Why You Can’t Afford to Be Careless about Document Shredding in a Medical Office
Healthcare professionals have an incredibly important job. Helping patients improve and maintain their health, comforting them through illness, and creating a safe and trusted environment to discuss health related issues is no easy feat.
Unfortunately, the critical responsibilities assigned to healthcare professionals don’t begin and end with patient interactions, diagnosis, and treatment. Private practices, hospital facilities, and healthcare businesses of every stripe are required to protect every patient’s sensitive, confidential information.
This means not only securing medical records and protected health information (PHI) during use, but properly disposing of this data at the appropriate time, according to consumer privacy laws, state laws specifically related to medical records retention and destruction, and of course, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). If you work in healthcare or a related field, there are several reasons why your North Dakota business can’t afford to be careless when it comes to document shredding.
Protecting Patient Confidentiality
First and foremost, you have a legal and ethical obligation to protect confidential patient information. In addition to the normal consumer privacy concerns, including information that could be used for identity theft in general (name, birthdate, SSN, financial account numbers, etc.), you deal with a lot of highly personal medical information that patients likely don’t want others to see, and that could potentially be used in ways that negatively impact patients.
For example, if information about patient pregnancy or the onset of serious illness were to leak, the information could impact the individuals personal and professional relationships. In other words, it is extremely important to keep this information secure, whether you’re storing it or disposing of it. Proper shredding ensures that PHI doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Complying with Applicable Laws
Those who work in healthcare professions have a much higher bar for compliance when it comes to data security and destruction, not only because of the highly sensitive nature of medial records, but because of additional rules and regulations. Although healthcare professionals must comply with consumer privacy laws at the federal, state, and local levels, just like every other business, there are also state laws regarding the handling of medical information specifically, and industry-related mandates like HIPAA that impose stringent standards.
Suppose confidential medical information is accidentally tossed in the trash or is shredded inadequately. This opens the door to theft that could compromise patient privacy, and this impacts both patients and healthcare providers. Behaving in a careless manner could lead to government penalties and lawsuits, and even put medical licenses and certifications in jeopardy.
As a busy healthcare practitioner or administrator, you may not have time to focus on the many complexities of shredding medical records, not to mention keeping up with changing legislation, but it has to be done. This is where a reliable shredding service can help. When you partner with a certified ITAD service provider that offers the height of security and complies with all applicable laws (including HIPAA) on your behalf, you can minimize the strain on your workplace and improve productivity and patient care.
If you’re looking for a reputable North Dakota shredding partner, contact the qualified team at SEAM today at 605-274-7326 or online to request a quote and learn more.