My first experience with Intuit’s Demandforce came in the form of a text message from my vet’s office. I received a reminder about an appointment and was prompted to confirm. I remember thinking: this is pretty neat! Veterinary staff later confirmed that clients universally appreciated the appointment reminders generated by this service. (Some did not care for the social campaign piece and opted out.)
This made me wonder: should lawyers use an automated appointment reminder service like Demandforce? Professional services are certainly targeted on the Demandforce site… but what about confidentiality?
- Demandforce retains log files
- They may disclose information in response to a subpoena or legal request:
Demandforce may disclose, access, or report personal information when we believe, in good faith, we’re required to do so by law or to protect our legal rights. We may also do this in connection with an investigation into a suspected violation involving a Terms of Service, fraud, intellectual property infringement, or other activity that may be illegal or expose us to legal liability. For example, we may be required to disclose personal information to cooperate with regulators or law enforcement authorities or to comply with a court order, subpoena, search warrant, or law enforcement request.
- Encryption and site intrusion detection software is used to protect sensitive information
- Consumers (your clients) are given an opt-out with each communication
- Suggestions, ideas, enhancement requests, feedback, recommendations (collectively, Feedback) or other information provided by the Customer or any other party relating to the Service belong to Demandforce.
- The customer (lawyer using the service) retains all right, title and interest to any and all patient or customer data including consumer review data captured by the … system … subject to Demandforce’s right to use such Customer Data to provide the Service to Customer. (Paragraph 3, Terms & Conditions)
- Demandforce does not own any Customer Data, information or material that you submit to the Service in the course of using the Service. (Paragraph 5, Terms & Conditions)
- For medical professionals – Demandforce is HIPAA compliant
- Personal customer information (information belonging to the lawyers using the service) may be sold by Demandforce. Customers will be asked if they would “like to stop receiving promotional information following any change of control.”
Evaluating Third Party/Cloud-Based Services
Can a lawyer in Oregon use a cloud-based service? Yes – provided the lawyer follows the parameters of Opinion 188. How do you know if a cloud service is appropriate for your confidential client information?
- Review the Security Policy
- Fully investigate the vendor following the guidelines suggested by the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center
- Ask questions: Who is my vendor? How will my data be stored and where? Who can access my data? Who owns the data I upload? What happens if the cloud provider goes out of business? For a great discussion, see Evaluating Cloud-Computing Providers.
- Get client permission. Add a provision to your fee agreement/engagement letter allowing you to send cloud-generated appointment reminders. This is also an opportunity to address communication by unencrypted e-mail, storing client data in the cloud, or use of a client portal.
All Rights Reserved (2013) Beverly Michaelis