Securing paper medical records; tips for effective storage

Medical records are one of the most crucial pieces of documents. And securing paper medical records can be quite challenging.  As we completely transform the way we keep records by moving towards a digital world, securing paper medical records tend to get neglected. While we admit that every type of medical record is eventually going to move to a cloud-based storage system, we still have a long way to go to completely free ourselves of the paper medical records.

So, keeping paper medical records is still something we have got to deal with. Almost everyone is aware of securing digital records. We tend to lag behind when it comes to securing paper medical records. Every hospital or other healthcare facility has tons of paper medical records.

These records hold a lot of confidential information. If the information gets into the wrong hands, it can get misused and raises concerns about privacy and security for the healthcare facility. And once any institute gets associated with an incident of such gravity, it can be difficult to recover from it.

In this article, we will give you a few handy tips for securing paper medical records.

Protect them from natural hazards

One of the ways in which paper medical records can get damaged is by a natural catastrophe. The most common one includes a fire hazard. Fire can eat all of the paper rendering every piece of file useless. Moreover, any water leakage can be equally damaging.

So, the first thing you have got to look out for is all of such hazards. Make sure the location you pick to keep the physical medical records is safe. It should not be close to any air conditioner or a heating element. The temperature of the facility where the documents are placed should also be maintained. Too much humidity can be damaging for the records as well.  Try to have a separate space for all of the files and avoid keeping them over the desk for long. The records should be placed in proper files to save them in case any natural hazard hits the space.

Install a reliable security system

Just as you would do for the digital records, the same applies to securing paper medical records. Installing a reliable security system is mandatory. Medical information is one of the most crucial forms of personal information. A lot of companies are after it. If the information gets in the wrong hands, the entire medical facility can face severe charges.

To avoid any such incident from happening, get a security system for the facility where documents are secured. Before settling for a security system, take feedback from their security system’s previous customers. Make sure that the security system that you are going to pick is reliable enough. Check if it meets your needs. Once installed, restrict the entry of normal staff. Only get limited trustworthy people to have access to the facility.

Do not store documents longer than they are needed

Every physical medical record comes with an expiry date. The expiry date for physical medical records entails the date till when the medical records can be kept by the healthcare facility as per the legislation or regulations. Keeping medical records longer than that is futile anyway. These records are occupying space and entail a security risk. Why not get rid of them when you can?

Devise a system for getting rid of all of the documents that are no longer required. You can sort the records as per their retention dates so that you can easily discard them. Shred these documents timely and create space for more documents. This way you won’t even have to concern yourself with the security of many of such documents. Also, make sure that a reliable person does this as you don’t want to get the information in the wrong hands.

Summing up

Securing paper medical records can be a tough nut to crack. With the aforementioned points, you can create a safe and secure system for paper medical records. Make sure you follow each of these steps and we are sure you will not need anything else.

Do let us know what works for you in the comments section below. Until then, it is a wrap from us.

Securing paper medical records; tips for effective storage

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