Patient health information records are highly sensitive and critical pieces of data, which requires compliance when handling such documents. The case presents a situation in which a patient’s health records were destroyed without the person’s knowledge and consent. Subsequently, the patient filed a complaint to the state health department. The state health department is likely to respond by indicating that the law mandates the disposal of records after a specific period of time of retention is reached.
In order to understand the implications of the problem described in the case, it is important to define and describe what constitutes record retention. It is stated that “records retention describes the methods and practices an organization will use to safeguard important records and maintain them for the required period of time until they need to be … disposed of” (Govos Team, 2021, para. 2). The federal law on record retention is mandatory storage of data for six years, and state laws can further outline the specifics (Cloudian, 2022). The various record retention methods include personal health records (PHR), electronic health records (EHR), and electronic medical records (EMR) (Cloudian, 2022). The latter primarily records patient visits and related data, whereas PHR is used by insurance companies to monitor health information. EHR is much broader and more extensive compared to other methods. Thus, both PHR and EMR contain only relevant information but are limited in use. EHR is richer in data availability but requires more data storage and transfer management.
In conclusion, the response will likely be that six years had passed since the record creation, which is why the organization was allowed to dispose of the data. The law allows health records to be destroyed after a six-year period without the data owner’s consent or knowledge. Thus, the case provides a situation where a patient misunderstood the record retention obligations of a healthcare provider due to a lack of knowledge of the law.
Cloudian. (2022). Medical records retention: Understanding the problem. Web.
Govos Team. (2021). What is records retention? GovOS. Web.