Knowing What Medical Records to Shred

The healthcare industry depends on adequate document destruction for a number of reasons. When a patient goes to a doctor or a hospital to seek medical care, they have the expectation that their medical records and confidential information will be kept securely. In fact, much of what is central to a well-functioning healthcare system is the doctor-patient confidentiality. Beyond these expectations, however, are a wide range of government regulations that outline specifically what legal obligations healthcare providers have regarding medical records and the destruction of private, personal information.

Unfortunately, there are some issues that have come to light over the last several years that make document destruction in the healthcare industry easier said than done. Budget restraints are the most notable among them. The problem lies in the fact that these healthcare institutions lack the funds that are required to sufficiently protect their patients’ private information. Nevertheless, these healthcare providers must find a way to maintain adequate protection.

According to the HIPPA Privacy Rule, all protected health information (PHI) must be secured from a technical, physical, and administrative perspective. The most vital portions of PHI that must be safeguarded and destroyed include:

  • Labeled prescription bottles
  • Paper medical records
  • Electronic medical media (information that is digitally stored)

Medical professionals are held to a very high standard when it comes to document destruction, and they should be. Medical records are one of the most essential pieces of private information that require the utmost protection.

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