The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires physicians to keep patients’ medical records in a safe, secure location. HIPPA does not give clear guidance or details in regards to what type of place those records are allowed to be stored. There have been reports of healthcare providers storing patients’ records in self-storage units and this comes with a big risk that could jeopardize the patient’s personal information. Here are four reasons why medical records shouldn’t be stored in self-storage units.
Self-storage units generally do not have the high-levels of security needed to protect patient records from unauthorized individuals. Self-storage units are compacted together and may only have a padlock to prevent burglars from accessing the files and using them for fraud, blackmail or other criminal activity. Self-storage units are known targets for burglars.
Risk to the Elements
Storage units do not typically have safety measures that will protect the contents from fire, floods or natural disasters. Additionally, if the storage area is in a moisture prone environment records can be damaged and subject to mold and mildew from the poor insulation. Storage units may have fire suppression systems but that then leaves patient records open to water or chemical damage if the fire systems are activated.
Most storage units have cameras that are meant to monitor the premises, not individual self-storage units. Criminals tend to target storage units just for that reason, randomly breaking into units to see what contents they might pilfer. Most self-storage facilities have a clause in their contract acknowledging they are not liable for stolen, missing items.
Storage units are usually an open area with four walls and possible ceiling. There are no racks or shelves that records can be placed on top of. Storing records on top of each other in boxes on the floor crushes the boxes. There’s the added burden of moving those heavy, stacked boxes around to get to the one with the records you need to access.Keeping medical records and private information safe is imperative. Partnering with a company like Crown Records Management gives organizations peace of mind that their vital information is securely stored and easily accessible when needed. Crown utilizes the latest in protection protocols, ensuring data and records are safe-guarded from natural disasters, theft, vandalism and other potential threats.