Disposing of Your Patient Records the Right Way

Jun 20, 2020

As a North Dakota healthcare provider, your biggest concern is the health of your patients, but you also have to consider the security of the sensitive patient information you collect and store.  In this day and age, most healthcare providers are working toward updating to EMR (electronic medical record) software, but this leaves you with a potential problem.

How do you properly dispose of paper records on hard copy?  For that matter, what are the guidelines for disposing of digital data, should the need arise?  Healthcare providers not only have to comply with federal, state, and local privacy laws, but they have to operate in keeping with stringent standards set forth in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  Here are a few tips to ensure that you dispose of patient records the right way, regardless of format.

Create Suitable Policies and Procedures

The first thing you need to do is create policies and procedures for your healthcare practice that put patient privacy first.  This means accounting for both internal and external threats.  If you’re still using hard copies of patient records, they should be stored in a secure location, and when you’re ready to dispose of them, they should be deposited in locking bins, where no one can access them before they are shredded.

EMRs should be accessible by authorized personnel only, and when it’s time to dispose of IT assets that house confidential patient information, these devices should be stored in a secure location until they are destroyed.  Further, you should set policies for data destruction that include a swift destruction process, reducing the potential for theft.

Partner with a Certified ITAD Service Provider

Providing adequate care to patients may leave you with little extra time to keep up with changing rules and regulations, much less enact them.  The good news is, you don’t need to deal with menial tasks like shredding when you partner with a certified ITAD service provider that can manage your concerns for you.

For starters, shredding documents requires specific equipment, and there are even specifications related to acceptable size of paper shreds.  The right ITAD service provider will supply industrial shredding equipment and stay abreast of laws in order to ensure that you’re always in compliance.

Even better, a mobile service will shred documents and hard drives on-site while you watch, or transport them to a secure facility for destruction and recycling.  In the meantime, you’ll be supplied with locking bins for your office, so you can safely collect and store paper records and IT assets designated for destruction.

You can always track jobs 24/7 via client portal, and once your job is complete, you’ll receive a Certificate of Destruction and Recycling as proof for your records.  In other words, a certified ITAD service provider not only manages collection, shredding, and compliance on your behalf, but provides you with peace of mind.

If you need help disposing of medical records in keeping with all applicable laws and industry regulations, contact the experts at SEAM today at 605-274-7326 (SEAM) or online to learn more and request a quote.

SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.