How To Store Medical Records & Retention Times


When it comes to medical record retention times it’s important to research all the different guidelines for record retention and follow the agencies that require you to retain the documents for the longest period of time. While HIPAA requires health organizations to retain records for 6 years from the fate of creation or the date the record was last in effect, some state agencies may
require records to be held for a longer period of time. In order to stay in accordance with the
state agency you must retain the record for the allotted time, even if it is longer than HIPAA mandates.

A good resource for retention guidelines is the AHIMA’s Recommended Retention Standards:

Health Information

Recommended Retention Period

Diagnostic Images – Adults 5 years
Diagnostic Images – Minors 5 years after the age of majority
Disease Index 10 years
Fetal Heart Monitor Records 10 years after the age of majority
Master Patient/Person Index Permanently
Operative Index 10 years
Patient Health/Medical Records – Adults 10 years after the most recent encounter
Patient Health/Medical Records – Minors Age of majority plus statute of limitations
Physician Index 10 years
Register of Births Permanently
Register of Deaths Permanently
Register of Surgical Procedures Permanently

Medical Record Scanning

One way to keep your medical records secure and organized to maintain retention periods is to scan that documents and manage them in a digital format.  Here are four benefits to medical record scanning for you to consider:

  • Processing medical records electronically allows businesses to move faster and function more efficiently, reducing administrative costs.
  • It is less expensive to store patient records electronically.
  • Immediate access to patient information reduces the opportunity for medical errors.
  • Compliance is insured through digital storage systems.

Check out this article on, The Cost of Medical Records Scanning, to gain a better understanding on the price and the ROI of the project.

Electronic Health Record System (EHR)

An Electronic Health Record System is the software that you use to manage your digital medical records. Here are some of the features that an EHR system allows you to use:

  •  Full patient history- This can include patient history and lab results.
  • Multiple records access- Several different personnel can access different aspects of patient records at the same time.
  • Remote access- Users can log in over a secure Internet connection to access the data from anywhere.
  • Patient referrals- Know where patients came from and who you recommended them to.
  • Cross-checking prescriptions- This gives a doctor the ability to check for patient allergies and drug interactions, and comparing the drug to symptoms reported.
  • Insurance fee schedules- Real-time information into what the patient’s insurance covers.
  • Reporting capabilities- Generate useful reports for patient data, prescription inventory, appointment history, and more.
  • Secure access- Use SSL technology to protect sensitive and confidential patient information and comply with HIPAA regulations.

When picking an EHR system make sure you are picking the right system for your practice or needs. Reference this article for a list of questions physicians like you wish they had known to ask before converting to an EHR system.

Record Nations can help with Medical Records Retention & Storage!

Record Nations has been providing document management solutions for over a decade. Our experts will help you maintain your records storage needs regardless of format. We can help you manage your hard-copy records, and even guide you through the transition to a paperless office.

Let us help you find the right document storage solution for your business. To get started, fill out the form on the top right of this page, or give us a call at (866) 385-3706Within minutes, you’ll have several companies in your area to choose from.

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