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The importance of soundproofing for patient confidentiality

Problems caused by poor acoustics in healthcare

Health services – including not just hospitals but also doctors’ clinics, dental surgeries, pharmacies, allied health services, naturopaths, chiropractors and many other services – must protect the privacy of their patients’ personal information, including their medical records.

To do this, these health services must have rooms where their clients feel safe to discuss their physical and mental concerns. If a patient feels unsafe, they will not share their full medical history – and their care may suffer as a result.

So how do health industry facilities ensure the privacy of patient information?

How a lack of privacy affects the patient experience

A real-world anecdote illustrates the importance of soundproofing in medical centres. An Avenue team member’s parents recently visited their GP, and when the husband went in first, the wife waited outside the doctor’s office. She was appalled to discover she could hear nearly all of her husband’s conversation with the doctor!

The ease with which the husband’s conversation could be heard in the waiting room was a terrible breach of privacy for him. It also gave the wife doubts about sharing any of her personal information with the doctor, in case strangers in the waiting room heard her private conversation.

Health service providers have a general ethical and legal duty to protect the privacy of their patient’s personal information, including their medical records. Providing a safe space to share information is the underpinning of the therapeutic relationship.

If a patient doesn’t feel safe because they know their conversation can be overheard, they may not share all information about their medical condition – which can lead to misdiagnosis.

Poor acoustics can cause other issues for healthcare professionals. If there is too much reverberation (noise bouncing off hard surfaces such as desks and walls) in the assessment room, then the doctor may mishear their patient’s words. The fact that 80% of all conversations between patient and doctor are either face-to-face or via the telephone underscores the need for soundproofing.


Acoustic solutions for health service providers

As a commercial acoustic provider,  Avenue Interior Systems are experts at retrofitting a space to make it acoustically sound.

Products we may recommend include:

Many Avenue Interior Systems acoustic products are also microbial resistant, making them a clinically safe solution to noise challenges in the medical industry.

Talk to Avenue about healthcare soundproofing solutions

Avenue Interior Systems will work with an AcousTech engineer to properly assess and design your space to achieve the best possible results for your workspace.

For more information about protecting your patients’ privacy, call Avenue Interior Systems on 1300 827 177.