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Medical Records Destruction: What You Should Be Aware Of?

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August 19, 2017
medical records

Many companies are likely aware of the importance of keeping personal and identifying information of customers and employees safe. One of the most targeted practices who need to be on the lookout for hacks in their system is the medical health field. As a result, medical records destruction is one of the most critical types of data destruction.

Healthcare systems are often targeted because these fields deal with identifying information on an everyday basis. Large numbers of people hand over their social security numbers, addresses, telephone number, insurance policy numbers, and more. This information must be kept secure at all times. But what about old medical records? How should old files, consisting of patients who haven’t visited the health care provider in years be treated?

Standard guidelines hold that old medical records for adults should be kept for a minimum of 7-10 years from the date that the patient was last seen. Records for patients 17years and younger should be kept around 28 years from the patient's birth, or until they reach the age of 25. After this time, medical records must be disposed of securely and confidentially. One option is to permanently de-identify patients with personal health information from all records. This process, however, is timely and inefficient. The best way to securely and efficiently destroy old medical records is to destroy the data. A data destruction company will physically destroy all data that is stored on old hard drives of electronic devices.

Healthcare systems can opt to have all old electronic devices picked up by a data destruction company where the devices will then be securely transported to an offsite location and be physically destroyed. Data destruction companies also offer secure drop off locations if that is easier as well. If you are in the healthcare field and have old medical records, the best way to get rid of them is to destroy the data through a data destruction company physically.

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