Managing X-ray Waste and X-ray Shredding
For radiology departments, medical waste removal and document destruction plans must involve managing analog x-ray waste and files.
Every organization needs to look at the information they have, identify all types and forms of personal and/or sensitive information, and then establish reasonable procedures to appropriately destroy the information. This is especially true for the healthcare industry. In fact, it’s the law. While medical records are the obvious byproduct of any medical office, these come with some lesser-known records that also require shredding and proper disposal, such as x-ray films and x-ray waste.
Privacy laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) have increased enforcement and leave no room for error. Because of HIPAA, there is growing interest in effective and efficient ways to manage protected medical records, but more importantly, how to destroy them and render them useless once they are no longer needed. For the healthcare industry, paper shredding is essential to HIPAA compliance, but so is the destruction of everything that contains personal health information (PHI).
X-ray films contain PHI, just as medical records do, and require secure and safe destruction. When at all possible, dental, medical and veterinary x-ray films should not be disposed of into the waste stream as it contains silver which is a heavy metal and contaminates the environment.
X-ray films, MRI films, radiography films and other medical records that are maintained by physicians as part of the patient’s records, should be retained for a certain amount of time. Federal law states facilities should retain records for 7 years for adults and 18 years for minors, however each state has different retaining period rule.
In addition to paper shredding, Legal Shred can assist you with shredding and/or recycling x-ray films in a environmentally sensitive way along with our sister company, Red Bags. Because x-ray destruction goes beyond just shredding films, Red Bags can help with the safe disposal of x-ray developer, x-ray fixer, and lead aprons and gowns.
Not only is it the right thing to do for the environment, medical privacy laws require that x-rays be disposed of in a manner that preserves patient privacy.
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- What is PHI and Why Is It Protected Under HIPAA?
- Facing a HIPAA Audit? Here’s What You Need To Know
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