manage medical records destruction logs

Medical records destruction logs help to organize destruction and retention tracking for records.

Helping to get things down on paper and made official, the goal of a destruction log is to keep a permanent record that documents all past records that have been labeled inactive and shredded. The more detail you include in the logs, the better off you’ll be.

To learn more about what a medical record destruction log should include and how they can help with medical record best practices, watch the video or read the transcript below.

Video Transcript

Information to Include In Your Destruction Log

Organizations like AHIMA and the HIMSS recommend keeping medical records destruction logs permanently and documenting a range of information every time a record is destroyed, including:

  • Names
  • Description of the record’s general contents
  • Media type
  • Time of destruction (e.g. Was it during normal work hours?)
  • Date and method of destruction
  • General patient information
  • Inclusive dates covered
  • Witness names and signatures

What Separates Medical Records Destruction from Normal Document Shredding?

Hospitals, physicians, and other members of the healthcare industry produce waste that’s unique to healthcare, being protecting health information (PHI).

Ranging from payment and insurance information to patient diagnoses, PHI protection and destruction is tightly regulated by HIPAA and if records are lost or stolen it will being swift and large financial penalties. Common types of PHI include:

  • Medical records destruction logNames (full or last and first initial
  • Local geographical identifiers
  • Dates related to the individual (year excluded)
  • Social Security numbers
  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Insurance and payment information

How Keeping a Destruction Log Helps

A common roadblock in medical records management is how to handle record retention and stay within the lines of HIPAA and state standards.

To help tackle the issue of managing record retention, one of the greatest advantages of a medical records destruction log is how it can provide a single, organized place to track records retention and destruction—in turn simplifying your medical records management as a whole.

State & HIPAA-Compliant Medical Record Destruction

A medical records destruction log provides a permanent record of what files you had, how long, and when they were destroyed, which in the event of any legal action you can provide as evidence of compliance with HIPAA and state record retention standards.

Then, once you need to destroy medical records after reaching the end of their life cycle, the certificate of destruction provided by the shredder will outline security details ranging from witnesses to shredding times and dates—only further reinforcing your wall of protection from data breaches and other legal liabilities.

Options for Destroying Medical Records

Although there isn’t an all-encompassing standard for medical records retention, one thing HIPAA and all state laws share is the need for medical records to be securely destroyed.

There are typically two main methods used for destroying medical records and preventing a potential data breach—mobile or off site shredding. Although they each have unique benefits, one valuable thing they have in common is how a certificate of destruction is always provided after the materials are destroyed.

Mobile Shredding With mobile, a shredding truck comes to your location and shreds your medical records at your curbside. Providers only handle locked containers and never come into contact with the records you shred, and besides personally witnessing it you get a formal certificate of destruction after, ensuring PHI was securely destroyed.
San Diego Shredding ServicesOff Site Shredding With off site, a truck will still come to your location, but the records are picked up and taken to an off-site shredding facility instead. Ideal for larger purge projects, off site shredding is a good way to destroy records in bulk. PHI is stored in locked containers during transport and you’ll still receive a certificate of destruction after.

Have Medical Records with Expired Retention Times?

Shred Nations has helped countless medical providers with their medical records destruction through our network of secure shredding partners. To get started yourself, fill out our form, give us a call at (800) 747-3365, or contact us directly through our Live Chat for a free, no-obligation quote from providers in your area.