HIPPA regulations require medical records to be kept secure. Actually, this must be done for a preordained amount of time. Let’s say this time period has expired.
Thus, the records must be disposed of in accordance with strict regulations. Maybe, you have sensitive records you need to dispose of. In that case, here are some helpful guidelines.
Medical Records and Document Shredding
As mentioned, there are guidelines for shredding medical records. Also, they apply to related document destruction procedures. Both are governed by HIPPA regulations in conjunction with state laws.
In regards to Florida document shredding there are certain regulations. Thus, physicians must keep records for at least five years. This begins at the point of patient contact.
Conversely, medical malpractice law mandates differently. It states that these records be kept for at least 7 years. However, HIPPA requires at least 6 years. Additionally, HIPPA regulations have a mandate.
In reality, it applies to employees and volunteers working in medical facilities. They must be trained in proper disposal protocol. In doing so, it ensures sensitive information is secure. Also, it minimizes the risk of identity theft.
Guidelines for Shredding Medical Records
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines appropriately destroyed medical records. They must be “unreadable, indecipherable, and otherwise unable to be reconstructed.”
As such, there is a proper protocol for medical document shredding. This requires a specific method. It renders the documents in question entirely unreadable and unable to be reconstructed.
This applies to crosscut shredding or outright disintegration. Obviously, this is easy with paper. Yet, what if the records are stored in a digital format?
In that case, the hard drive or USB thumb drive must be entirely destroyed as well. Typical methods for drive destruction include shredding, melting, and incineration.
HIPPA and Crosscut Shredding
Actually, HIPPA lists crosscut shredding in their shredding requirement protocol. Additionally, they mention that it isn’t required if a suitable alternative method is used.
Perhaps, a company hired a mobile document shredding company in the past. Likely, they’re already familiar with this procedure. Most companies that offer mobile shredding have industrial machines.
They prevent any documents from being reconstructed. Perhaps, a company has lots of digital data. If so, they may offer hard drive shredding services. This enables the disposal of all your sensitive info with one fell swoop.
Prior to Disposal
Don’t just dispose of any medical records. Instead, it’s a good idea to contact the individual in question. Ask if they want a copy of the records. Alternatively, find out if they want you to send the information to a new doctor.
Perhaps, you are unable to contact them within the allotted timeframe. In that case, it’s best to destroy the records in accordance with HIPPA regulations.