As a doctor or lawyer, you are a trusted resource for your patients or clients. They trust your expert medical treatment or legal advice. Along with that trust comes the responsibility of protecting your clients’ privacy. In legal terms, this is referred to as “attorney-client privilege.” In the medical world, patient privacy is regulated under the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Both require following best practices during the disposal of information, whether it be for clients or patients. Here’s how to dispose of legal and medical records the right way:
Secure, Reliable Privacy Protection
Secure disposal of medical and legal records begins by establishing an easy and reliable method for destroying patient and client information. Many healthcare facilities and legal practices shred documents in-house with shredding machines. But doing so can drain your productivity and put your patients’ and clients’ privacy at risk.
Office shredders are notoriously slow and unreliable. Only a few sheets of paper can be fed through the shredder each time, and paper jams are common. Paper clips, rubber bands, staples, and even sticky notes must be removed from files before shredding. After the laborious process of shredding, your shredded documents are bagged up and tossed in a dumpster. This is a huge privacy risk. Dumpster-diving thieves can easily steal a bag—or 10—of shredded material and make it their business to reconstruct patient and client information.
A shredding and destruction provider eliminates the time-consuming, frustrating and insecure office shredding process and ensures your patients’ and clients’ information is truly destroyed beyond recognition. Secure collection containers are placed in your office or healthcare facility, enabling files to be disposed of without having to remove staples, paper clips and rubber bands. On a scheduled or as-needed basis, a screened and uniformed shredding technician arrives at your facility, scans a barcode on your container, and records its fill level. The container is emptied and either shredded on-site with a mobile shred truck or is securely transported to a shredding plant for off-site destruction.
Medical and Legal Compliance
Disposing of records the right way also helps your practice avoid severe HIPAA non-compliance fines and legal censure. With a professional shredding service, you get verifiable document destruction with an audit trail. A Certificate of Destruction is issued each time your records are destroyed. It verifies the time, date, and method of destruction and serves as documented proof of your practice’s compliance with state and federal privacy laws.
Disposing of medical and legal records the right way helps you maintain the trust of your patients and clients and leaves you more time for the things that matter most.
Records Management Center offers shredding and destruction services for businesses throughout Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, and Aiken, SC and the Central Savannah River Area. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.