A healthcare facility may lawfully install surveillance cameras on the premises in areas deemed open to the public; it is the facility’s legal right to do so. The most trusted people to view these tapes are authorized individuals. This is important to prevent unauthorized viewing of tapes containing personal health information.
Why Do Hospitals Have Cameras In Patient Rooms?
An opinion piece published in the New York Times asserts that using video cameras in hospitals helps identify at-risk patients and helps them take proper steps for safety and sanitary administration. However, the use of these cameras may compromise patient privacy, thus, strict compliance and safeguarding are necessary to correctly implement these measures.
Inpatient rooms will usually have a pair of infrared night-vision cameras so that monitoring clinicians can check if patients are awake. These videos are stored with typically a 30-day retention period, but this is a bit of an overestimation due to accumulated expenses.
The HICPA requires the protection of the confidentiality of protected health information (PHI), and video cameras may be an invasion if they aren’t placed strategically or are found in an incorrect location. HIPAA violations may result from failing to secure data or encrypt data properly. The most common violations in the hospital include:
- Hacking due to insufficient encryption and security
- Loss or theft of electrical or electronic devices
- Lack of employee training
- Gossiping/sharing PHI of patients among coworkers
- Employee dishonesty
- Improper disposal of records
- Unauthorized release of information
- Disclosure of the third party
A HIPAA violation would also include not conducting an organization-wide risk analysis to identify risks for the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information (PHI); signing contracts constituting a business-associate agreement complying with HHS regulations.