If your company stores medical records, it is important to understand the laws governing how long you need to hold onto those records.
Read on to find out how long you should wait before shredding old medical records. You’ll also find out which tools are best to achieve that.
The Importance of Medical Record Storage Shredding
The industry is filled with long terms such as protected health information (PHI) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Simply put, PHI is information that should be handled with utmost care. Hospitals and medical practices are required to comply with HIPAA in order to protect the privacy of their clients. This involves periodically shredding old medical records with professional-grade machinery to ensure they are no longer retrievable.
Medical records storage times differ from record to record. Some medical records have a different required period of retention.
Medical records should be shredded periodically to prevent breaches that can lead to identity theft. In general terms, the more sensitive information a medical record includes, the shortest its retention time should be.
Different states require different retention times for medical records, but all of them require you to maintain the records for at least several years. This includes both digital and physical records. While digital records are as easy to destroy as pressing a button, physical records require a thorough shredding process to ensure criminals cannot reconstruct and use them.
When is it OK to Start Shredding?
So, when you should start considering shredding up physical medical records? Well, the answer depends on which state you are practicing.
Different states have different medical record laws.
Medical records storage goes hand in hand with patient rights to secrecy and privacy. These laws define who is authorized to access this sensitive data and when it is OK to destroy it. Many states require seven or more years to pass since discharge before shredding can occur.
It is important to research the laws of your state before deciding what to do with your medical records.
On the other hand of the spectrum, several types of medical records have only a minimum retention time. This means that you can safely keep them stored for as long as you like, assuming you can protect your records from breaches.
Finally, you can team up with a third party provider to formulate a record retention program. Such a program can help your company keep track of all records and forward them for shredding when their time is due. Depending on your operations a record retention program might help improve your company’s efficiency and minimize the risk of breaches.
Looking for the Best Data Destruction Equipment?
If you are looking for a method to destroy old medical records reliably and safely, then look no further than Datastroyer, a leader in the data destruction industry since 1945.
Choose from a selection of some of the finest shredders and disintegrators available in the market today and trust in the experience of more than seventy years to guide you to the right data destruction solution for your business.