While I was at the doctor’s office the other day, I was allowed to listen to a conversation between a doctor and another patient. Was I in the room with them? I didn’t have to be. The sound isolation between exam rooms was so poor that I could hear virtually everything that was said.
I pointed this out to my doctor, who is aware of the problem, and she has complained multiple times to the hospital administration about it. Apparently, the issue isn’t on their radar. Will they have to endure a HIPAA speech privacy lawsuit before corrective action is taken?
Proper sound isolation is most effectively incorporated into the original design or tenant fit-out. After a space is occupied, not only does the corrective renovation work cost more, but there is also potential lost work time for the occupants and the inconvenience of co-existing with the construction noise and dust. It seems a wise move to include appropriate sound isolation as an integral part of the original design instead of waiting for tenant complaints…or worse yet, a lawsuit.
At Acoustics By Design, we work with architects and health care professionals to design spaces that provide acoustic privacy and confidentiality for patients. We take HIPAA speech privacy concerns seriously, and urge all health care providers to also.