We trust that our medical professionals and institutions use discretion with our health information. Doctor/patient confidentiality is an important part of feeling comfortable with an inquiry, testing, and results. Part of feeling secure and open is knowing that your information will not be shared with any unauthorized personnel.
If you think about it, HIPAA laws were put in place fairly recently, and the reasoning for them is important to understand. All medical offices need to know HIPAA requirements for the destruction of paper records to operate lawfully and safely for their patients.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted in 1996. Its purpose was to secure patient information through administrative, physical, and technical security measures. These national standards ensure that patient information is only disclosed to those who have consent to access it. It helps protect individuals whose circumstances have changed regarding health care coverage.
HIPAA has a privacy rule that prohibits medical offices from sharing patient health information in any format without authorization. HIPAA laws require the retention of medical records for a minimum of six years from their last used date. Individual states may have their own laws about the length of which facilities must keep medical records, but if it is shorter than six years, the office must revert to HIPAA’s retention period.
HIPAA Record Destruction
There are many ways in which medical records are destroyed, and the destruction method often depends on the document’s format type. If the information is digital, it is overwritten with a program or degaussing machine. However, to meet HIPAA requirements for the destruction of paper records, a cross-cut heavy-duty shredder machinesneed to be used to render the paperwork useless. Capital Shredder offers several machine options to help meet HIPAA shredding requirements.
There are, of course, other ways to destroy paper medical records. However, you should start by shredding the documents to ensure nothing is lost before burning, recycling, or being turned into pulp. HIPPA laws are important to comply with, as they could mean major issues and legal ramifications if data is lost, misplaced, or divulged to unauthorized persons.