HIPAA and TCPA
The Federal Communications Commission Regulations has recently made changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Many dental offices are asking if these changes affect the voice and text reminders that are sent by Legwork on behalf of their clients. The TCPA restricts the use of telephone solicitations, particularly those made by automated voice and text message systems. The FCC mandates that businesses must have prior express written consent from consumers (your patients) to call or text them using automation.
We want to ensure customers that this does not preclude them from using Legwork. Legwork adheres to all the mandates set forth in the TCPA. The FCC has determined that if consent has been given then both automated calls and text messages may be used to communicate with an individual. As the law reads, a patient providing you with their phone number information is considered sufficient consent for you to use Legwork’s system to contact them. Under this specific consent automated calling and texting services are allowed. As well, you can modify patient communication preferences any time through your Legwork dashboard so that opt-out requests can be honored.
CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation)
In general it is your responsibility to comply with all aspects of the Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) in regards to sending messages to your patients. However you should know that Legwork helps you to stay compliant because of its features and attention to the CASL regulations.
In order to lawfully send CEMs (Commercial Electronic Messages) to patients you will need to have consent either expressly given or implied. (CASL allows for both).
CASL allows for implied consent to send CEMs where there is an "existing business relationship" between the sender and the recipient. The relationship you have with your patients qualifies so long as they are an existing patient using your services. The implied consent that you have with a patient allows your to send messages to your patients for appointment reminders, recall reminders and other messages – whether express consent for receiving messages has been obtained or not although this is never a bad idea.
If you are sending random messages to non-patients attempting to solicit them through these means covered under CASL then that could be considered a violation.
Opt-out / Unsubscribe Requests
CASL specifies that you must adhere to patient requests to opt-out from messages. Legwork makes opting patients in or out easy. All messages that leave Legwork are filtered through these opt-in/opt-out settings. As well all messages sent allow patients to modify their opt-out settings from the message itself; another requirement of CASL.
Legwork provides opt-out options through both email and text messages. Patients can reply STOP to opt-out of future text messages. When email messaging patients are always given the ability to modify their subscription settings and opt-out of email messaging. Legwork makes this easy.
Legwork is a very powerful communications platform. Through it we equip our customers to reach out to large amounts of people at any given time. Because of this it’s important that you use Legwork responsibly under the guidelines of CASL and TCPA. Know your laws and regulations before sending messages to any patient.
We are not attorneys
Legworks mission is to equip our clients with tools that help your grow and make your day easier. We will do everything we can from our viewpoint to help you stay compliant with the laws in your industry. However, ultimately you are responsible for ensuring the compliance of your patient messages from staff members or any other tools you might use to communicate with patients. We always advise our customers to know their laws and regulations and to seek legal counsel to ensure they are compliant in their industry.