Surveillance Cameras an Invasion of Privacy in Healthcare Clinics
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Security cameras in a private clinic can be an important part of a larger security system.
A hospital must remain aware of patients’ sensibilities when installing surveillance cameras in patient rooms. A lawyer or nurse attorney may find grounds for an invasion of privacy lawsuit.
On the surface having a video camera tuned into monitoring activity throughout the medical office seems to be a good idea. This provides additional protection to any area where drugs or patient information may be kept.
On the other hand, you need to carefully consider not only if it is legal to have cameras in patient rooms but the possible downsides, such as using the surveillance footage to gain access to a computer network with private information on patients and personnel.
Benefits of surveillance cameras
When a patient goes to a doctor’s office, a clinic, or a hospital they want to be assured that they are going to a safe place. Patients want an environment where the physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals can focus on their health needs and are not distracted with other issues.
Installing surveillance systems using cameras, bells, and other technology can provide a sense of security for the patient once they enter the building. Seeing a camera tucked into the corner of the hallway right above or near the elevator or stairway sends the message that the hallway is being watched. Administrators have a better idea of who is coming and going at all times.
Watching the hallway or waiting room at a clinic can be very beneficial to a patient for many reasons. For example, if a patient collapses in a hallway on the way to their appointment or if someone passes out while sitting in a chair in the waiting room.
Healthcare facilities may want video doorbells at certain rooms or sensitive areas of the facility. Motion detection at night when the hospital pharmacy is closed, for example, could make sense.
Many healthcare establishments have floodlight cameras and color night vision in parking lots, especially in high crime areas.
This extra effort at surveillance can be lifesaving.
Other areas of a clinic that are important to supervise with cameras are file rooms and storage areas. It might also be important to place a camera on areas of the clinic where doctors and nurses handle the preparation of treatments and the disbursement of drugs and medicines.
Patient files contain a great deal of private information that a person acting for illegal reasons might obtain and steal credit card information or other information. Placing a camera in the storage area for medical supplies, medical equipment, and especially drugs is wise especially in a drug-conscious society.
Risks of surveillance
Video surveillance of public areas within clinics and hospitals is usually acceptable and welcomed by patients who use these facilities. Many people though consider a security camera system an invasion of privacy if they only later become aware of the camera system.
It is good practice to have the patient sign a consent form to make them aware that some areas are being watched.
In most cases, HIPAA laws prevent specialized areas from having cameras. Patient changing rooms, examination rooms, or even operating rooms are off-limits. If an unauthorized person accesses these areas, this can lead to an invasion of privacy claim and the services of medical malpractice lawyers.
If the system for surveillance is connected with other communication and data systems within the facility there is also the chance of a computer hacker gaining access to the system.
If this happens, all the patient data and information could be compromised.
Has your privacy been compromised in a medical facility?
In general practice, the installation of security surveillance cameras in medical clinics is a good idea, and it provides protection for the patients, healthcare professionals, and other personnel who use the clinic. The risks for such surveillance can increase if the cameras are placed in locations that invade patient privacy, and these placements should be closely monitored.
At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., our senior partner, Eileen Kroll is also a registered nurse. She is very experienced in all types of medical negligence cases, birth injury medical malpractice cases, and similar legal issues.
Her background and training in nursing makes her effective at risk management in health care facilities also.
As a nurse attorney, Eileen advocates for her clients, ensuring they get the compensation and justice they are entitled to. Whether it is a personal injury case, medical malpractice negligence lawsuit, workers’ compensation claim, social security appeal, or invasion of privacy in a medical setting, Eileen and our legal team will fight for your rights.
At the Law Offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., we are experienced in identifying abnormalities and inconsistencies in surveillance systems so if you have a question or concern, especially if you feel your privacy has been compromised, contact our law firm at www.cochranlaw.com or call 866-MICH-LAW for a free consultation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.