2 Surefire Ways to Protect Patients from Medical Identity Theft

Safeguarding patient health information has never been more important. Medical record theft is on the rise across the globe and health care records now fetch more on the black market than stolen credit card data. Beyond the financial cost to its victims, medical identity theft can also result in serious and long-lasting emotional damage. Here are two ways your health care organization can protect patient privacy in the age of medical identity theft:

1. Follow a Records Retention Policy

A records retention policy protects patient privacy by ensuring confidential medical information isn’t retained longer than the law requires. It also allows for the organization, systematic review and final disposition of active and archival medical records.

A records storage provider facilitates sound retention practices by offering information management expertise and money-saving offsite storage. Your paper-based charts, X-rays, and non-clinical documentation are professionally indexed, barcoded and transferred for storage to a records centre equipped with the following security systems:

  • 24-hour security surveillance
  • Controlled card key access
  • Advanced alarm monitoring systems

Screened and bonded records management professionals handle all file administration and retrieval for you. Whether you’re a hospital or private care facility, your patient files are accessible upon request anytime during their retention period.

2. Ensure Secure Destruction of Patient Health Information

When patient health information has reached the end of its retention period, your health care facility must have a secure destruction solution in place for it. To protect patient privacy, both paper files and electronic media containing personal health information need to be destroyed with a verifiable process that ensures a secure chain of custody. A NAID AAA Certified medical and pharmaceutical document destruction service ensures both by offering:

  • Screened information destruction technicians
  • GPS-tracked mobile destruction vehicles
  • Audited shredding processes

Locked shredding consoles are placed in your health care facility, enabling medical records to be discarded discreetly, promptly and securely. Whole files can be dropped into these shredding consoles without the hassle of removing staples, paper clips and sticky notes. Your containers stay securely locked until they are collected for destruction, ensuring the privacy protection for your patients.

In addition to shredding your paper patient charts, on a scheduled or as-needed basis, your shredding and destruction partner can also destroy any non-paper items containing personal health, such as:

  • Hard drives
  • Computer media
  • Labeled pharmaceutical products

Whether hard copy documents or non-paper media, each time your patient health information is destroyed a certificate of destruction noting the date, time and method of destruction is issued, providing you with proof of compliance with provincial and federal privacy protection laws.

In a world where medical identity theft and fraud is on the rise, healthcare organizations must go the extra mile to protect patient privacy. These two methods offer your practice an effective privacy protection strategy to do just that so you can do what you do best—help your patients.

Shred Guard provides NAID AAA Certified shredding and destruction services for businesses throughout Atlantic Canada. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.


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