Ask the Experts: How Perform[cb] Agency manages compliance, avoids fraud, and resolves violations within telehealth partnership programs

Perform[cb]’s VP of Client Services, Angie Stockman, discusses how the agency leverages industry expertise, partnerships, and the impact.com platform to help their telehealth clients manage compliance while scaling affiliate programs.

Scott Gold, Senior Product Marketing Manager
Scott Gold
Senior Product Marketing Manager
Read time: 5 mins

Marketers rely on Perform[cb] Agency for their secret sauce: a unique combination of promotions and partnerships that will hit KPIs while maintaining an efficient ROAS. 

When you entrust your brand to Perform[cb] Agency, you get a HIVE—highly-integrated versatile experience team. A HIVE is a deeply experienced team of professional account managers and role players. At any given time, three to four experts from the agency will work on your account. You’ll get 360° coverage for partnerships and affiliates, from leadership to compliance and everyone in between.

The team manages affiliate programs for brands across many industries, including telehealth. This industry experienced growing popularity in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact.com team sat down with Angie Stockman, Perform[cb]’s VP of Client Services, to discuss how the agency leverages industry expertise, partnerships, and the impact.com platform (impact.com’s Protect feature in particular) to help their clients scale affiliate programs while managing compliance. 

Angie at Perform cb

Scott: How did Perform[cb] first get involved with the telehealth vertical?

Angie: Similar to other verticals such as finance, the shift in consumer behavior brought on by the pandemic has resulted in the launch of innovative D2C companies in health care. These companies offer everything from mental health services to prescriptions delivered to the consumer’s door. These innovative ways to serve consumers remotely are a perfect fit for affiliates, where we can educate and drive conversions on outcome-based models.

Scott: Can you share a little bit about your background and experience with the telehealth vertical?

Angie: I’ve managed and directed multiple affiliate programs over the years for telehealth merchants that connect online patients to licensed healthcare professionals across all 50 states and offer customers prescription & over-the-counter medications, as well as mental health services.

Scott: For brands running partnership and affiliate marketing programs, ensuring that your partners are compliant and following specific brand guidelines, as well as industry-wide regulations, is crucial. It’s one of the reasons why impact.com offers the Protect suite of compliance tools and services. 

Protect provides brands with the tools to monitor, manage, mitigate, and remediate compliance risks and violations across their entire program-—including paid search, web, social media, promo code, and fraud monitoring. 

How does Perform[cb] use Protect to manage risks around compliance, violations, and fraud?

Angie: We utilize impact.com’s Protect compliance suite in several ways. Protect’s Paid Search Monitoring, and in particular, the TM+ Bidding tool, allows us to see when partners are violating our search terms and bidding on branded keywords and trademarks. 

We can then remediate these violations through the platform, which is very convenient. Protect’s fraud scoring system, Invalid Traffic, looks at leads and flags them for things such as IP reputation, proxies, and hosting providers. This allows us to make optimizations or pauses for large-scale clients if we see a partner being flagged at high rates.

Scott: With the telehealth industry, there is also the added component of ensuring that your program is HIPAA-compliant. Can you explain what that means and why it’s important to certain brands when building a partnership or affiliate marketing program?

Angie: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, was introduced to prevent healthcare fraud and improve patients’ rights with safeguards for Protected Health Information. 

The HIPAA Privacy Rule governs how Protected Health Information can be used and disclosed, meaning any health information tied to an individual is protected. Any merchant selling online prescription medications is responsible for ensuring their vendors are compliant.

Scott: What are the rules of HIPAA-compliant programs?

Angie: A HIPAA violation is considered to be non-compliance with any “required” standard or any “addressable” standard.

Scott: What kind of patient information can brands acquire or share?

Angie: No protected health information can be shared from a brand to a publisher. This includes any part of the customer’s name, geographical identifiers smaller than a state other than the first three digits of a zip code, and dates (other than year) directly related to an individual. It also includes personal numbers like social security, medical, insurance, and account information. This also includes any other unique identifying number, characteristic, or code except the unique code assigned by the investigator to code the data. Even identifiable images like full-face photographs are protected.

Scott: What HIPAA violations are brands typically trying to avoid?

Angie: For many health and wellness brands, avoiding sharing any customer’s personal health information inadvertently with publishers or the affiliate tracking platforms tends to be the biggest concern.

Scott: Who must comply with HIPAA-compliant affiliate programs?

Angie: Anyone who is covered by the HIPAA regulations can violate HIPAA. A non-medical person, like a brand, can violate HIPAA if they disclose personal health information without authorization.

Scott: What are some examples of HIPAA-compliant affiliate program violations?

Angie: HIPAA violations are often due to the failure of a Covered Entity to monitor compliance with policies and procedures—any time a customer’s private medical information is shared with anyone outside of the medical provider.

Scott: What happens if you break HIPAA?

Angie: HIPAA violation penalties will include the maximum a brand can be fined for multiple instances of the same violation. Failure to comply with HIPAA regulations can result in substantial fines being issued, which all major and emerging brands in the vertical must be aware of.

Scott: Can you share an example of a success story that PCB has had with helping telehealth brands manage HIPAA compliance?

Angie: A great example is one of our top telehealth brands, a leading hair loss treatment subscription service, which was looking to increase its market share and drive high-quality leads. Perform[cb] takes compliance very seriously. 

We have the brand covered with our in-house compliance team, proprietary anti-fraud suite, PerformSHIELD, and extensive partner vetting process, always keeping HIPAA top of mind. Our team selected vetted, high-quality partners in the health and wellness vertical to optimize toward this brand’s desired KPIs. 

As a result, we successfully increased this marketer’s traffic and leads, providing revenue growth and massively scaling their program without a single HIPPA violation.

Scott: 2023 is almost here. Where do you see telehealth, affiliate marketing, and partnerships going in the new year and in the future?

Angie: The affiliate marketing channel has been growing rapidly for years with no sign of slowing down. Agencies like Perform[cb] have perfected their compliance practices, taking away the biggest fear that many marketers in this vertical have—HIPPA violations. 

This increase in trust has presented huge opportunities for health and wellness brands. I predict the telehealth vertical will become even more prominent in 2023 as more brands in the space begin to recognize the benefits of the channel and the success they could achieve. 

Diamond award impact.com agency partner

Brands use impact.com’s Protect suite as a shield against compliance risks across their partnership program. Protect includes Paid Search Monitoring, Promo Code Monitoring, Attribution Risk, and Invalid Traffic.  

Do you want to put impact.com to work defending your program against compliance risks and violations? Reach out at grow@impact.com or request a demo.

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