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Retention and Destruction of Dental Records 

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As a dental practice, you hold and maintain a considerably large chunk of sensitive information pertaining to your patients, including dental records, health records, insurance details and payment information. Fraudsters and thieves can potentially make a lot of money if they manage to lay their hands on such information. While maintaining patient records (PHI) is imperative, your dental clinic may be fairly vulnerable to hacks, data breaches and thefts. Moreover, based on the location of your practice and applicable state laws, you may have to retain and destroy your patients’ records at varying lengths of time. 

Top 5 Tips for Retaining and Destroying Dental Records

One of the best ways to remain compliant with legislative requirements, as well as safeguard the information your patients entrust to you, is to create a formal retention and destruction policy. Here are some tips to do this:

  1. Let the policy clearly state the protocols for end-to-end record management, including physical and digital file creation, secure storage, retention periods and disposal methods. 
  2. While defining disposal periods, remember to take into account different situations such as: 
    1. the patient was a minor or incompetent at the time of treatment, 
    2. the patient is now deceased, 
    3. the patient is inactive at your dental practice based on duration since last visit,
    4. the patient has formally informed you about moving on to another dental practice. 

To fulfil your statutory requirements, it is best to consult your local dental association or your legal counsel from time to time.

  1. Define the protocols for electronically saved records, including their backup frequency, access control, data encryption and firewalls, and any other measures that proactively detect and mitigate information security threats.
  2. Include specific details for the retention or destruction of x-rays, photographs, models and any other physical or digital copies of patients’ dental or medical records. 
  3. If you store patient records off-site through a document management company, let the policy have provisions to periodically review the reputation and trustworthiness of such third party vendors.

Save the cost of maintaining expensive disposal equipment and let your team focus on the treatment and care of your patients. Consider hiring the services of a professional, NAID AAA Certified company such as TITAN Mobile Shredding. Our medical records destruction team is highly experienced in the disposal of health care records for a wide range of facilities, including hospitals, dental clinics, nursing homes, pharmacies and more. We offer both on-site and off-site shredding services for hard copy records as well as digital media such as hard drives, discs and tapes. 
For systematic and safe disposal of dental records, reach out to TITAN Mobile Shredding. Speak to one of our data destruction professionals at (866) 848-2699 or contact us online to request your free quote.

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