If you are in the healthcare industry, records are a fundamental part of your business. Documenting a patient's medical history is vital, and you may have information dating back decades. Building a records retention policy can feel overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Here are a few tips on how to develop effective medical record retention policies.
First, start with understanding the regulations for your industry, which vary by state. These regulations define how long you need to retain patient records. For example, the rules define if there are different requirements for minor and adult patients, the requirements for a medical doctor versus a hospital, and how long to retain documents after a patient's death. Use resources such as HealthIT.gov to learn about your state's specific requirements.
Next, you should set a standard to define which files are considered active vs. inactive. The active files will be those you regularly use, such as with patients who make routine visits. For those patients who have not sought treatment in several years, you may label their files as inactive. These files will require less frequent access. The American Health Information Management Association has recommendations to help you make this determination.
Once you have determined which files you need to access frequently, develop an organization system to keep these active files handy. An alphabetical organization system of file cabinets for these active files is simple to implement. But your inactive files will require more work. Consider if you want to scan and index these files or store them offsite. Investigate the assistance of a documentation management firm like R4 Services that can consult with you and determine the most efficient solution for your needs.
Once an inactive file has passed its requirements for access, you don't need to continue to hang onto it. Instead, develop a plan to review your inactive files routinely, and flag those that no longer need to be retained. Determine a method for destroying electronic and paper files to ensure the private information is secure and you adhere to HIPAA standards.
Lastly, properly training your staff on retention procedures is essential to your policy’s success. Ensure that your retention policy is adequately covered in your employee handbook and whenever you onboard new employees. Additionally, consider running periodic training sessions to keep your staff updated on best practices and make them aware of any changes to your retention policy.
Developing a comprehensive records retention policy isn’t just about keeping you and your staff better organized; it’s also necessary to stay compliant with the law. At R4 Services, we’ll work with your healthcare organization to help you meet compliance requirements and optimize your records management process. Contact us today to get started.
While document management services benefit every department, no matter the industry, your accountants will undoubtedly be some of the most appreciative. In large part, they’re the ones that have to go through the most paperwork, sifting through financial documents and deciding what can stay and what should go -- especially during tax season. Regardless of company size, if your accounting department runs like a well-oiled machine, so do your finances.
Security - Bye Bye, Key Rings!
Your accountants are responsible for keeping safe the documents with some of the company’s most sensitive financial information. Frivolously tossing bank statements into a locked file cabinet simply won’t cut it in the modern age. With an effective data management system, your documents will be scanned, digitized and catalogued so you can limit personnel access to sensitive information.
Not only does the records management system keep your financial statements safe from theft, it also keeps them safe from catastrophic events. Since all of your documents will be scanned and digitized, a fire, flood, or other natural disaster can’t touch your data.
Organization - Simplify Your Process
When it comes time for audits, it will be far less taxing on your employees. Tax season will be a breeze by ensuring you have all your documents in a central location and that they’re easily, yet securely, accessible. Bookkeeping is simplified as your financial statements, audits, and all relevant documents will be scanned into the records management system, allowing for easy indexing and remote retrieval methods.
Accessibility - Can’t Make it To The Office?
One of the major keys to any successful accounting department’s efficiency is consistent accessibility to the documents they need. They need to constantly retrieve and store files, sometimes remotely. With an effective document management system you can access your data remotely and even limit security clearance for certain files. With digital remote access and a good retention schedule, your company will run at a more efficient pace.
R4 Services is dedicated to handling all of your document management needs in a reliable, secure and resourceful manner. We offer vault, scanning, indexing, management and destruction services to help your company run as efficiently as possible. Give us a call today to find out how we can help you.
Why You Need a Records Retention Policy
A major part of good record keeping is creating a functional records retention policy. With the amount of data companies collect these days, it’s not financially feasible to keep every bit of information indefinitely. A data retention schedule will help your company decide how long sensitive documents need to be kept and when they can eventually be destroyed. It consistently purges unnecessary data to make room for incoming information -- or to simplify, out with the old, in with the new. This will protect you from potential legal issues and unnecessary storage costs.
Since different types of documents need to be kept for different amounts of time, (see our previous blog post about what can stay and what can go) it’s important to consult with your legal team to figure out when document destruction can be green lit. For example, the medical community needs to abide by HIPAA laws when it comes to patient records, but not for their tax documents.
If You Lack A Records Retention Policy...
Lack of a retention schedule opens you up to all kinds of issues:
Your company’s data retention schedule will vary by industry and local laws, so consult your legal team.
R4 Services is able to store your documents for you, indexing them properly to save you time and money. And when the time finally comes for your documents to be destroyed, we ensure secure and proper destruction of any type of media -- from paper, to film, to x-rays. Contact us today to find out how we can save you time, money and space.
Why is Records Management Important in the Workplace?
Today’s technology gives us access to content, documents, photos, videos and work files like never before. We’re able to access information at the push of a button and in the palm of our hands. So how can we better utilize technology and integrate our records management from it? Why is records management so important in the workplace? Here’s how your company or organization can benefit from today’s technology:
While technology can be complex, it’s most effective when it makes our lives easier and allows us to do our jobs with better results. When you select a records management provider, it’s important to ensure you will be receiving the most modern, cutting-edge and efficient technology. Every company is unique and your technology and records management needs will be different than other organizations. But finding the right document management solution for your company will put your priorities, objectives, efficiencies and results at the forefront of today’s technology.
If it's your job to find people their dream home, then there's no doubt that you go through mountains of paperwork every day. Storing files such as home contracts, legal forms, property deeds, purchase offers, repair agreements, agency relationship disclosures -- and that's barely even the tip of the iceberg. To top it all off, in order to stay compliant with various tax and other record keeping laws, realtors and real estate agents must keep copies of most documents for at least 5 years or even 10 years for some documents. Once you start to sell even a few homes, that proverbial iceberg really starts to manifest and it can sometimes feel like you're drowning in paperwork. But we won't let that iceberg sink your ship! It's crucial for realtors to have a reliable document management system by their side in order to make records storage easy, keep their records accessible and make it a breeze to stay compliant with all the rules and regulations that come with the territory.
Storing Your Real Estate Records
Selling homes isn't a walk in the park. Each property comes with its own mountain of paperwork to sift through, organize, update, sign and eventually store. This can take up a lot of...real estate in an office and most realtors don't have that kind of space. Rifling through cabinets full of papers and finding the right one(s) for the task at hand takes loads of time and hinders a realtor's ability to perform their job quickly and efficiently.
By scanning, imaging and indexing them and taking advantage of R4 Services' vault storage options, realtors' jobs just got a whole lot easier. We can store any type of physical document in our storage facility that is monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our scanning, imaging and indexing services will help you to digitize your important materials so you can securely access them online. Our web service allows you to quickly search, pull, edit and directly email/fax any document so you're not wasting precious time on bookkeeping. As an added bonus, it will declutter some your office -- a clear space for a clear mind.
Online Access to Your Realtor Documents
Once you scan your crucial documents into our web system, you'll have enhanced security and 24-hour access to any of your documents. Here are just a few perks of our online system:
After your office space is cleared out, you've got all your necessary files stored externally and you can access your documents from anywhere while on-the-go, you can finally forget about those mountains of paperwork, right? Right?! Sorry, wrong. While you may need to keep most documents in your possession for 5-10 years, that doesn't mean you need to keep them forever. In fact, keeping documents past their retention date can open you up to legal liabilities.
That's why we will work with your company to develop a fully comprehensive and compliant document retention schedule; and when it's time to finally purge those old docs, we've got you covered. Our document shredding services and state-of-the-art hard drive destruction services will let you confidentially dispose of virtually any type of document. We can destroy:
So when it comes to your real estate business, stop settling for less. Let us take over the dirty work of storing and organizing your files so you can do what matters most: making people happy by finding their home. If you have any questions about any of our services, get in touch today!
It's no secret that an efficient document management system is beneficial for any industry. But for some, it's not only the company's integrity that depends on that efficiency -- people's lives hang on the line. In the medical and healthcare fields, patient records, payment and insurance information, hospital procedures, policies and other data are some of the most important documents that contain both patients' private info and the ways in which the institution operates. That's why it's impossible to overstate the cruciality of a secure document management system that will maintain HIPAA compliance to protect your practice and your patients.
Proper document management takes a lot of time, effort and manpower/resource dedication. That's why we offer a wide variety of services that cover every aspect of document management so you don't have to go about it alone. From records storage and vault services to shredding and hard drive destruction, we can help you plan for your organizational needs.
HIPAA Compliance Through Document Destruction
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, passed in 1996 to protect medical patient data. It ensures that the proper security measures are in place -- things like procedural, physical and network security. Violating HIPAA carries severe penalties that can cause a healthcare institution to be shut down, so it's extremely important to ensure compliance. R4 Services will work with your business to be certain that you've outlined a rigid and easy-to-follow records retention program.
Outdated patient records, payment information or insurance documents contain very personal, private information, so having them on-hand opens your organization up to legal liabilities. That's why we offer secure, safe and easy document shredding services and hard drive destruction. Our state-of-the-art destruction machinery are able to handle a variety of media types: paper, tapes of all sizes, disks, cartridges, x-rays, hard drives, monitors and film. You name it and we can destroy it. After each destruction session, we give you a certification that shows exactly what and how much was processed. We make it as easy as possible for you in 3 simple steps:
Increase Efficiency with Document Storage and Mobile Access
Every business lives and dies by their efficiency. And when people's lives hang in the balance, it's never more important to have all the information you need readily available. Our scanning and imaging services will take all of your old paper records and digitize them. We can then index them and store them in our secure online database so that you can access them 24/7 from any web browser. No more searching through file cabinets and wasting countless hours sorting through mountains of paperwork. We make it easy to search, find, view, print, fax and email every record you could possibly need in just seconds. Our online database is fully HIPAA compliant so you can enjoy improved workflow through mobile document access without worry.
At R4 Services we understand how much time and effort goes into remaining compliant with laws and regulations. Let us do the dirty work for you so you can allocate precious time and resources to more important things to your business. We're reliable, resourceful, responsive and reasonable; we'll work with you to find pricing within your budget and custom tailor a program to suit your needs. Whether you need to store your records offsite or you want periodic document purges, we're just a phone call away!
There are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the US, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics. If you are part of a nonprofit organization, you're probably aware of some of the obstacles to be overcome that may not plague your for-profit counterparts. Whether you run a chamber of commerce, a charity organization, a social advocacy group, or any other type of nonprofit institution, chances are it's much harder to stay afloat because you rely on outsider passion for your cause in order to advance and positively affect your community.
Generating revenue, sustaining growth and upgrading software are some of the most major concerns for nonprofits in the modern era. All of these require time, manpower and money. That's why a reliable, resourceful, responsive and reasonable document management system will change the game by eliminating menial tasks and increasing efficiency.
Save Time and Money
Sure, every company wants to save time and money. But these two things are particularly important to nonprofits because these key elements are often too scarce in the nonprofit world. Dedicating resources to community outreach, pleasing donors, hosting fundraising events, maintaining a membership base, creating policy and more -- all while committing energy toward forwarding organizational goals -- take heavy tolls on the time and money department.
That's why having an effective document management system is so crucial for nonprofits. By scanning and indexing your most sensitive materials and having a secure, confidential way to store them, your organization will see positive impacts on workflow. R4 Services knows how important your time is. That's why we'll handle the menial groundwork so your staff can be freed up to pursue organizational goals without being bogged down by tedious banalities.
Technology Upgrades Are Feasible for Nonprofits
One of the largest problems that nonprofits face is outdated technology and infrastructure. Today's technology is growing faster than ever before and businesses are left to either adapt and overcome or die. It's a ruthless sink or swim environment and organizations can only last so long without implementing standard tech practices. Manual, paper-based processes and outdated software eat up a lot of manpower and resources that could be delegated to more important things. A lack of automation can also negatively affect the efficiency and accuracy of reporting, storage and compliance which can in turn affect growth and fundraising opportunities.
That's why R4 Services works with every type of organization -- big or small -- to find the most cost-effective way of upgrading the way you manage your files. We are dedicated to learning and understanding your requirements to provide flexible, finely tailored solutions so that you'll benefit from:
Every industry can benefit from one or more aspects of document management -- whether you're a construction company that needs quick, easy access to building plans while onsite; or if you're a bank, responsible for the community members' most sensitive financial information -- you need a secure way to store current documents and destroy outdated ones. But if you work in any of the following three industries, there's no doubt you it's crucial to have a reliable document management system on your side.
Accountants don't have time for sifting through mountains of paperwork -- and the accounting sector does have mountains of it. They require efficiency, accessibility and organization. If there's fat to be trimmed, there's time to be saved, which is why scanning, indexing and storing crucial data offsite is the best possible option. R4 Services provides software that ensures secure, remote access 24/7 ensuring that tax season will be a breeze. Additionally, we make it easy to adhere to a document retention schedule -- when it's time for outdated paperwork to be destroyed, we'll do it for you discreetly and securely.
The healthcare industry is heavily regulated and filled with legal complications. When it comes to storing documents securely, healthcare professionals often feel as if they're walking on eggshells, just waiting for the next compliance lawsuit to hit. They have to maintain patient confidentiality and rigid retention schedules for their documents. People’s lives hang in the balance, so disorganization is not an option. Accessing patient records securely and efficiently is only doable with the assistance of a dependable document management service like R4 Services. Our records storage facility will keep your sensitive information secure and centralized, ready for immediate, 24 hour access. Protecting your patients' identities is priority number one and we'll help you remain HIPAA compliant.
From staff and student records to lesson plans, textbooks, and more, schools of all levels and sizes are dependent on good document management. Efficiency is key to educational institutions' success. They generally have stringent budgets, need to comply with strict document retention schedules, and university administrations are expected to work very quickly for the students that pay to be there. Having centralized data allows for ease and efficiency when working on student recommendations, grants, scholarships, communicating with parents, and any other task requiring paperwork.
Scanning and indexing your company's documents may sound like a hassle. But having the ability to manage your records online through a web-based document management system (DMS) is crucial to your efficiency and keeping up with the competition. R4 Services will handle the grunt work for you and help you take advantage of our current era of digitization. By storing your records offsite and managing them with our web-based software, we ensure that you'll stay organized without occupying physical space, you can have access to document retrieval from anywhere at any time and it's far more secure than your office file cabinets.
R4 Services utilizes a secure online platform called VCKweb, which allows you to:
VCKweb is also easily accessible from a Macintosh, PC, or any other computer platform equipped with a web browser, making quick and efficient document retrieval, from anywhere in the world, super easy.
Cyber security is a major concern these days, which is why R4 Services makes the integrity of your file storage its number one priority. With our document management system, you control who can access what and at which times by pre-defining user permissions within the system. The optional enhanced security features include:
With the saved space, increased efficiency and dependable security, there's no reason not to have an exceptional online document management system. If you're ready to take the plunge to get modernized, R4 Services is here to help you through every step of the process. Take a look at our services and how we'll help your company run more efficiently.
Much of your company's efficiency depends on the security and organization of your documents. That's why R4 Services takes care of every facet of document management to ensure your their integrity. We use Visual Corporate Keeper to organize and secure your data, keeping in mind cyber security concerns, natural disaster and offsite accessibility.
Using a maximum security web browser, you can retrieve your documents using any computer with an internet connection. Plus, at your discretion, you can set up extra security measures like IP Blocking, which only allows access to your data from within your company. This ensures that you and your staff can access all the documents you need while on-the-go, and sleep easy knowing that it's digitally protected offsite.
Protected from natural disaster
Since your documents aren't being stored in your office or offices, you can rest easy knowing that your most sensitive information is being protected from disaster, whether man-made or natural. This ensures that, in the case of disaster, your records and information will be readily accessible to restore operations as quickly as possible to your clients.
Our user portal enables clients to be confident data is protected from unauthorized access.
Enhanced security features include: