Inova Fairfax Hospital, Inova Health System’s flagship hospital, is an 833-bed, nationally recognized regional medical center serving the Washington, D.C. metro area. The hospital is consistently ranked among the top healthcare providers in the United States.
Inova recognized the need to provide oral privacy under HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.) They were also very aware of the importance that privacy had on their patients’ satisfaction. They contacted Lencore for assistance in bringing the space up to an accepted oral (speech) privacy standard, so they could demonstrate that they had provided a “reasonable safeguard” to protect their patients’ PHI (personal health information.)
After the initial meeting with the hospital, it was determined that Lencore could install inverted masking units in the Emergency Reception and Triage areas to significantly increase speech privacy and reduce the risk of disclosing PHI. The hospital, exercising due diligence, had two other masking manufacturers provide quotations for their products as well. Each of the other manufacturers were “central” systems and their quotations required the hospital to purchase between 5000 and 10,000 square feet of coverage, while Lencore’s “decentralized” solution enabled Inova to focus specifically on the affected area.
In order to meet stringent requirements by JCAHO and a rapid reinspection deadline, Lencore installed, tuned and tested the system in a day and a half, and provided the hospital with written documentation about the system and its installation. Lencore was able to show that these areas (now masked) fell within ASTM standards and met adequate AI (articulation index) measurements for speech privacy
Upon re-inspection by JCAHO, with Lencore sound masking being the ONLY change to these areas, the hospital passed for compliance with HIPAA.
Inova takes privacy mandates seriously, so when during an inspection by JCAHO, it was determined that the Emergency Reception and Triage areas were deemed to be in violation of HIPAA oral privacy standards, the hospital moved quickly to remedy the situation.
If you are building, retrofitting or managing a healthcare facility where protecting patient health information is a concern, sound masking can be the best solution to meet your HIPAA oral privacy requirements — and the most cost-effective safeguard you can include. In addition, speech privacy is considered by many patients and doctors to be critical to patient satisfaction.