NAI Guidelines for Healthcare Marketers Help Protect Patient Privacy

With an increased focus on data privacy and growing legislative momentum, the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) guidelines are an essential framework for digital advertising. By working with vendors who follow the guidelines, advertisers can ensure that privacy-safe data is used to power their digital campaigns.

Connecticut recently became the fifth U.S. state to pass a comprehensive data privacy law. Nine more states have active bills moving through the legislative process, and momentum continues to increase toward a possible national law.

Legislators are introducing these laws to give consumers greater control over how their personal data is collected, stored and used. However, these laws don’t guide how healthcare advertisers can safely deliver their messages to relevant consumers in today’s ever-changing digital landscape.

Some health data vendors claim that Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance ensures a privacy-safe methodology. HIPAA, which passed into law more than two decades ago, wasn’t designed to cover the complexities of today’s digital world. HIPAA is necessary but not sufficient when it comes to privacy and the use of data to reach health audiences.

The NAI provides a valuable privacy framework

The NAI is the leading self-regulatory association dedicated to responsible data collection and its use in digital advertising in the United States. It promotes privacy and trust by creating and enforcing standards for responsible data usage.

The NAI created guidance for health audience segments explicitly for health marketers. It outlines three criteria to ensure the safe use of data to connect the right message with the right people.
  • Health advertising segments should be sufficiently large–at least 10% of the U.S. population. This ensures that the audience is large enough to protect a user’s reasonable expectation of anonymity, especially for rare or niche conditions.
  • Marketers can only use demographic attributes, such as age, gender, education level and residential setting, to create a segment. Using health data to target patients is not permissible.
  • Naming is important–the name of a segment should clearly articulate which demographic elements are used. In most ad platforms, users can look up the segments used to deliver advertising. This transparency allows users to understand why they are seeing an advertisement. It depends on clear and accurate naming.

Veeva Crossix has been a member of the NAI since 2020. Our solutions are fully NAI-compliant and use demographic attributes to ensure user privacy.

Ask your data provider how their methodology complies with the NAI criteria. Doing so is crucial to ensure that you use data safely and appropriately.

Learn best practices for using health audience segments to scale campaigns in A Guide to Audience Targeting for Health Brands.

Interested in learning more about how Veeva can help?