HIPAA Guidelines for Shredding Medical Documents

The medical community has a legal and ethical responsibility to appropriately manage and destroy patient records to prevent dangerous data breaches. If patient documents go missing or are improperly disposed of, the risk of identity theft is quite high. Fortunately, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule is designed to ensure optimal privacy and safety regarding medical documentation. While computers are used to store digital copies of medical information, paper documents are still used in large quantities. To keep personal patient information safe, HIPAA has created specific requirements for shredding medical documents in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

What HIPAA Protects

The Privacy Rule under HIPAA protects all forms of identifiable health information that is given by or to patients in a given medical facility. This material is called protected health information (PHI) and can be oral, digital, or on paper. Establishments that fail to comply with HIPAA requirements are subject to fines and, in severe cases, imprisonment. Information that is considered PHI includes, but is not limited to:

  • A patient’s name, address, date of birth, Social Security number
  • The medical condition of the patient
  • Details about the type of care the patient received or how they paid for it

HIPAA Compliant Shredding Services

confidential and security-img-blogWith the massive amounts of paperwork generated on a daily basis in a healthcare facility, the task of manually shredding documents can be overwhelming and allows for a large margin of error. To avoid jeopardizing patient information, Cal Micro Recycling offers various data destruction services, including secure paper shredding. Documents are placed in locked cabinets until they are disposed of, all paperwork is cross-shredded onsite, and a certificate of destruction is presented after completion.

Some of the types of establishments in the medical industry that can benefit from professional document shredding are:

  • Dental and medical practices
  • Radiology centers
  • Obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) clinics
  • Emergency facilities

For more information about HIPPA guidelines and professional shredding services through Cal Micro Recycling, please call 909.572.1661.