HIPAA, Social Media, and Technology
A Guide for Mental Health Professionals

Conclusion & References

By now, we've explored the myriad ways HIPAA, social media, and other technology can lead to tricky legal and ethical territory for mental health professionals. You might feel as though you're walking a fine line when trying to educate potential clients and other practitioners about your services and experiences through social networking sites. You may wonder if anything that happens online can truly be considered secure enough for HIPAA compliance.

And you'd be right to wonder. Technology is always evolving, and with it, so are your risks. To ensure you have the financial resources to deal with the lawsuits that are most likely to result from technology mishaps, it's wise to invest in three types of insurance: General Liability, Malpractice, and Cyber Liability.

But insurance shouldn't be your only risk-management tool. To prevent lawsuits in the first place, stay up to date on regulations. If you aren't sure what the best course of action is, consult the endless resources offered by your industry's professional association. When you comply with what your industry states is the accepted standard of care and conduct, you reduce the likelihood of professional negligence lawsuits and other repercussions.

Lastly, be sure to stay informed about the latest technological developments that your practice may implement. HIPAA places the responsibility on you to create reasonable security practices, which means new technology may signal that it's time to revisit your risk management policies and revise accordingly.

Quick Resources

American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics [PDF]

American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct

Clinical Social Work Association

Federation of State Medical Board (FSMB) report [PDF]

Health & Human Services Summary of the HIPAA Privacy Rule

Health & Human Services Summary of the HIPAA Security Rule

HIPAA covered entities


HIPAA's 18 identifiers

National Association of Social Work (NASW) Code of Ethics

Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project [PDF]

QuantiaMD survery [PDF]

Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics and the Health Care Compliance Association study

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