Postcard reminders

October 10, 2003

Am I permitted under HIPAA to send postcard appointment reminders to patients?

Q:Am I permitted under HIPAA to send postcard appointment reminders to patients?

A: HIPAA doesn't specifically prohibit the use of postcards. But it does require that your notice of privacy practices describe the ways you may use and disclose protected information. So if you use postcards as appointment reminders, you should spell that out in your notice. Second, the information on the postcards should be the minimum necessary for the purpose at hand—to remind patients of their appointments. And third, you should accommodate patients who request confidential communications, such as a sealed envelope.