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   For nearly three decade the principals of Lencore Acoustics have been providing speech (oral) privacy through the incorporation and installation of sound masking. We are delighted at the opportunity to share our expertise and experience in this field with the health care industry and are dedicated to educating your HIPAA compliance teams on the options that sound masking affords in obtaining oral privacy.

 

   Under the Privacy Rule, covered entities must limit the amount of protected health information used or disclosed to the minimum necessary in order to carry out an authorized activity or service. Protected Health Information includes individually identifiable health information that is transmitted orally or in written or electronic form. Incidental disclosures that arise out of authorized activities must be limited in nature; and wherever possible, the proper administrative, technical, and physical safeguards must be made to show that reasonable efforts have been made to prevent uses and disclosures not permitted by the Privacy Rule.

 

   Introducing sound masking into a pharmacy area, at medical consultation desks, or throughout a medical facility will provide flexible, direct, and effective coverage and enable corporate entities to achieve their oral privacy goals. For maximum benefits, you should also consider incorporating a quality ceiling tile that features high acoustical properties. USG Corporation can provide you with the highest quality ceiling tile available. Visit www.usg.com for more information on their ceiling products.

 

 

WHAT IS SOUND MASKING AND HOW DOES IT WORK TO PROVIDE ORAL (SPEECH) PRIVACY?


  When we speak, our speech can be measured in decibels and frequencies. Sound masking introduces an unobtrusive ambient background sound into open space and other areas using special speakers installed in the plenum above a suspended ceiling, where they are not seen. The masking unit's electronically generated sound produces the proper sound, in decible and frequency, which covers or masks speech thereby providing speech "oral" privacy.


   The addition of sound masking will enable private conversations to take place at medical consultation areas, pharmacy counters, medical offices, check-in and other areas thus providing oral privacy to the client/consumer.

 

TESTING STANDARDS

 

   As of this writing, there were no Health and Human Services (HHS) guidance standards for oral privacy. However, industry standards do exist and oral privacy can be measured. These standards are defined by ISO, ANSI, and ASTM.

 

PROVEN RESULTS


   Lencore's Spectra® Sound Masking has been independently tested and has been proven to provide both “confidential” and “normal” speech privacy. Using ASTM standard testing procedures, Lencore was evaluated to meet the requirements for oral privacy. The results concluded that speech (oral) privacy was obtained and significantly improved with the addition of Lencore’s sound masking system.


  HHS clarified that the Privacy Rule is not intended to impede customary and necessary health care communications or practices, nor does it require that all risk of incidental use or disclosure be eliminated. To satisfy the standards the covered entity MUST SHOW that they have applied reasonable safeguards and implemented the minimum necessary standard to prohibit certain incidental uses and disclosures from occurring as a byproduct of a use or disclosure otherwise permitted under the Privacy Rule.

  HHS clarified that each covered entity should assess the nature of the protected health information it “holds” and the nature and scope of its business, and implement safeguards that are reasonable for its particular circumstances. The HHS expects that incidental uses and disclosure will occur and permits such uses and disclosure to the extent that the covered entity has in place reasonable safeguards and has applied the minimum necessary standard.


QUOTING & INSTALLATION


   Your sound masking installation can be completed quickly and easily to meet oral privacy objectives.


   Lencore provides documentation upon installation completion that a sound masking system has been installed and tuned properly within the given location.

 

To have your next project quoted, click below to upload your AutoCAD floor plan to our quoting department. A Lencore project manager will follow up with you shortly.

 

 

DESIGNING A COMPREHENSIVE PRIVACY PLAN


   Together with a comprehensive privacy plan, we believe that oral privacy can be achieved and reasonable safeguards can be demonstrated.


   There are several components to a successful and comprehensive oral privacy plan. We suggest training your staff and employees to keep in mind the following when dealing with patients, clients, and speaking to other staff members.

 

1. Talking discreetly and in a lower tone of voice when discussing health care concerns with a client.
2. Placards should be placed visibly to remind staff and clients to speak in a normal voice so that speech privacy is observed.
3. Clients should be advised to keep appropriate physical distance from pharmacy counters, consultation areas and check in desks while waiting in line or for medical staff assistance.
4. Acoustical panels near consultation areas may be an additional option to absorb sound.
5. Incorporate quality ceiling tile with high acoustical properties. Visit www.usg.com for more information.


A FINAL WORD


   The Privacy Rule does not require structural or systems changes such as private rooms or sound proofing. However, it does require that corporate entities make provisions to protect the PHI of their clients/consumers. Bringing your facilities into HIPAA oral privacy compliance may be as easy as installing a Lencore Sound Masking System. Call us today to find out how.


   Lencore is a proud alliance partner of USG Corporation, the nation’s leader in ceiling and interior acoustical systems; and CrossCom National, the retail industry’s leading integrator for comprehensive communications implementation and optimization services.

 

For more information on USG or CrossCom and their alliances

with Lencore, please click the links below.

 

 

 


www.usg.com

View USG Press Release

 

 


www.crosscomnational.com

 

View CrossCom Press Release


Disclaimer:
 

We hope the information we’ve gathered here is helpful to you in understanding HIPAA’s impact on oral privacy requirements. The information is intended to serve only as an introduction and does not contain a full discussion. Lencore encourages you to review in full HIPAA’s requirements with your legal counsel, HIPAA Compliance Team and other professionals when assessing strategies for attaining HIPAA compliance.

We believe that at the conclusion of your HIPAA compliance review, you will determine that Lencore sound masking can be a cost effective component of your HIPAA compliance program. Lencore, however, cannot warrant or guarantee that sound masking or any other application will provide HIPAA compliance and Lencore disclaims any responsibility for non-compliance rulings. The information contained in this website was to the best of Lencore's knowledge current at the time of writing. Please consult the appropriate governmental agencies for the most up to date information. Lencore disclaims responsibility for reliance on any information contained in this web site.

 

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