How to Properly Shred Medical Documents

Confidential document being shredded in a paper shredderDocument destruction is important for every company, but documents in the medical field are protected very heavily, and patient confidentiality is a right of every patient. Medical companies and healthcare providers must take the utmost care to ensure that breaches of sensitive patient information does not happen. Medical records contain everything from medical history to financial reports, contact information to medical plans. It is not only a legal requirement for medical companies to keep this information secret, but it is also an ethical requirement to give patients a guarantee of privacy. In addition, HIPAA violations can open up medical doctors to lawsuits and loss of licensing. For secure document destruction services in the San Diego area, medical providers need look no further than Southern California Shredding for both mobile shredding and drop-off services.

How Do Breaches of Information Happen?

Document control is vital in ensuring that breaches of information do not happen, but improper control can lead to disastrous leaks. The following reasons can lead to leaks of information and should be avoided at all costs.

  • Improper Document Access: If the wrong people have access to documents that they should not be able to access, they may not know which document can be taken and how they can be used. Documents should be seen by the absolute fewest persons possible to ensure that only those who need to know something can know it. This is not because some people are untrustworthy, it is simply a method of prevention that can save headaches in the future.
  • Lack of Knowledge: If the personnel of a medical facility are not properly trained in document control procedures, it can easily lead to negligent usage of data. Employees can accidentally speak about sensitive data in the wrong place where patients can hear, or documents can be left in places that they can be stolen.
  • Improper Disposal: This is probably the least obvious and simultaneously the most dangerous point where data can be breached. If old documents are not properly destroyed, they can easily be found by people scavenging through disposal containers. Especially in urban centers like San Diego, document scavenging can be a pervasive problem.

Proper Document Control and Document Destruction

The steps that can be taken to control document flow and destruction are simple but vitally important. The first thing that medical providers should endeavor to do is to restrict document access. If only the proper people see information, they can be trained how to handle that information. Secondly, all personnel should be fully trained to ensure that proper document handling is followed. Everyone should know what to do with documents that are found out of place. Finally, companies should enact a “shred all” policy. Everything that is no longer needed is shredded. This will ensure that information is always caught before it can be released. In addition, a proper document destruction service should be sought out to ensure that the actual process is provided by qualified and certified personnel. In the San Diego area, the premier provider of this service is Southern California Shredding that offers both drop-off and mobile shredding services to everyone in a secure and affordable environment.

For more information on safe document destruction, give us a call at our office in the San Diego area.