How To Track HIPAA-Compliant Marketing Analytics
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you are aware that most website tracking technology for advertising and analytics are not HIPAA-compliant. Hopefully you haven’t already spent hours configuring a slew of custom GA4 events and reports before HHS clarified that you can’t even use it. Still, for anyone hearing this for the first time, let’s quickly recap:
GA4 (Google Analytics) Is Not HIPAA-Compliant
Recently, HHS and the FTC have released statements clarifying that Google Analytics is not HIPAA-compliant, along with Meta (Facebook) and other pixel-based tracking tools. In short, they state that these tech companies are collecting PII such as geolocation data and IP addresses while also tracking PHI from webpage visits and form submissions – thus constituting a HIPAA violation.
The FTC has been enforcing these new guidelines with multiple judgements against healthcare companies large and small throughout 2023. We really don’t want to ignore this, because it’s very easy to tell if a website is using these tracking technologies.
Without our pixels and tracking codes, we obviously still need some way to measure our web analytics, marketing channels metrics, and campaign performance.
The HIPAA-Compliant Tech Stack for Marketing Attribution
If you’re still searching for a Google Analytics alternative, we have some suggestions for you listed below. Every business should have some form of website analytics to track where your traffic is coming from and how they are using your site.
However, we ultimately need complete and accurate marketing attribution. To achieve this, we are going to need more than website analytics.
Web analytics alone will still leave us with some glaring issues:
Issue #1: Call Tracking
On average, 80.4% of new patient leads still begin with a phone call. Website analytics cannot track phone calls. Well…with a couple of minor exceptions. Because most phone calls have no association to any web session, we can’t digitally track the source of that new patient who’s calling.
What types of attribution are we losing?
- Anyone who manually dials a number from your website or social media profiles
- Anyone you reached via billboard, television ad, radio ad, signage, etc.
- Anyone who calls your Google Business Profile listing (formerly Google My Business)
- Anyone else who manually types your phone number into their phone
How do we solve this? By layering on a call tracking platform. With a proper call tracking system, you will be able to associate a web session with any caller from your website. You can also use unique phone numbers for out-of-home advertising, Google My Business, etc. This means that no matter how someone calls your practice, you’ll know exactly what marketing channel and/or ad campaign sourced that lead.
Still, we have one glaring problem with call tracking. How do we separate new patient calls from all other phone calls? There is a way, but more on this later!
Issue #2: Reconciling Duplicate Leads
A number of your new patients will have multiple touch points with your business before booking an appointment. What happens if a new patient calls twice to ask questions, later submits a Facebook instant-form, and then uses your online booking system to book an appointment. How many leads is that? Obviously it’s only one. How many leads do your systems record? Two? Three? Four?
This may sound like an extreme example, but it is not uncommon for new patients to have 2, 3, or even 4 touches with your practice. Consolidating duplicate leads will have a significant impact on the accuracy of your reporting, and should not be ignored.
How do we solve this? By having a unified system that follows a user’s web sessions, phone calls, form fills, and online bookings and then reconciles the records. Again – we’ll explore this below!
Issue #3: Tracking Cost-Per-Acquisition
Website analytics can tell you which campaigns brought traffic to your website. Lead tracking can tell you which efforts resulted in a phone call or online inquiry. But we should also track which channels resulted in conversions – that is, when a lead books an appointment. We want to know our cost-per-lead, our conversion rate, and ultimately our cost-per-acquisition.
For example, Facebook is typically one of the top lead channels for any healthcare practice that invests in marketing. However, Facebook leads typically convert to appointments at less than half the rate of other channels. If we adjust our marketing efforts based on cost-per-lead and not cost-per-acquisition, we could easily waste time and money with our campaign mix.
Solving this can be complicated on your own. The best technologies are using speech analytics AI (or, conversational AI) to analyze phone conversations and automatically detect whether each caller booked an appointment. This can be combined with OBS data to collect an accurate status for every new lead. As you might expect by now, we’ll cover this more below.
Issue #4: Siloed Systems
All practices end up with multiple systems in place. It’s inevitable. The web analytics, the call tracking, the EHR or CRM, the communications platforms, etc…
With your lead tracking, it is best to avoid assembling Frankenstein’s monster. Consider the time cost and quality-of-life that comes with running separate systems for your web session tracking, call tracking, web forms inbox, OBS tracking, etc. Rather than trying to reconcile the data into usable reporting, consider an all-in-one lead management system.
HIPAA-Compliant Web Analytics
These systems all offer some form of HIPAA-compliant alternative to Google Analytics (GA4). They allow you to track website events like GA4, but may require a few steps to set up. They offer some combination of self-hosting and/or have a willingness to sign a BAA, which Google will not sign.
All-in-One Marketing Attribution
To recap, our ideal system for tracking marketing attribution would:
- Comply with HIPAA
- Automatically capture accurate marketing attribution for every phone call, web form, and online booking.
- Track new patient leads separately from other callers or inquiries
- Reconcile any duplicate lead interactions
- Track which new leads booked an appointment
Liine is purpose-built to solve these issues for healthcare practices. With zero data entry, practices can accurately track their number of leads, marketing sources, lead-to-appointment conversion rates, and much more. This allows practices to adjust marketing spend towards campaigns that actually drive new patient appointments.
The platform also records and transcribes every phone call, and then utilizes an advanced speech analytics AI to analyze each conversation. Liine customers can quickly view which staff member took each call, the reasons patients do NOT book appointments, treatments requested, how many calls went to voicemail, and more.
This allows for even deeper reporting of revenue-driving insights. For instance, practices are now able to identify high-performing staff members, as well as specific training opportunities for lower-performers. Practices can determine how many new patients they are losing to specific issues like price objections or out-of-network insurance.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one marketing analytics platform for your healthcare organization, set up a free demo today at https://www.liine.com/schedule-a-demo/