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Does doctor’s office need intrusion alarm
April 27, 2021
Does doctor’s office need intrusion alarm
           I was at the doctor’s office the other day and while I was in the waiting room I noticed numerous open file cabinets with patient files behind the receptionist desk.
          We have all gone to the doctor or a lab for testing from time to time and we are all required to fill out certain paperwork for either the doctor or the lab which contains our personal information Social Security number etc. I know that most of these are converted to electronica files but it appears that most doctors still maintain the paper records.
          Are doctors and health facilities required to protect our records and information physically by having a burglar alarm installed in their office?  If they don’t have an alarm system and the office is burglarized and patient records are taken does the doctor or facility bear any liability?
          Your insight would be most helpful to me and I’m sure to the security industry as a whole.
Signed Anonymous
          Health care professionals have an absolute responsibility to protect patient information and data.  Any loss of such information or data would raise at least two questions:  1) did the health care provider take reasonable measures to protect the patient records, and 2) what damage was suffered by the patients as a result of the breach of the duty to properly maintain and protect the records. 
          There are health care facilities that do have some alarms regulated by governmental AHJs.  For example, certain health care treatment facilities have fire alarm requirements, though any occupant of the premises may have the same requirements. 
          The general rule is that health care providers [whether health care facilities or providers] must take reasonable measures to protect the confidentiality of patient records.  What constitutes reasonable measures is not defined and undoubtedly depends on various circumstances involving the risk of loss.  A country doctor may have less concern than an inner city doctor who routinely prescribes pain relief medication. 
          I think it’s safe to suggest that prudence requires certain protocols be implemented; door locks; file cabinet locks; an intrusion system; cameras. 
          Of course health care professionals are not the only professionals and businesses that receive and store confidential information of others.  Alarm companies have lots of this kind of information, not just about customer data but customer’s alarm system data.  Breaking into a doctor’s office would be some much easier if the intruder had the alarm codes to turn off the system. 
          As an alarm professional you are on solid ground suggesting to health care providers that it would be a violation of their responsibility to safeguard patience records if they didn’t install an intrusion alarm and cameras. 
          Make sure they sign a Commercial All in One to protect your butt.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301