Keep your Tampa medical facility HIPAA compliant with a document shredding service
HIPAA compliance is a federally mandated standard relating to the deletion and destruction of outdated patient information in health organizations across the US. Tampa hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices are all bound by the rules of HIPAA compliance. But what exactly is it, and what does it entail?
In 1996 Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). One of the ironclad provisions of this legislation is the proper destruction of documents that contain sensitive patient information. The law was enacted to protect patients from the developing threat of identity theft, which has certainly proliferated in the quarter-century since the law was passed.
HIPAA compliance requires health organizations to take all the necessary “administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect the privacy” of their health data. This includes more than paperwork or hard documentation — the law encompasses any medium for sensitive data whatsoever, which realistically can include almost anything besides desk chairs and scalpels (and even those we’d double-check).
All medical institutions are required to comply with HIPAA standards. They also have the option to obtain official certificates confirming their compliance, which are very handy to have for the peace of mind of both a medical business’s patients and lawyers.
Under the provisions of the 1996 act, medical businesses are required to destroy outdated patient data that includes any of the following information:
- Social security numbers. If you see a nine-number sequence on outdated patient information, it’s probably guaranteed shredder fodder. Social security numbers are particularly sought after by identity thieves more than any other single piece of information.
- Name, address, and contact information. Although it’s fairly easy to get anybody’s home address and contact information, HIPAA compliance still requires medical businesses to destroy old data with names, addresses, and phone numbers.
- Birthdates and other identifiers. Identity thieves use any supplemental identifying information they can find in their craft, including birthdates or any other unique data regarding patients.
- Imaging, photographs, and x-rays. Thieves can even use photos, x-rays, or other images from healthy patients so they can pass them off as their own to get better health insurance.
- Electronically stored information. Hard drives, digital media storage, or any other cyber devices with privileged information need to be destroyed for HIPAA compliance. The media must be completely degaussed or thoroughly destroyed by a shredding service.
- Voice mail messages. Even old telephone messages must be vacated according to HIPAA standards — doctors and their staffs need to be fluent with the “delete” key on their phone.
- Prescription labels and bottles. Medication bottles typically have labels with a wealth of the information data thieves need to be someone else. Make sure none remain in your medical office.
ShredQuick is fully familiar with all the ins and outs of what it takes to keep a Tampa medical clinic in line with federal regulations. Contact us to find out what we can do to keep your organization HIPAA compliant.
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