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Thoughts on installing audio/video in my practice?

August 2, 2012

Question:

Jennifer,

I would like to install cameras and audio recording in my practice for a number of reasons - to watch staff, record patient visits, etc. so that I will not be charged with harassment and other bad things.  Thoughts?

Thanks,
Dr. P

Answer:
 
Dr. P, cameras are allowed anywhere people do not have a legitimate "expectation of privacy", which means that you may install cameras in your waiting room, hallways, offices, etc.  Cameras are not appropriate in restrooms or in exam rooms where a patient may be changing. There are a number of reasons why a practice may want to install cameras, CCTV or video recording devices such as monitoring office staff, tracking patients, reviewing practice efficiency or keeping a general video log of daily activities. Since the standard in NY is "expectation of privacy" installing cameras in hidden locations is also not advisable.
 
Audio recording devices should not be installed in an office because New York is a one party consent state, which means that at least one party must consent to the audio recording. Installing an audio recording device in an office setting would allow the device to pick up conversations between parties that are unaware they are being recorded.  However, because New York is a 1 party consent state, practices are allowed to record phone conversations so long as one side (the practice staff) are aware they are being recorded.  In addition, practices often elect to inform patients they may be recorded on phone calls, just in case...


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