HIPAA Retention Requirements Explained

Best Practices for creating a comprehensive healthcare data retention plan

With the introduction of HIPAA compliance it is mandatory to properly retain and protect the personal health data of an individual. Before you start protecting the data you should know which protection strategy is perfect and which types of data might possibly need to be preserved. Usually the data related to electronic health records, Picture Archiving and Communications System (PAC) data, and e-mail messages containing health information needs to be stored.  There are many forms of data that need to be preserved, depending on the nature of the healthcare organization.

HIPAA Retention Requirements Explained

Seek counsel

After you know which data needs to be stored and protect, next step is to determine your retention obligations for each data type. While it may at first appear that the retention conditions should be made perfectly clear within the context of the HIPAA Regulations, the concept of your data retention obligations is often more complicated. In addition to the HIPAA provisions, new mandates for the preservation of data are placed on states and localities. Moreover, these mandates also vary based the patient, if he is an adult of an infant.

Remember that retention is only half the battle

When you create retention strategies, it is important to note that retention is only one aspect of overall data lifecycle management. Another essential element of lifecycle management is the purge of data that the enterprise is no longer needed to maintain. Although “forever” data retention may be commonplace, this data may also be used against the company in the event of misconduct. You may also need data for any legal perspective and that is why it is important to store data beyond its retention period.

Failure to retain the data

If any organization fail to retain the necessary data and did not produce data on demand then that healthcare organization can be subjected to heavy penalty. That is why it is essential for organizations to establish a robust data retention plan.

Automate data retention whenever possible

Security measures can be used to prevent users from illegally storing data, but security alone may not guarantee compliance with retention policies.  As the workers cannot rely on the proper preservation of data that is why it is important to develop and enforce effective retention policies to comply with HIPAA data retention guidelines.

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