The Importance of HIPAA-Compliant Shredding

The Importance of HIPAA-Compliant Shredding
  • Opening Intro -

    Whether you own a commercial business or run an official organization, there are many laws and guidelines you have to follow.

    The reason for this is that neglect by the aforementioned entities can have very negative results.

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One of the most important guidelines to follow is HIPAA, a federal law that has been in place for nearly 25 years. To ensure you’re using the right data handling and disposal practices, we’ll break down the importance of HIPAA-compliant shredding.

HIPAA, PHI, and Hefty Fines

HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. In short, HIPAA requires entities such as health care providers, health care clearinghouses, and any additional business associates to practice proper handling and disposal of patient information.

Whether the PHI (protected health information) is physical or digital, companies and organizations around the country must comply with HIPAA. If you mishandle PHI in a way that leads to a data breach, you run the risk of having to pay hefty fines and endure lawsuits.

Reputation and Responsibility

In order to be one of the top competitors in your industry, you must maintain a good reputation through proper work ethic. Plus, as an entity dealing with PHI, you have a moral responsibility—not just a legal responsibility—to keep that information safe. Suffice it to say, there’s no upside to ignoring HIPAA.

The importance of HIPPA-compliant shredding, aside from avoiding legal issues, comes down to the responsibility of keeping personal information safe. For example, when companies avoid using a reliable paper shredding service to dispose of documents and instead choose to throw them in the nearest garbage bin, that data is at risk of abuse. Unfortunately, PHI abuse includes identity theft and insurance fraud, so it’s a very serious issue.

Research Your Requirements

Do thorough research in the terminology and standards within HIPAA’s guidelines because, as you can see, even a simple slip-up can have dire results. Reading through federal laws might not be the most exciting thing you do that day, but it’ll be one of the most crucial. Doing your research is a relatively easy step when you realize how far of a reach HIPAA compliancy has.

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There’s an extensive list of documents that medical facilities, commercial businesses, and government agencies must thoroughly dispose of to ensure they cannot be maliciously abused. Without the right amount of care, employee and client information alike can swiftly be taken advantage of. By planning ahead and handling PHI responsibly, you’re doing a huge part in making sure data abuse doesn’t occur under your roof.

Finding a HIPAA-Compliant Shredder

Hopefully, you’re by now figuring out who to use for HIPAA-compliant shredding. Always do thorough background checks on any shredding service you’re planning to hire. Government entities need to look for GSA-approved services, but other companies and organizations should look for NAID AAA certification. If you’re doing business with a NAID AAA-certified shredder, you’re working with a company that displays the right amount of care and professionalism your PHI disposal requires.

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Image Credit: importance of hippa compliant shredding by twenty20.com

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