AUDIO AND VIDEO IN DOCTOR'S OFFICE
An article in my local newspaper piqued my interest. Audio in doctor's offices. It's not the doctor installing the recording devices but the patients asking permission to record the visit or doing it surreptitiously. It seems like many doctors object to patients recording the visit and find themselves stifled in giving treatment and healthcare advice when they know they are being recorded. I can see how a recording may give a doctor pause asking "isn't it time for another oxycodone script" [we've had quite the scandal here with doctors arrested for peddling oxycodone] but as a patient I think it's strange that a doctor would not welcome his advice being recorded. The article emphasized the doctor's fear of litigation, which I suspect is plausible, but recorded advice should only help the doctor defend against a claim, it shouldn't support the claim.
I have had clients ask if they could record a consultation with me. I've never objected and while I may have been more careful with my advice, that's how it should be anyway.
So what does this have to do with you as an alarm company? Some doctors do request installation of video and audio recording devices in their offices. Thirty nine states are "one party consent" states that permit audio interception and recording as long as one participant consents. Eleven states require all parties to consent. The lone exception to the rule is Hawaii which is generally a "one party consent" state but requires that all parties consent if the recording device is installed in a private place. You can check your state law here: https://www.kirschenbaumesq.com/page/alarm-law-issues.
I think a good argument can be made for encouraging doctors to install video and recording devices throughout their office. Treatment rooms where patients are unclothed would need devices that are both carefully placed as well as obvious. Why? Because despite signs prohibiting recording most patients will be able to discreetly record both video and audio without asking for permission and without the doctor being aware of the recording. I think it's better that the doctor know the visit is being recorded, by the doctor. It would also prevent altered patient recordings that may be used to create liability when none exists.
How does a doctor get a patient to consent to video and audio recording? With a consent form, though arguably in a one party consent state the doctor has the right to record audio and video as long as privacy is maintained. When's the last time you visited a doctor's office and didn't have to sign a bunch of forms consenting to all kinds of HIPAA issues. Well here's one more consent. As the security professional it's not your responsibility to ensure proper use of installed equipment, though you can't install equipment in areas where installation is clearly illegal. If you are providing central station video or audio data storage then you [or your designated central station] will have to comply with HIPAA requirements which come down to policies on maintaining privacy. Misuse the data and expect a lawsuit. If you are either monitoring or storing this kind of data and in doubt about whether you need to be HIPAA compliant or want to become HIPAA compliant then contact our Health Care Department for the necessary written policies. Contact Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq at 516 747 6700 x 302 or Jennifer@KirschenbaumEsq.com.
Installing audio and video recording devices in a doctor's office should free up the extra staff that typically come in and out of the room. I don't think alarm company sales people think about it much, but I know that I rarely meet with a client in my office without having another lawyer or paralegal present. Never know when you'll need someone other than yourself to explain what transpired in that meeting.
On the down side, wasn't it Nixon who wanted the oval office audio system and then seemingly forgot, or just didn't care, that it was recording all of his conversations?