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HIPAA Q&A: Shredding paper charts


[1]Submit your HIPAA questions to Editor Jaclyn Fitzgerald at jfitzgerald@hcpro.com [2] and we will work with our experts to provide the information you need.

Q: At what point can an organization shred charts that have been completely scanned into its electronic medical record (EMR) system?

A: If your state considers electronic storage media legally acceptable for medical records, you can destroy the paper records as soon as they are scanned into the EMR and reviewed for quality. In this situation, you would define your legal medical record as your EMR and set a reasonable time to hold paper originals after scanning (e.g., 30–60 days). You could destroy paper originals immediately after scanning, but many organizations hold them for a short time before destroying them.

Editor’s note: Mary D. Brandt, MBA, RHIA, CHE, CHPS, vice president of health information at Baylor Scott & White Health in Temple, Texas, answered this question for HCPro’sBriefings on HIPAA [3].