Medical Document Shredding – What You Need To Know
Medical document shredding can be an expensive and risky venture if mishandled.
In this article, I’m going to give you the real data that shows you how to save money with medical shredding.
With HIPAA HITECH regulations and hospital capacities reaching record highs, security is getting stretched to its limits.
There are 3 important things that I want you to consider when finding a solution for document shredding. Don’t run to a shredding truck company or buy a ton of locked document bins to store documents that have PHI.
- Turning to an outside provider for shred services will cost more due to HITECH regulations.
- Shred services don’t guarantee shredding documents to the required level of security.
- Increased patient capacity has increased patient paperwork causing document overflow.
How To Save Money With Medical Paper Shredding
Shredding medical documents in-house can save you money in outside services while not burdening internal labor costs.
Let’s talk about the savings in outside spend first.
Shredding paper in-house saves companies an average of 20%-40% of the cost for a shredding service in the first year.
What’s worth mentioning is that after the first year, the costs are virtually nonexistent.
Shredders very reliable machines and have a long lifespan so there is a low amount of concern over the machine dying on you anytime soon.
Newer models also save money on energy consumption which is another aspect of the purchase to consider.
As mentioned in the beginning of this section, it is possible to save labor time with the centralized shredding method.
HIPAA Data Destruction Requirements
HIPAA requires that you handle patients personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI) with extreme care.
The last thing that you want is for your hospital to get a reputation of identity theft and data breaches.
We will cover two different media that contain patient information, and how you can maintain the security of patient records.
Required Destruction Of Paper
What is safe document disposal in the eyes of HIPAA?
Anything that renders documents, “unreadable, indecipherable, and otherwise impossible to reconstruct.”
The best way to do this with paper is by using a Level 3 P4 cross-cut paper shredder to turn the paper into the size of very fine confetti.
The typical shredder that spits out long strips of paper is easy to reconstruct, and would not be a safe option for (PII) or (PHI).
Required Destruction Of Computer Hardware Storage
It is also recommended that hardware such as a hard drive or solid-state drive is wiped or purged.
Different methods include software, hard drive crushers, hard drive shredders, and degaussers to magnetically remove all data.
Healthcare Provider Secure Disposal
Shredding paper in-house extinguishes opportunities for actual security breaches.
No matter what security measure you put into play, what actually matters is the rate of success that the procedure produces.
Why do you need an end-to-end solution?
Shred services can allow paper to get backed up in the system.
If you’re experiencing a higher volume or bulk amount of documents that need disposal, the last thing you want to do is have an overflow problem.
If you leave paper sitting out rather than storing it safely, you open yourself up to document theft and legal liability.
DID YOU KNOW:
70% of all document thefts happen internally. By shredding documents at the source, you will reduce your exposure and adhere to compliance.
Medical Document Shredding Solutions
When it comes to in-house shredding, there are 2 systems that are effective in taking proactive security measures.
- Centralized Shredding
Centralized shredding utilizes locked bins for paper storage. The paper is then taken to an industrial shredding machine for destruction. The positive outcome of this approach is that the paper easily converts to recycled material and you can help utilize sanitation workers’ jobs in the hospital.
2. Decentralized Shredding
Decentralized shredding takes care of the shredding at the source. Shredders go in every office that requires a shredder. The positive outcome of this approach is that documents meet the end of their life as soon as they are no longer needed. This method is the best for security.
What Are The Best Shredders For Medical Documents Under HIPAA?
The shredders that are best for meeting HIPAA standards include everything from your standard office shredder to an industrial shredder.
For centralized shredding, you need:
For decentralized shredding, you need: