You can’t have eyes on your practice every moment, but you do have the technology at your disposal to make sure it’s covered 24/7: video surveillance.
In fact, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), one of the most important things you can do to protect your practice is to install security cameras. Think of it as ensuring your security and that of your patients, aiding in loss prevention, protection against legal action, protection of patient data, and deterring burglary, break-ins, and other criminal activity, and even as part of an access-control policy.
“In the event you do have a physical security breach at your business,” notes the organization, “you’ll have so much more information to give police if you install a camera system. It’s easier for police and lawyers to work with clear footage of a crime in action than piecing together evidence left at the scene.”
Adding Layers of Protection
But the benefits go deeper than that.
“Outdoor cameras are generally geared to security and liability concerns, like trip-and-fall accidents. Some of our clients even tell us that having outdoor cameras gives them a break on insurance costs,” says Jon Northway, co-founder and Senior Technology Consultant at Integrity Systems & Solutions. “When you place cameras inside your practice, you’re creating a valuable layer of transparency. It offers a level of accountability that puts everyone—doctors, managers, staff, and patients—on a level playing field.”
Should a dispute ever take place, he says, having cameras offers clarity, giving you definitive answers to any issue, as opposed to having a “he said, she said” scenario.
Surveillance Dos and Don’ts
If you’re considering adding a video surveillance system to your practice, there are several things to consider.
First and foremost is privacy.
“Most states have strict laws against eavesdropping or recording conversations, so we recommend that audio be disabled, but we would always tell clients to defer to their attorney if there’s ever any question,” Northway says. “Our guidance, in this case, is about maintaining patient privacy. It’s also a PHI issue that falls under HIPAA.”
Another rule of thumb is not to place cameras in clinical treatment areas.
“It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but it is another privacy concern,” he adds. “You might, for example, inadvertently record a computer screen image, which may violate a patient’s privacy. Essentially, you don’t want to create another data stream that you need to manage.”
In terms of camera placement, the systems typically cover doors and, in the Northeast, where slip-and-falls are common during bad weather, parking lots. For the interior, think of walls and ceilings for areas with high traffic and that are out of view. That placement also often includes automated floodlights that can deter potential criminals and help staff who enter early in the morning or leave late in the evening.
In keeping with the theme of transparency, have signage that lets both patients and staff know that they’re on camera. “There’s no need to hide it—in fact, you’re better off making it as visible as possible,” says Northway. “It sends a message about accountability and about protecting your practice.”
Delivering More Peace of Mind
As far as protecting your practice, Integrity Protect, a new video surveillance system from Integrity—an addition to its suite of security solutions—will soon debut.
“Our goal is to offer a high-quality, comprehensive system, from the licensed electricians that install it and professional-quality, high-definition cameras we use to the complete orientation our customers' experience,” says Northway. “We’ll provide a high-quality, customizable, turnkey system featuring a user interface that focuses on ease of use.”