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How to Properly Shred Medical Documents

Hospitals and medical offices in Thousand Oaks must gather a certain amount of information from patients, much of which includes sensitive data. They also have an obligation to protect the data. This means they must take measures to ensure the proper disposal of these documents, also referred to as protected health information (PHI). One of the best ways to ensure this happens is by using professional paper shredding services. However, there are a few things medical offices need to know before shredding their sensitive medical records. Let’s go over some of the details.

Remaining HIPPA Compliant

HIPPA privacy regulations require medical information remain secure up to and throughout the disposal process. This means medical offices in Thousand Oaks must go further than simply shredding the material themselves. They need to work with paper shredding services to provide the most reliable and secure data destruction possible. These professionals make it a point to remain HIPAA compliant, so medical institutions know they’re operating within legal regulations.

Paper shredding services can provide a number of options, all of which are in compliance with HIPAA. These include:

  • Off-site shredding, which means documents are shredded at a data destruction facility.
  • Mobile shredding, in which documents are shredded on location.

Medical offices should speak to a reputable data destruction company in Thousand Oaks to determine which paper shredding services are best for them.

When Should Records Be Destroyed?

The security surrounding medical records are a little different than other documents. They involve document retention laws, which are regulated by HIPPA. These laws require medical records to be kept for six years before being destroyed. To be more specific, six years from the initial time of creation.

Aside from HIPPA, there are also state laws in place. However, when these state retention laws require medical documents to be kept for less than six years, HIPAA supersedes them. If a state retention law requires the documents be kept for over six years, then it supersedes HIPAA. Regardless of which law is in force, once the retention time has been reached, paper shredding services need to be used to dispose of the documents properly.

Types of Medical Records to Destroy

 Before a medical office in Thousand Oaks takes advantage of paper shredding services, they must understand what information HIPPA requires to be destroyed. These documents will need to be destroyed well enough to ensure they’re completely indecipherable and unable to be put back together.

Offices should ensure any documents containing names, dates, phone numbers, email addresses, social security numbers, financial information or any other type of personal data must be shredded. To play it safe, hospitals and offices should use paper shredding services for any document that has reached the retention date.

Protect Medical Information with Paper Shredding Services 

Medical institutions collect a considerable amount of personal information from clients. This means they must take extra precautions to ensure this information doesn’t get into the wrong hands. One of the best ways to do this is by using professional paper shredding services that are HIPAA compliant.

Confidential Data Destruction helps organizations in Thousand Oaks with expert data destruction. Contact us today at (888) 826-2332 to learn more.