred Direct, for example, works with one of the largest health insurance providers in the US, assuring HIPAA compliance every step of the way. We are also a HITRUST-certified printer, strictly following the HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) to ensure the utmost security of your patient data. In 2022, Preferred Direct was also named one of the top commercial print services in Virginia Beach. From reputation to certification, Preferred Direct has taken the steps to be the medical marketing partner of choice.
What Healthcare Industry Experience Do They Have?
At the end of the day, your best choice for a printing partner is the provider that excels at the services your practice or office needs. Most printing companies can execute direct mail campaigns or design high-quality brochures for a broad array of business types. Not all can do so for the healthcare industry. And even fewer can be a one-stop-shop for all medical printing needs.
Say you want to expand into outsourcing your printed billing statements. The risk of small, yet costly mistakes is high when working with an inexperienced printer.
Did you know that something as simple as using the wrong envelope can be a HIPAA violation? In this case, the window in the envelope disclosed personal information about patients, including a condition they underwent treatment for. Through this envelope, anyone who handled the piece of mail was able to see personal medical information, which ultimately culminated in a lawsuit.
At Preferred Direct, we pay careful attention to these areas of risk and ensure there is no exposures or violations before all mailing projects. We are incredibly proud to have never had a client HIPAA violation in our 35 years of business!
When shopping around for a medical marketing partner, ask directly about their healthcare industry experience. While printers may not be able to disclose specific client or project details, a brief conversation can reveal a lot about an organization’s capabilities. Request samples of materials similar to those you are planning to use in an upcoming campaign. Use these to guide the conversation to medical marketing standards. A little bit of research and discussion can help prevent unnecessary stress and errors down the line.
What Technology Does the Company Utilize?
The technology used by a third-party medical marketing partner can be a deciding factor on whether they can securely handle your campaigns. Combined with industry expertise, the right technology can keep your communications professional, secure and credible. Here are three technologies to ask about:
Variable Data Printing (VDP)
Variable Data Printing is a process in which sections of information- such as Personal Medical Information, can be switched out from piece to piece, without slowing down the printing process. This capability shows they have the equipment necessary to handle the accurate, fast, and secure printing of potentially sensitive information.
Internal Security Processes
While you cannot be there to personally supervise the print job, there is no harm in inquiring about the internal processes that help keep sensitive data secure. Data encryption should be standard practice, as well as other visible forms of trust, such as certifications and a trusted staff. Ask about any data breaches the company may have experienced and their resolution.
A good printing partner will allow for scheduled system tests. During these tests, mailing lists are pulled and prepared for sending. This is an opportunity to discover gaps in process, identify missing or duplicated recipients, and verify print quality long before your that first piece of mail delivers.
What About Finishing?
Imagine your surprise when you receive a box of 5,000 unfolded brochures because the partner you chose only performs the printing portion of the job. Avoid the time-consuming stress and ask early about finishing options offered by your potential print marketing partner.
Medical marketing collateral commands a higher level of professionalism to win the trust of patients. Exploring other finishing options, like binding or adding perforated sections can elevate the perceived quality of your printed marketing materials. Preferred Direct offers not only printing services but also bindery, collating, cutting, tabbing, scoring, perforations, drilling, folding, and other finishing services.
Preferred Direct has years of experience and a stellar reputation in managing variable data and sensitive healthcare information. We guarantee prompt and confidential processing of your information while giving you flexible solutions to accommodate your medical marketing requirements. From designing to printing, to finishing to postage, we have the experience, technology, security, and personnel to be an invaluable asset to your healthcare communications.
When you partner with Preferred Direct, you partner with a data-secure, technology-focused medical marketing printing partner dedicated to your goals. Contact us today for an estimate!