Change is constant for healthcare marketers. We have to stay on top of new tools, tactics, and technologies. All while keeping up with constantly changing regulations, like HIPAA, that shape how organizations interact with digital tools and technologies.

Columbus Regional Health, like many healthcare organizations, found itself at a crossroads when the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new guidelines about the use of online tracking technologies.

Their initial reaction to the guidance was one of mourning. Andrew Laker, Columbus Regional’s Web Applications Developer, said the guidance, “felt like a death in the family for us.”

The Challenge: Adhering to New HIPAA Guidelines

Columbus Regional Health's marketing team, like so many other healthcare marketing teams, was heavily reliant on various online tracking tools, including Google Analytics, to improve their website and connect with the public.

However, the new HHS guidelines rendered many of these tools non-compliant with HIPAA regulations. This posed a significant challenge, as the organization had to ensure compliance without compromising their online marketing and engagement strategies. Columbus Regional Health’s legal team told the marketing team to shut off all non-compliant technologies.

"We thought, surely there's got to be a better way than just shutting it all off. Shutting it off just doesn't even seem possible."

Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Columbus Regional Health couldn’t just shut off those tools becasue they put so much time and money into making them work. They needed to find a path forward that allowed them to use their well-established tools in a HIPAA-compliant manner.


The primary goals for Columbus Regional Health were clear:

  1. Identify and remove all non-compliant web trackers from their websites.
  2. Control the flow of data to those tools to ensure compliance with HIPAA.
  3. Restart essential marketing tools like Google Analytics in a HIPAA-compliant manner
  4. Do all of that quickly and without a drop in marketing performance
"The HIPAA Allowlist in Freshpaint is one of my favorite things. It allows me to control what data is flowing to the tools that I need to do my job, and others on my team need to do their jobs."

Strategic Action: Partnering with Freshpaint

After evaluating various options, Columbus Regional Health chose Freshpaint's Healthcare Privacy Platform, a solution designed specifically for high-performance, HIPAA-compliant marketing. This platform enabled the organization to not only comply with the new guidelines but also adopt new, privacy-first marketing tactics.

Results: Compliance and Performance

The collaboration with Freshpaint yielded impressive results:

  • Elimination of Non-Compliant Trackers: Columbus Regional Health successfully removed all non-compliant web trackers from their site.
  • Fast Reintegration: It took only 20 days to get Google Analytics and other key marketing tools back online, fully compliant with HIPAA.
  • Improved Performance: There was no drop in the performance of their ads and analytics, and now they were compliant with HIPAA.
"We chose Freshpaint because it solved the problem that we had. It solved multiple problems, but it also felt like it was built with HIPAA in mind. It felt like it was made for healthcare."

Columbus Regional Health + Freshpaint = Marketing Compliance

Columbus Regional Health’s proactive approach to navigating the complexities of HIPAA compliance, with the help of Freshpaint’s Healthcare Privacy Platform, serves as a valuable case study for healthcare organizations facing similar challenges.

By prioritizing compliance without sacrificing marketing effectiveness, they have set a benchmark for others in the industry. This case demonstrates the importance of selecting the right partners and technologies in adapting to regulatory changes in healthcare marketing.

Hear the full story from Columbus Regional Health’s Andrew Laker: