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Chart transport

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We have a satellite clinic that we travel to once a month. We do not have EMR currently, so charts are transported home with an employee on Thursday evening (we are closed on Friday) so they can be brought with the employee to the satellite clinic Monday morning.

While this is not ideal, there is no other way that I know of to get the charts to the satellite clinic. If the employee’s car gets broken into and information stolen, who is liable? Does anyone have a suggestion on how to better transport the charts that I have not thought of?


Categories : HIPAA Q&A


  1. Tom Dumez says:

    This is a great example of why to use an offsite record center. We do this transporting several dozen times each day.

    The company will be responsible in the event of a theft. The employee will also be, but the liability to the company will be increased becasue of the company policy. The penalties are HUGE now, and I can cite many examples. Please contact me offline and I would love to discuss this further.
    Tom (tomd@kentrecords.com)

  2. Frank Ruelas says:

    I like Tom’s approach of having a third party involved in the transport which can also provide a bit more security than the locked trunk of an employee’s car from Thursday to Monday morning.

    I don’t know the logistics involved but is there an option to have the charts taken and secured at the satellite clinic by this same employee on Thursdays rather than having the employee holding onto the files until Monday?

    The cost might be comparable (travel time, having to leave work early, etc) by the employee doing this compared to involving a third party.

    Just an idea of which I am sure there are many out there.

    One last thought. If the decision is to continue the current practice, I suggest keeping a clear record of the charts being transported each time so that if an incident does occur, undue time is not spent identifying which charts are involved.

    Good luck!

  3. Tom Dumez says:

    Although I agree with Frank’s idea of documenting who has them, what charts are taken, etc., that will not reduce liability. It will be merely documentation of whose fault it was, and which patients were involved. Most medical facilities use an offsite record center. I would double check with the medical records department to make sure they do not use one. If they do, and you are not aware, that is a good thing and not a negative. That way, very few people actually know where the recdords are stored.

    The idea here is to mitigate the risk of a breach. You could also use a delivery service, provided you get a signed agreement making them liable for any mis-deliveries, lost information, etc. Without the written agreement, you are still liable. As a CHP that has developed a record center specific training program, I speak a great deal of these practices to prevent a breach. There isn’t an option of sweeping this under the rug any longer.

  4. brandy says:

    Thanks for the comments/ideas guys. Knowing which charts are taken is not a problem because we only take the charts for the patients that have appointments scheduled that day. We are a solo practice with only one doctor, so we don’t have a “medical records department” and I don’t think storing our charts off-site would work for us. I don’t think the courier will work either since there is no one under our employement out there to receive them and no way to know if someone will be out there at all to receive them as multiple doctors rotate through the space). I will discuss having an employee who lives close by take the charts out there on their way home but need to make sure there is somewhere to lock up the charts since multiple offices have access to the space. I am hoping this will only be an issue for another couple of years. By then we may be transitioning to EMR!!

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