Protecting the privacy of patients’ health information and medical records is a major priority for the healthcare industry, not just because of the rising numbers of data breaches, but also because of laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which  impose hefty fines if privacy is not maintained. Because of this, medical offices are looking for strategies and services to help their medical practice recognize what records need shredding, when they should be destroyed, and the benefits to utilizing a professional shredding service like Shred Monkey.

Shredding of Medical Records

What Records Need Destroyed?

According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the HIPAA Privacy Rule requires appropriate safeguards to protect medical records throughout the entire lifespan of the document—including its disposal. Basically, it includes any and all demographic information that could identify the patient in question. The most common of these types of medical records or documents are:

  • Names
  • Social Security Numbers
  • Dates
  • Health Plan Beneficiary Numbers
  • Geographic Identifiers
  • Account Numbers
  • Phone/Fax Numbers
  • Certificate/License Numbers
  • Email Addresses
  • Vehicle Identifiers and Serial Numbers or License Plate Numbers
  • Medical Record Numbers

When Should Medical Records Be Destroyed?

When it comes to medical records shredding, there are mandatory retention laws that require medical records to be kept for a period of time. HIPAA requires medical records to be retained for six years from the date of their creation or their last use—whichever comes later. State laws generally also have document retention stipulations; however, if the State Law and HIPAA don’t match, the longer retention period must be honored. Either way, once a medical record’s retention period is up and the document no longer has a purpose, it should be securely shredded so as not to increase the likelihood of accidental disclosure or a data breach.

Our Process

Considering the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s requirement for the security of medical record disposal, one of the best destruction strategies is a medical records shredding service. At Shred Monkey, our mobile document shredding service will come to your business, pick up your documents, and transport them to our secure facility for shredding. Taking advantage of our to-your-door mobile shredding services eliminates any potential risk involved with shredding documents internally. To get a free estimate, contact us at (317) 916-1800 today. We proudly serve Indianapolis and the surrounding areas.