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Importance Of Records Retention And Destruction
By: Chris Ferrer
In this day and age of security, protection and confidentiality in terms of identity and personal information, it is very important for businesses in the commercial and health care industry to have safe guards to prevent exposure and risk in this area. Records Retention And Destruction should be a well planned and thought out process and procedure.
Many people and patients personal information are generated via standard reports, charts, labels and other documents. These forms of communication must be both stored and destroyed. Storage in itself has taken an entirely new look and process.
For decades companies have printed reams of paper that had protected patient information or private financial records and boxed them up. These boxes were then transported to a storage area within their building, or off site, and kept for seven years or longer. Every week, month and year that goes by, more and more boxes are added. This process continues to the point where they begin looking for more storage.
With the advancement in technology, all of these boxes that contain confidential data and information can now be stored electronically, online. Not only is it more secure in terms of password and username protection, but it also is not subject to natural weather elements or physical theft. Just imagine the cost savings in not having to purchase storage boxes, labels and use up valuable square footage. That space can now be converted to usable space instead of storage.
Scanning and storing your records electronically meets the records retention requirements that are necessary for both financial, clinical and billing protocols. It is considered to be safe and secure. Be sure however that you have the process in written policy form and that your policy addresses what the back-up, or redundant process is in the event of a server crash or technology glitch.
This process has become more popular and less expensive. You can now purchase desk top scanners or even scanners that are the size of a paper cutter. Simply install the software to your computer and follow the instructions and you now have a simplified storage system. The scanners scan the document image and then stores them in online folders for easy viewing and access.
Destruction of records seems very simple. But be warned, this process must be done with special attention to detail and security. Many businesses have shredding boxes that are available to throw confidential paperwork into. These boxes must be locked. They also must only have a one way document insertion slot. In other words, once you place the document into the shredder box, there must not be a way to retrieve it. The only way you can retrieve it is by unlocking it.
In the event you have your maintenance department transport boxes of confidential information from your storage building to an incinerator or dump site, be sure their truck is lockable and secure. The last thing you want to happen is for these boxes or papers to be flying out onto the roadway or for anyone to have the ability to reach in and grab them.