Health Information Management

Topic: Have a plan in place to prevent water damage to your medical records

HIM-HIPAA Insider, June 11, 2007

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Floods, water sprinkler damage (following a fire or smoke incident), and roof/plumbing leaks are common occurrences. Any of these can cause damage to paper records. Ensuring that you have a list of firms that specialize in restoring water-damaged records is imperative. Firms specializing in this area often use freeze-drying techniques. You can find firms of this type in your part of the country by performing a simple Internet search for "water damage," "paper," "restoration," and "freeze dry."

A simple precautionary fix is to place rolls of plastic drop cloths on top of the files that hold your paper records. These can be dropped quickly over the shelving if there is a plumbing or roof leak. Be careful not to exceed the space limitations between the top rolls and the sprinkler head.

Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and terrorism are all reasons for preparing for the worst in advance. Having these disaster recovery plans in place will save you time if your organization encounters any of these unfortunate situations.

Editor's note: This article was adapted from HCPro's book More With Less: Best Practices for HIM Directors, Second Edition. For more information, click here.

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