Nursing homes and other long term healthcare facilities are often tasked with providing around-the-clock care to patients who can no longer properly care for themselves. The vulnerability of patients creates a number of issues and liabilities that are unique to these types of facilities. Video surveillance in healthcare facilities one proposed solution to help in a few areas; reducing incidents of abuse or neglect, allowing staff to better monitor patients 24 hours a day and recording accidents or incidents of misbehavior by both patients and staff.
While video cameras certainly offer a lot of benefits, their use is also controversial. And depending on how and where the cameras are used, they can actually do more harm than good. Below we’ll outline some more of the pros, cons, and legalities of video surveillance in healthcare facilities.
The Pros of Video Technology in Healthcare Facilities
Abuse and neglect are the biggest concerns of family members who have to place their loved one in a long term healthcare facility. If an incident occurs, video can provide clarity and solid proof of wrongdoing. In some cases, it may work against a facility, but in other cases, it could actually relieve them of blame. Some family members of patients advocate for video surveillance in patient rooms so that they can check in on their loved one and ensure they are being treated well when they can’t be there in person.
The Cons (and Legal Implications) of Video Surveillance
There are a mix of opinions regarding video cameras in places where people live and work. While there is no expectation of privacy in a public place, that does not include places of residence or workplaces. Healthcare facilities typically fall into both of these categories, and both patients and employees have a legal right to a certain amount of privacy, which can be easily violated with the implementation of video surveillance systems. Healthcare facilities also have the added liability of specific laws governing patient privacy. Cameras can violate HIPAA guidelines as “visual information” falls under the category of a patient’s medical information, and expose the facility to additional legal ramifications.
Some facilities attempt to get around legal issues by having patients sign a consent to be recorded. However, that in and of itself can create legal problems. Some patients may not be legally considered competent to consent, and there is also the chance that a camera could capture a resident who has not consented to be recorded which could be grounds for an invasion of privacy lawsuit.
One of the biggest drawbacks of video surveillance in healthcare facilities is not brought up as often – the possibility of a data breach. Most video systems are wireless and are easily compromised. Not only does this open the patient up to serious invasion of privacy risks, but the entire facility network could be compromised as well.
Video surveillance is indeed a viable way to reduce some of the exposures that healthcare facilities face, but it’s not the only way. Ensuring the facility has the proper healthcare facilities insurance programs in place to cover a variety of common and unique risks is the best way to reduce exposures and keep patients, employees and the facility safe.
About Highland Risk Services
At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois and Phoenix, Arizona, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.