Across the country, federal legislation known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has been implemented to provide data privacy regulations about medical information, also known also as protected health information (PHI). HIPAA outlines all compliant processes and possible penalties for those that do not comply with the guidelines outlined in HIPAA. With that said, this is an imperative law that all healthcare and medical practices must consider and follow for their own security and reputation.
HIPAA has strict regulations in place for the disposal of PHI; outlined specifically are records that are considered PHI, how long they need to be securely stored, and in what method they should be destroyed once records have reached the end of their life-cycle.
What Exactly is PHI?
Protected health information regulated by HIPAA refers to a variety of medical documents that include private, patient information. PHI documents might include any of the below details:
- Phone / Fax Numbers
- Medical Record Numbers
- Email Addresses
- Social Security Numbers
- Certificate / License Numbers
- Full Face & Comparable Photos
How Long Should You Store Documents Before Turning to Shredding Services?
Most states have individual laws pertaining to the storage of their PHI so it is highly advisable that you confirm what yours entails in relation to where you reside.
In Ohio, document retention time can vary considerably based on the type of document. Specifically, the duration for which PHI should be stored securely can range from 1 to 7 years. Understanding the law and what it entails is simply vital in ensuring your practice remains compliant and protected; no business owner wants to deal with financial consequences as a result of non-compliance.
Safe Disposal of PHI
As the website for the US Department of Health & Human Services explains, PHI in the form of paper must be disposed of according to “proper” means. Proper means includes, burning, pulverizing, pulping, and ideally and most preferable, shredding, so that records are left “unreadable, indecipherable and otherwise cannot be reconstructed”.
InfoStore is HIPAA Compliant
As a NAID AAA Certified Service, our document shredding approach follows strict procedures and is entirely reflective of HIPAA’s legislation, meaning your medical office won’t have to worry or question whether it may be falling short of legal requirements. Our team of qualified and knowledgeable professionals will collect and shred your sensitive files in a timely manner on a regular basis if preferred for consistency and peace of mind. Feel free to watch the entire process take place in person for additional reassurance!
If you require reputable and reliable document shredding solutions for your medical office, we provide onsite document shredding services you can count on! Stay compliant and enjoy the organization and productiveness that comes with a clutter-free office!
Reach out to InfoStore for all of your document shredding requirements! Medical offices need disposal solutions that are reliable and secure to keep assets, employees, and staff fully protected from the risks associated with information exposure.
It’s easy, fast, and cost-effective. Get in touch with us today to get your shredding program in place right away.