Is Your Office HIPAA Compliant? Understanding Patient Privacy and Video Surveillance Systems in Phoenix

August 1, 2017 10:34 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Everyone has the right to privacy, and not just when we are in our own homes. For example, you want privacy when you’re in the dressing room at a clothing store, changing in the locker room or getting undressed in a doctor’s exam room. These spaces and others are considered common sense private areas, and there are laws in place to protect you from the presence of recording cameras.

For this reason, businesses with surveillance camera installations —ranging from small retail shops to medical services—need to be aware of where they can and cannot install video cameras, even if they own the property. Sure, many business owners install security cameras to keep their property and assets safe and to monitor employee productivity, and updated software makes this easy to do. Because of possible legal consequences, it’s best to check on the laws before aiming a camera anywhere in your building. And as we will discuss below, if you own a medical practice, you should know about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

To ensure the privacy of patients—and, in many cases, employees—it’s important that office video surveillance systems in Phoenix are in compliance with HIPAA. Is your office HIPAA compliant? Read on to learn more.

  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): HIPAA sets rules on doctors to protect the privacy of their patients during office visits, as well as their medical information. It provides data and personal privacy to patients. HIPAA also applies to office video surveillance and a patient’s privacy.
  • Concerns about patient and employee privacy: The United States has clear standards regulating patient privacy written into HIPAA. A part of HIPAA that is often missed by offices is that there are not only guidelines as to where you can place surveillance cameras, but also rules regarding how the data is collected, stored and reviewed. Cameras are not permitted in doctor exam rooms, restrooms and many types of waiting areas. Furthermore, it’s not just patients who have a right to privacy. Employees are afforded privacy in certain areas of their workplace—such as in or near restrooms, locker rooms and some types of lounge areas. Avoid installing surveillance technology in these areas.
  • Privacy and care home patients: It’s not unusual for family members of patients in hospitals, nursing facilities and care homes to want video surveillance in their loved one’s room to monitor activity or ensure their safety. However, a camera in a patient’s private room is a violation of HIPAA, especially when it records picture and audio without their consent.
  • Benefits of office security cameras: The use of video surveillance inside and outside a doctor’s office is beneficial to staff and patient safety and property security. But you must adhere to HIPAA regulations to be sure you are not intruding on your patients’ privacy. While cameras are great tools to protect your practice against allegations and crime, take the time to properly place them.

If your office could use an updated security solution, don’t hesitate to contact Southwest System Monitoring, Inc. to learn more about our exceptional surveillance systems in Phoenix. Call us today to schedule a consultation!

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