The Privacy Rights Act: How to Make Your Audiology Website Compliant

audiology patient data privacy

Online privacy is paramount. As a practice owner, you know how essential it is to adhere to state and federal regulations, protecting your patients’ sensitive personal information in the process. The Privacy Rights Act (PRA), AKA the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), is an act of legislation that serves as a legal and enforceable right of privacy, and it impacts your audiology practice and website in multiple ways.

Ensuring your audiology website is compliant with the Privacy Rights Act is critical. Once updated, your new and improved site will adhere to the latest and greatest privacy protection standards, helping you and your patients rest easier. 

Who is Affected by the Privacy Rights Act?

Any for-profit business that collects California residents’ personal information and meets one of the following criteria must adhere to the rules and regulations of the PRA:

  • The business has annual gross revenues over $25 million
  • The business buys/sells the personal information of 50,000(+) consumers, households, or devices
  • The business derives 50%(+) of its annual revenues from the sale of personal information

If your audiology website collects personal information from California residents, complying with the Privacy Rights Act is essential. If you’re unsure how to make the necessary changes, MedPB can help ensure your audiology website is not only appealing and intuitive but also compliant with the PRA.

What is the California Privacy Rights Act? 

The California Privacy Rights Act took effect on January 1, 2020. Also known as the PRA or CPRA, the Privacy Rights Act enhances privacy protections for Californians and affords them additional rights and authority over how their personal information is stored and shared. These rights include the ability to limit the disclosure of information and, as of January 2023, correct inaccurate information.

The California Privacy Rights Act Includes:

  • The Right to Know: Giving individuals the right to know what personal information a business is collecting. 
  • The Right to Opt-Out: Giving individuals the right to opt-out of businesses selling their personal information.
  • The Right to Non-Discrimination: Ensuring individuals are not discriminated against for exercising their privacy rights.
  • The Right to Delete: Giving individuals the right to request that a business delete their personal information.

The CPRA expands on the California Consumer Privacy Act with new requirements that affect how your audiology practice collects and uses a patient’s personal information.

How Does the Privacy Rights Act Impact Audiology Websites?

Your audiology website will need to undergo several changes to be PRA-compliant. New privacy protections include the right to request that certain information be deleted, the right to opt out of the sale of personal information, and the right to a clear and visible privacy policy that discloses how personal information is collected, shared, and used. 

To maintain compliance, your audiology website must receive explicit consent before collecting a patient’s personal information. You’ve no doubt come across what is known as “cookie consent” while browsing the internet. Cookie consent is when a website interacts with a user, requesting permission to let cookies collect personal data.

Requirements for PRA compliance include:

  • Telling patients what personal information is being collected and how it’s being used. This is where your cookie consent feature comes in. 
  • Letting patients easily access their personal information.
  • Giving patients a clear and easy way to request that their personal information be deleted. Your practice must respond to these requests in a timely manner.
  • Letting patients opt-out of the sale of their info.
  • Ensuring that third parties like analytics providers or web hosts are also compliant. 

How to Make Your Audiology Website PRA Compliant

If your audiology website collects personal information from California residents, you will need to take the following steps to comply with the Privacy Rights Act.

  1. Implement security measures.  Your practice should implement security measures to protect patient privacy. These measures could include encryption, access controls, and regular security assessments.
  2. Conduct a privacy risk assessment. A risk assessment will help identify any potential risks to personal privacy. Assessments should be well documented and performed periodically. 
  3. Update your privacy policy. Your new privacy policy should cover patient rights under the PRA and clearly explain how personal information is shared, used, and collected.
  4. Offer opt-out options. The new regulations require that you give patients the chance to opt out of the share or sale of their personal information. Opting out should be both clear and easy to maintain compliance. 
  5. Train employees on the new requirements. Equip and empower your staff with training on how to handle personal information and report data breaches.
  6. Monitor compliance and update as necessary. It’s a good idea to monitor for changes in the law and third-party service provider practices.

Keeping Audiology Patient Data Secure

Keeping sensitive patient data secure is crucial. Here are some steps you can take to protect your patients and maintain compliance at all times:

  • Use secure forms: Use a secure form on your website that encrypts patient information when it is submitted.
  • Store data securely: Ensure that any patient data you collect is stored securely and is not accessible to unauthorized individuals.
  • Limit access: Limit access to patient data to only those who need it to provide medical services.
  • Regularly review security measures: Regularly review your security measures to ensure that they are up-to-date and effective in protecting patient data.

How Do I Train My Staff on Patient Privacy?

Once your site is compliant, you can further prioritize patient privacy by training your staff on the latest rules and regulations. As a bonus, your staff can feel proud of doing their part to uphold your practice’s commitment to transparency and trust. 

You can help your staff understand patient privacy by:

  • Providing regular staff training that focuses on patient privacy and data protection.
  • Establishing clear, compliant policies and procedures for collecting, handling, and using patient information.
  • Putting policies in place that ensure only those who need patient information to provide medical services have access.
  • Regularly review your privacy policies and procedures with your staff to ensure they are optimized, compliant, and up-to-date.

What if My Audiology Site is Not Compliant?

Running an audiology practice is demanding, and it can be easy to put off website updates. However, the consequences of non-compliance can be severe. You might have to pay a hefty fine, face legal action, or take a hit reputationally. Plus, it’s much easier to keep patient trust than to win it back.

The digital marketing experts at MedPB can assess your website to ensure it meets all the latest patient privacy rules and regulations. We can also help you regularly review your privacy policies to make sure you’re always up-to-date. 

Lastly, it’s worth noting that search engines prioritize websites with linked privacy policies. That means adhering to the PRA’s rules and regulations not only keeps you trusted and compliant, it also helps you improve your results and grow your audiology practice

How to Maintain Up-to-Date PRA Compliance on Your Audiology Website

Keeping your patients’ information safe and secure is critical. How you collect, store, and use personal information lets patients know their trust and loyalty are not misplaced. 

Regularly reviewing your privacy policies can help your patients rest easy, knowing sensitive personal information is safe and secure. If you need to update your website or have questions about the Privacy Rights Act and how it affects your website, give MedPB a call today.