Are Doulas HIPAA Compliant?

Are doulas HIPPA compliant

As a ProDoula trainer and certified birth professional of 20 years, I am often asked the question, “are doulas HIPAA compliant?”

This, amongst other things has prompted me to take a moment to talk about client privacy and confidentiality. Most doulas are not required to be HIPAA compliant. However, as birth professionals, we have an obligation to protect our client’s privacy and to maintain complete confidentiality.

At ProDoula, we address this in our Standards of Professionalism.

  • Treat each client and their family with professional courtesy and respect
  • Maintain the highest level of confidentiality with all information and experiences — personal history or information about your client/client’s family should only be shared with other professionals, AND only WITH your client’s permission.

The journey we take with our clients is powerful. Sometimes it’s happy, triumphant, glorious, profound and at other times it’s incredibly sad.

As a result of our interactions with clients during these experiences, we are often moved to do more, learn more teach more.

What must always remain the same is the fact that the client’s story is never ours to tell or use for self-promotion.

Disclosing the specifics of a client’s situation and tagging locations in social media posts intended for the promotion of our businesses can lead to the client’s friends, family and other birth professionals identifying who we are talking about.

Sometimes clients are happy to share their special moments on their doula’s social media, so they tag the doula in their post.  This is welcomed and appreciated. Sometimes the client may even offer the doula a photo to share on social media as the recognition makes them feel great. This is also appreciated and welcomed.

Most clients would be devastated to see what feels like a deep violation of their trust and confidentiality. As doulas, we should never be the cause of or add to these individual’s pain.

While we may have the very best intentions in taking these actions, the impact of using personally identifying information in our interactions on social media is far-reaching. To our clients, to their friends, to their families, and most importantly to our businesses.

While we may not be required to follow HIPAA, let’s all commit to adhering to high standards of professionalism and confidentiality. The growing families we serve deserve only the best.

So, to answer the question, “Are doulas HIPAA compliant?” No, the answer is no they are not required to be… But they should be anyway!