Whether you run a small specialist's office or a large clinic with multiple doctors, a successful medical business will eventually need to upgrade to a larger and more well-equipped building. Before you pack up your equipment and office computers, consider how you're going to protect your patients' information during the process. Follow these four tips to avoid legal issues and complications.
Work with HIPAA Experts
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act set up strict standards for protecting and managing access to patient data and records. Violating the rules of this act can land your medical practice in hot water, resulting in thousands of dollars worth of fines and even potential closures of your business. Look for a moving company that already trains its team members to follow all HIPAA regulations to make sure you don't need to hire a whole second set of managers to oversee the packing of each box. You must document how the movers are complying with the regulations throughout the move, so it's best to hire a team already equipped to do their own documentation.
Use Opaque Materials
Since each folder and hard drive can contain a mix of general records and protected information that needs special shielding, it's easiest to simply pack all record-related equipment and paperwork into opaque crates and containers. If you prefer to use racks and similar rolling carts that speed up commercial packing and unpacking, ask your movers to provide an opaque stretch wrap product to block the view of the loaded items. Even accidental glances at the wrong piece of paper can cause a HIPAA violation, so it's best to transfer whole file cabinets and similar storage devices rather than loading and unloading files individually.
Neutralize Data Storage
You know that desktops and other computers used in the office area of your practice need protection and special handling so a criminal can't intercept the hard drive and steal your patients' information. However, don't forget about all the peripheral devices you use in the office for printing and scanning records, such as copiers, fax machines, and even telephone systems. Hire a data expert to go through and wipe any stored data off these devices before you bring in the movers so these large and bulky items can be loaded without a lot of special handling.
Decommission with Care
Selling some unnecessary equipment during the move to save space or leaving some stuff behind according to an agreement with the building owner? Make sure anything you decommission has all patient data permanently wiped before you release it from your custody. It's not enough to simply delete files -- anything with a hard drive or data storage needs professional wiping to overwrite the residue of previous data.
When you're ready to seriously plan your office's move, start contacting companies like Christos & Christos Moving and Storage to learn more about the moving process and what you can expect.