Clinic Doors and HIPAA Compliance
The recent electronic breech of Anthem records placed considerable focus on HIPAA compliance as it relates to technology and the security of medical records stored on servers or in the cloud. But architects and designers face physical concerns when it comes to HIPAA compliance in the buildings they design.
HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, was signed in 1996 to ensure patient confidentiality. Most architects and designers understand the need for HIPAA compliance by healthcare facilities, but the next step – how to achieve HIPAA compliance in an existing building or in new construction – isn’t always clear. The act states that “reasonable effort” must be made for patient confidentiality in the design of a building.
Architects know this reasonable effort must be married with aesthetic appeal and also space efficiency. Let’s look at a few ways sliding clinic doors address all of these issues at once, with a clean, space-saving design that fits any architectural style, and provide the privacy necessary for HIPAA compliance.
Officefront Doors Provide Privacy in Wide Open Entryways
Many medical facilities boast a large, welcoming entryway that is part of the lobby and waiting room. This can be problematic, however, if medical problems are discussed at the welcome desk for booking appointments or picking up prescriptions.
Separating the reception desk (or even reception desks) from the waiting area with clear, sliding glass doors can help provide the acoustical barrier necessary for HIPAA compliance. Our AD Systemsbarn doors can be used in this application to provide acoustic dampening by addressing perimeter gaps that are normally a challenge in sliding doors.
Sliding Doors Create Privacy and Acoustic Barriers with a Space-Saving Design
It might be tempting to use curtains between patient bays in a large clinic, but this doesn’t address privacy concerns completely. Designers and architects can employ acoustic ceiling tiles, white noise generators or other masking technologies, and acoustical construction techniques such as special drywall construction to reduce sound transmission, or put enough room between patients to ensure HIPAA compliance.
Balancing the need to provide comfortable spaces with efficient use of space can be very challenging.
Since sliding doors require so much less floor space than swinging doors, healthcare facilities designers can often add more exam rooms when sliding doors are used or maximize the usable space within small rooms for cabinets, fixtures and furnishings.
Sliding Doors for Offices Provide a Variety of Aesthetically Pleasing Options
Doctors sometimes meet with patients in a consultation room or an office, separate from the exam room. It’s likely this is also where the doctor completes necessary healthcare forms on a computer, so privacy is paramount.
The doors can even include biometric entry, keycard locks, or other secure measures to ensure patient privacy and to ensure the physical security of the computer inside the office. Certainly, this may be going above and beyond HIPAA compliance, but it can provide peace-of-mind to the doctors, staff, and the patients.
Using sliding clinic doors can give the physician’s office a rich, distinctive look, or help it blend in with the other exam rooms, depending on the overall style and design of the space. AD Systems clinic doors are available in a variety of materials, with a broad range of hardware styles to match the look of any healthcare facility.