Valerie Prater, MBA, RHIT
Valerie Prater, UIC professor, explains retention guidelines for electronic medical records.
Yes, in terms of storage of information as we increase the volume of information that we have in electronic format and digital format we have to be mindful of retention guidelines. Whether they be state law, federal guidelines, we have more information we have to have policies and procedures for retention. Just because we’ve collected it doesn’t mean we have to keep it. We do retain information if part of the legal health record. Then where are we going to keep it? Are we in compliance with our own policies, procedures, laws? Then who needs the information? When does the patient get the information? When does the provider need the information? Release of information is something important for health information management students particularly, and something we spend time on in our coursework. There are laws and guidelines for release of information. As patients, as consumers, in a health care system we want to be able to get to our own health information. We have a right. Back to our rights. We have a right to that. We don’t want other people to get to our information who don’t have a right to our information so understanding the laws, the policies for that is really, really important for our students who will be managers of those processes. Again upholding their confidentiality obligations and protecting the rights of the patients to get their information but keep others out of their information who shouldn’t be there.