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How Salesforce Overcomes the Google Analytics HIPAA Hurdle

By 01.31.24
Reading time: 3 minutes

In December 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a bulletin that introduced new challenges for marketers in the healthcare industry by shedding light on additional requirements for compliance with the 1996 law concerning third-party trackers. These technologies, such as Google Analytics or Meta Pixel, collect data on how users interact with healthcare entities’ websites or mobile applications. 

The bulletin addresses concerns about potential violations of the HIPAA Rules when electronic protected health information (ePHI) is shared with tracking technology vendors. The bulletin points out that certain data, including email and IP addresses, may now be considered protected health information (PHI), and sharing PHI with entities could violate HIPAA rules if a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) is missing, patient consent is not provided, or the PHI is not properly de-identified. 

Many providers using technologies like Google Analytics may be at risk of violating HIPAA, leading some to discontinue its use. The bulletin emphasizes the importance of safeguarding patient information and encourages regulated entities to follow the law when employing tracking technologies. So what can you do?

Choose tools that can meet the outlined requirements

Both Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud Personalization and Data Cloud meet the requirements of the HHS outlined above. Salesforce provides the option to enter into a Business Associate Agreement (BAA), allowing them to deliver services to covered entities and manage PHI in accordance with compliance and integrity standards. In addition, Salesforce guarantees the protection of sensitive Protected Health Information (PHI) with the added benefit of providing personalized digital experiences in real-time. So which one is for you?

Marketing Cloud Personalization

Marketing Cloud Personalization is more than just a platform; it’s a real-time personalization and decisioning powerhouse that facilitates one-to-one engagement across various channels. This robust platform is designed to create a holistic view of each customer and prospect. By combining comprehensive behavioral analytics, first-party data, and machine learning with your existing data, it forms a cohesive understanding of prospects and customers. This comprehensive view allows personalized interactions across every touchpoint where customers engage with your brand.

The system operates through configurable rules and AI-driven decisioning, intelligently determining the appropriate actions or messaging for every customer interaction. The power of this platform extends beyond individual channels; it allows data activation across multiple channels and devices, ensuring maximally relevant, personalized experiences. The insights garnered from one channel are utilized to inform and shape personalization strategies across all other channels.

Salesforce Data Cloud

Salesforce Data Cloud lets you unify your customer data and act on insights with AI and automation in real-time, whether it’s external data from your website, mobile app, and end products or internal data from your Salesforce orgs and clouds like Sales or Service. Data Cloud can ingest data from any source and is natively integrated with Customer 360. This means native connectors are built and maintained by Salesforce, accelerating cross-cloud integration and increasing workflow optimization. 

Data Cloud creates a single source of truth of rich customer data so it can orchestrate hyper-personalized engagement across web and mobile properties. According to the Salesforce State of Marketing report, marketers expect a 40% increase in the number of data sources they use in the next year. A core strength of Data Cloud is the ability to consolidate and segment customer data into a unified customer profile. 

This unified profile also helps resolve some of the data privacy issues by better understanding audiences as individuals and linking identity with privacy compliance. Data Cloud includes privacy tools that protect data and manage customer consent by using embedded capabilities and alliances with identity and consent software providers.

Ensure HIPAA-compliant tracking and personalization

While Marketing Cloud Personalization focuses on understanding the customer and personalizing their experience based on their affinities and behaviors, Data Cloud is focused on identity resolution across multiple and varied sources. They both offer SDK packages that can be installed on your website to compliantly track individuals and personalize the experience.

The best bit? They can work together, or separately depending on your needs. They both set you up for the end of cookies in 2024 and centralize around a first-party data structure, all while keeping it HIPAA compliant. Now that’s a win!

Find out how you can protect your data with Salesforce marketing technology.

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