Confidential healthcare records are incredibly sensitive documents in data terms. That’s why they are increasingly being targeted by thieves and hackers. In fact, according to the Information Commissioner’s Office, in one year there were more data breaches in the healthcare sector than any other. Medical identity theft is increasingly becoming a problem in the UK – personal details can be used to fake prescriptions and acquire medication that can be sold illegally, for example. That’s why methods to secure and dispose of confidential healthcare records have become so important.
The GDPR sets most of the standards for sensitive data handling today and introduces new, much more stringent, requirements with respect to the storing and disposal of confidential data such as healthcare records. It’s crucial for any organisation handling healthcare records, whether public or private, to have a sound understanding of the requirements involved, from only retaining records that are necessary to ensuring disposal is secure. Many healthcare records today are in paper form and that has made secure shredding a necessity in order to ensure compliant disposal of these highly confidential documents.
Using shredding to dispose of confidential healthcare records securely
The key to safe and secure disposal of documents such as healthcare records is to ensure that they are completely destroyed during the process. This will remove any opportunity for thieves to access parts of documents that may still provide data that can be illegally used. For most organisations this will mean working with a shredding partner on the basis of regular, scheduled disposal to ensure that records don’t build up in volume and that confidential data is not unnecessarily being retained in a way that could create risk. The key documents to target for shredding include:
- Documents relating to the business itself. These may not contain patient data but projections, reports, staff rotas etc can still reveal a wealth of sensitive data if they are not properly disposed of.
- Patient information. Any document that contains data relating to a patient must be considered sensitive and disposed of as soon as it is no longer necessary. This will usually consist of records held on patients as well as notes that are made after each interaction or appointment. This information is usually highly confidential and patients are likely to feel significant breach of trust if it is not treated with care.
- Test results. Any documents that contain test results should be carefully handled when it comes to the disposal process. This includes documents relating to x-rays as well as the x-ray films themselves. X-rays contain information that could be used to identify a patient and are increasingly being retained for longer periods of time, which means they also fall within the category of sensitive healthcare documents that need to be securely disposed of when the time comes.
Keeping healthcare records confidential forms the basis of trust between healthcare organisations and patients. To preserve this, it’s essential that these documents are securely held and comprehensively disposed of when necessary.
Get in touch with Shred on Site today by giving us a call on 0800 181 4106 to discuss your requirements or alternatively you can request an online quote here.