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
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"
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.
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.
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
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
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.
USG Press Release
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.