Artificial intelligence (AI)

Establishing HIPAA compliance in video surveillance for healthcare settings

Hospitals are turning to video technology to enhance patient care and safety with the rising demand for healthcare services and the ongoing battle against staffing shortages. However, hospitals looking to expand their video technology must ensure their surveillance systems are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).

Being HIPAA compliant helps protect patient privacy and safeguard sensitive health information. This is non-negotiable in the digital age. With the increasing adoption of healthcare video analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) technology, it’s more crucial than ever to strike the right balance between leveraging technology and maintaining HIPAA compliance.

This article explores how they can establish a HIPAA-compliant video surveillance system for the healthcare facility.

HIPAA compliance in video surveillance

Video analytics in healthcare systems must be set up in a way that saves patient privacy at every turn

HIPAA extends beyond paperwork and digital records — its regulations include video surveillance and electronically protected health information (ePHI) in healthcare settings. While HIPAA does not specifically address video surveillance, its requirements for privacy and security of PHI affect how it should be implemented. This means anything that could identify a patient, whether their name, medical history or face in a video, falls under HIPAA’s watchful gaze.

Now, when they’re thinking about bolstering the hospital’s video technology, ensuring that the video surveillance systems play by HIPAA’s rules is essential. This involves verifying that the cameras, recording devices and any healthcare video analytics tools they might use are all HIPAA-compliant. Video analytics in healthcare systems must be set up in a way that protects patient privacy at every turn. Some ways include encrypting recorded footage, restricting access to authorised personnel or blurring out identifying features.

HIPAA requirements in video surveillance

The following practices help ensure video technology usage complies with HIPAA’s overarching goals:

  • Limiting PHI exposure: Place video surveillance in a way that reduces the possibility of collecting PHI unless necessary for a specific, justifiable purpose. Some settings to avoid include places where PHI is likely to be accessible or discussed, such as treatment areas or screen displays.
  • Access control: Access to video material should be managed and limited to authorised personnel only. This aligns with HIPAA’s mandate to create technical policies and procedures restricting ePHI access to authorised individuals.
  • Encryption and security: Video data should be encrypted in transit and at rest, mainly if it could capture PHI. Encryption keys should protect against unauthorised access, tampering and loss.
  • Data retention and disposal: Set up policies for video footage retention and disposal. This security measure ensures it’s kept no longer than necessary and disposed of securely to prevent unauthorised access to PHI.
  • Breach notification: If a breach occurs, then facilities must reference the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule. This rule requires they to notify affected individuals, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and, in some cases, the media.
  • Training and policies: Staff should be trained on proper video surveillance system usage. Additionally, they should set up policies regarding using, accessing and monitoring video surveillance to protect PHI.
  • Physical safeguards: Camera placement and the physical security of the video surveillance system should be considered to prevent unauthorised viewing or tampering.

Eight best practices for adopting video analytics

Beyond the foundational HIPAA considerations, there are additional best practices to consider. With these concerns in mind, hospital administrators can improve compliance, protect patient privacy and use video surveillance technology effectively and ethically.

  1. Vendor Agreements: If a third-party provider offers or manages the video surveillance system, a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) is required. This agreement assures that the vendor follows HIPAA requirements for protecting and handling PHI.
  2. Regular Audits and Assessments: Conduct security risk assessments and audits of the system to identify vulnerabilities and assess compliance with HIPAA regulations. These audits should include reviewing who has accessed video data, and ensuring access controls function as intended. It should also involve verifying that physical and technical safeguards are adequate.
  3. Incident Response Plan: Develop and implement an incident response plan. Ensure the response plan includes procedures for responding to security incidents that may affect the confidentiality, integrity or availability of video data containing ePHI. This plan should also outline steps for mitigating risks, documenting incidents and reporting breaches in compliance with HIPAA requirements.
  4. Notice of Privacy Practices: Ensure the Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) reflects the potential for video recording in areas where patients are treated or where PHI may be disclosed. Patients should be informed about how their information — including video recordings — may be used. Patients should also be aware of their rights regarding those recordings.
  5. Consent and Signage: In some cases, it may be necessary or required to acquire explicit consent from patients or to display signage informing them of video surveillance. This depends on state regulations and the specific contexts in which video surveillance is used in healthcare facilities.
  6. State Laws and Regulations: Be aware of and comply with state-specific laws and regulations regarding video surveillance in healthcare settings. Some states may have more stringent requirements than HIPAA regarding patient consent, the use of video recordings or privacy protections.
  7. Integration With Other Security Measures: Ensure that video surveillance is integrated into the broader security and privacy framework. This approach includes aligning video surveillance practices with other physical and technical safeguards to protect PHI. These safeguards have secure communication channels, data encryption, and access control systems.
  8. Training and Awareness: Provide ongoing training and awareness programs for staff about the proper usage of video surveillance systems. These trainings can include the importance of protecting patient privacy, and the legal requirements surrounding PHI.

AI and HIPAA compliance in healthcare

These AI solutions help streamline guard operations and allow them to respond quickly to incidents

Technology continuously evolves and they’ve seen increasing usage of artificial intelligence (AI). But how is AI used in healthcare? How is it used for video surveillance in healthcare settings? Imagine having a virtual assistant that constantly watches over the video footage, analysing it in real-time to flag any potential HIPAA violations. That’s where AI-driven analytics come in. These algorithms can automatically detect and redact sensitive information from the surveillance footage. This helps ensure that only authorised personnel can access it. But AI doesn’t stop there.

With AI-powered remote monitoring solutions, they can monitor the surveillance cameras anywhere, anytime, from the device. These AI solutions help streamline surveillance operations and allow them to respond quickly to incidents or security breaches. See AI as giving the healthcare facility’s security system a high-tech upgrade that can help automate compliance tasks, improve data security and streamline surveillance operations.

Enhance HIPAA compliance with AI and security technology

Healthcare facilities can comply with HIPAA requirements with video analytics and AI-driven solutions while streamlining their surveillance operations. If they’re considering upgrading the facility’s video technology, partner with BCD. They offer innovative security solutions tailored to the unique needs of healthcare facilities. The solutions boast features like NDAA compliance, cyber-hardened hardware and validated integration with top VMS and analytics solutions.

By exploring and adopting BCD’s solutions, hospital admins can enhance patient care, improve operational efficiency and build a safer, smarter healthcare environment.

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