How Acoustics Help Fulfill HIPAA and Privacy Laws

May 30th, 2017
Quiet Please. How Accoustics Help Fulfill HIPAA and Privacy Laws

Quiet, please. Other people can hear us.


“Notice:  To Preserve Confidentiality Please Wait Here for Service”

I am certain that every one of our readers has seen this type of sign.  It is called a “Confidentiality Compliance Sign.”  And most likely, you have read a similar sign while in line at the pharmacy, the doctor’s office, the hospital waiting area, etc.  And even though you may be standing five feet behind the person in front of you, chances are that the sounds of a conversation have traveled and you actually are able to hear their private dialogue.  Did you know that this is potentially considered a breach of privacy law?


Good Acoustics Planning Helps Fulfill HIPAA and Privacy Rules

What is HIPAA and why does privacy matter?  HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, sets the standard for protecting sensitive patient data. Any company that deals with protected health information (PHI) must ensure that all the required physical, network, and process security measures are in place and followed. This includes covered entities (CE), anyone who provides treatment, payment and operations in healthcare, and business associates (BA), anyone with access to patient information and provides support in treatment, payment or operations. Subcontractors, or business associates of business associates, must also be in compliance.

So, how does this change the AV design at the doctor’s, dentist’s, or therapist’s office? Well, they must find ways to prevent any individual conversation from being heard by anyone other than the parties involved. Of course, when dealing with acoustics, this can become tricky.  Sound is like water, in the sense that it will travel through any nook and cranny.

Thankfully, here at AV Bend, we have helped medical clinics and professional offices make the necessary steps to protect the patients’ rights and ensure that conversations are not being heard by others. At times, we have had to install sound blocking material above drop ceilings, walls, as well as the floor and doors.


Both Acoustic Materials and Good AV Design Are Needed

There are two basic categories of materials: acoustical absorption or acoustical diffusors. Within these categories, there are many types of products and looks. With such a wide range of products, it allows for a designer to achieve not only the desired sound but also the desired look. We can cover the walls, ceilings and floors as needed.

AV Bend is more than capable of helping any medical professional office or space with the issue of Protected Health Information. We can keep with the aesthetics of the room and office in order to achieve your desired look. As AV Bend’s Sales Professional, I will investigate the space, measure the sound levels, complete a rough drawing and take measurements of the room. Then, after some follow-up discussion, I will offer you a project quote to achieve the desired look and to effectively decrease eavesdropping.

For a more in-depth resource regarding reasons to address HIPAA and Acoustics concerns, check out Tim Kridel’s InfoComm article titled, “HIPAA and Acoustics:  Maximizing Patient Privacy.”  It’s a powerful read!


Helping you to stop the sound,

Christopher May


Written by: Christopher May, Acoustics and AV System Sales, AV Bend

Edited by: Lauren Breslin, Social Media Coordinator, AV Bend