best practices

best practices for marketing data and opt-in strategy

best practices

cured’s marketing data and opt-in best practices ensure patients are informed and healthcare organizations are protected

best practices for marketing data and opt-in strategy

How Opt-In and Marketing Data Relate

Many organizations capture personal data through forms. These forms are any digital or paper questionnaires that collect information from your patients, customers, donors, or other groups interested in your health system. Forms can exist on your website, in an email, or on documents patients may fill out in person at your health system.

Capturing information on existing and potential patients is crucial to establishing an understanding of your customer base. This information provides insight into patient demographics, where they are in their care journey, the type of content they want to receive, and the right time to deliver that content. The first step in best understanding your audience is sourcing that data from the consumer. 

There are ethical and legal considerations to be aware of when sourcing information from consumers, much of which is controlled via your “opt-in” practices. Patients, now more than ever, are raising concerns over the privacy and security of their personal information. Cured is here to guide your health system to ethically capture customer data while maintaining compliance.

Form Examples

There are many chances for consumers to provide their personal information to healthcare organizations: consumers may ask to view a webinar on orthopedics, download a digital guide to cardiology services, or view a lookbook on physical therapy practices. In exchange for providing information on your offerings, you can ask them to share information about themselves. 

For example, Leslie, a potential patient, wants to compare labor and delivery centers at multiple health systems to find the right fit for her health needs. She finds your labor and delivery center and clicks a link to a virtual tour of your facilities on the website. To sign up to view the tour, she fills out a form with basic fields: first name, last name, email, birthday, and zip code. 

Leslie then accesses the virtual tour, showcasing all that the labor and delivery center has to offer patients like her. In exchange, you now know the stage of Leslie’s health journey, how to contact her, and the service to contact her about. In industry speak, we call this exchange a ‘win-win’. 

There are legal points to consider before using Leslie’s data. With the spread of data usage in marketing and advertising, privacy law has mandated that companies take steps to ensure that consumer privacy is ethically sourced, stored, and used. Cured has developed data capture best practices to guide this. 

Marketing Data Best Practices


There are two types of opt-in you can receive from customers - explicit and implicit. Explicit opt-in is when you ask a consumer if you can send them marketing communications and they agree. This can be in the form of a check-box or other consent form. Implicit opt-in is when a consumer has given you their email in a business context, but not explicitly for marketing purposes. 

The best practice when capturing personal information is to ensure you include a checkbox on your form that indicates the consumer permits you to use their email for marketing purposes. A checked box qualifies the consumer as interested in your offerings and shows they are willing to receive more content from your healthcare organization.

Similarly, your healthcare organization probably intakes data onsite. When patients fill out paper forms in person, include a checkbox indicating a willingness to opt in to marketing communications. Proactively using data opt-in consent ensures patients are not surprised when they are contacted by their healthcare organization.

While implicit opt-in is often legally covered via the terms of service and privacy policy, Cured maintains that best practice is to provide consumers with a way to explicitly opt-in to marketing communications before you send them messages. When looking at data capture and opt-in best practices, organizations should further consider their privacy policy.

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

A privacy policy ensures consumers are informed about their data. Organizations capturing consumer data online are required to have a privacy policy outlined on both their website and mobile application. This policy should address the following concerns:

  • The name of your organization and its physical mailing address
  • Which data you collect from consumers
  • How you collect data and the purpose of its collection
  • Who you share the data with
  • How consumers can prohibit the use of their data

To achieve the highest level of transparency when capturing consumer data, include a link to your privacy policy in the web form. Consumers can navigate to this page to understand how opting for data capture will affect their privacy. Best practices are to be upfront and transparent with your data use. Not only is a privacy policy required for compliance purposes, but savvy consumers will appreciate the steps you take to ensure their peace of mind.

Alongside a privacy policy, many health systems have a terms of service section which outlines a list of implied, agreed upon conditions between you and your website visitors. Such conditions that most health systems uphold and include in the terms of service are:

  • Your health system does not willingly collect data from those under the age of 18
  • Data collection forms capturing personal information are secure and encrypted
  • All protected health information (PHI) regulations specified by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are followed

The terms of service section also holds website visitors accountable for their actions while using a website to ensure the health system’s legal and technical wellbeing. For example, if there is a medical emergency, health systems urge that users call 911 instead of emailing the hospital or continuing to browse the terms of service section. Believe it or not, it’s best to have these topics in writing for all to see. 


Ready to learn more? Talk to a Cured expert. 

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