Medical Records Storage During a Move: A Guide for Medical Professionals

Scott McNelley
December 14, 2012 — 1,222 views  
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Professionals in the medical field understand their responsibility to protect patient information. In addition to the extensive fines associated with a privacy breach, as much as $1,500 per incident, there are ethical considerations that clients take very seriously when it comes to medical records storage and the protection of their private information. With identity theft on the rise and highly confidential medical data at stake, any company that handles medical records must have the most stringent security and storage safeguards in place in every aspect of day-to-day operations.

This is especially important during the confusion and disruption that often accompanies a move. With strangers handling the physical move, normal protocols on temporary hold, and records undergoing transfer from one location to another, privacy breaches are all too common during an office move. Patients have found their information compromised and their identities stolen, which is notoriously difficult and costly to repair. These data breaches are well-publicized in the media, resulting in public relations nightmares for healthcare companies.

Choose the Right Office Mover to Handle Medical Records Storage

When moving healthcare-related files, most medical centers, hospitals, doctors' offices, and labs employ a logistically complex strategy that incorporates the services of standard office movers with the services of a medical records storage company. Unfortunately, this method is typically not error-free, as standard office movers lack the expertise needed to properly protect sensitive files, and most records management companies do not have the manpower to complete a full office move.

The only relocation solution that offers a complete, end-to-end, highly secure move for all building contents—including private patient records—is a hybrid version of the two: an elite, best-in-class office mover and medical records storage company. The highly-skilled professionals of such companies are well-versed in the protection of employee data and patient files, and they have completed extensive training in HIPAA requirements. Two of the most critical points include the following:

  • Access to records or documents containing PHI must be controlled at all times, even during relocation.
  • Any entity that handles protected health information, also known as PHI, is responsible for its handling by any third-party vendors.

In short, any breach of confidentiality is the healthcare company's responsibility, making moving confidential documents a difficult and delicate task. Selecting a moving company that also handles medical records storage ensures the expertise necessary to protect patients, employees, stockholders, and boards of directors.

Regulatory Compliance

Unlike standard office movers, those with medical records storage and transport experience understand the regulations that surround PHI. For example, the laws regarding printed material are precise in their requirements for keeping confidential records safe in transit. Only the most highly-skilled office movers have the manpower and training necessary to oversee the proper packaging of documents. They also have the infrastructure in place to ensure that no medical records are ever left unattended and are always in compliance with regulations.

Keeping private information safe during a move cannot be left to a patched together plan that includes multiple vendors with various responsibilities. The only guaranteed way to transport PHI without risk is to entrust it to experts in both the moving and medical records storage industries.

Scott McNelley