The Importance of Proper Document Disposal to Prevent Healthcare Data
If your business handles healthcare documents, you have a great responsibility to handle those documents with care. Health information is some of the most sensitive information there is, so it is critical that documents are stored and disposed of properly.
Healthcare Documents Contain Highly Sensitive Information
There are a few categories of information that are more sensitive than that contained in healthcare documents. Health information is highly personal and can be used against an individual if it ends up in the wrong hands.
Documenting health information is crucial for hospitals, insurance companies, and other healthcare-related companies, but keeping the information safe and protected is critical.
Improper Handling of Documents Causes Healthcare Data Breaches
While most patients trust that companies with their healthcare records will keep them confidential, breaches are more common than you may think. According to new research, 19 million health records were compromised in the first half of 2022 alone. Loss, theft, and improper disposal are a few common reasons for data breaches.
While computer hacking is the most common cause of healthcare data breaches, loss of documents is also a vulnerability. Failure to keep a proper inventory of records can open up your records to being lost, and patients may never know where their sensitive information ended up.
In any organization that handles healthcare records, protocols should be in place to ensure that only authorized personnel have access to records. In addition, employees who do have access to records are required to go through privacy training to ensure they are properly handling the documents.
Without proper protocols and training, documents are vulnerable to theft, which accounts for a small percentage of healthcare data breaches every year. While every business aims to hire trustworthy employees, that doesn’t negate the need for security protocols.
Improper disposal also leaves records open to being uncovered by the wrong person. Unfortunately, some companies do not take the proper steps to shred and recycle. Improper disposal can happen in a number of ways.
The most common way is a lack of employee training. If employees have access to healthcare records and do not know what to dispose of and how to dispose of it, it leaves a huge gap in company healthcare compliance.
Simply throwing away healthcare documents means that sensitive healthcare information is open to discovery by anyone who later comes in contact with the documents.
Rules and Regulations Require Healthcare Confidentiality
Under Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidance from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, personal health information records must be disposed of by shredding or otherwise destroying records so that the information is undecipherable and cannot be reconstructed.
Trust SEAM for Healthcare Records Disposal
At SEAM, we have years of experience disposing of healthcare records properly in compliance with federal and state laws. Whether your business needs to dispose of a large volume of documents or set up a regular disposal service in North Dakota or South Dakota, we have it covered. Give us a call today to get started.