Once the retention schedule is defined, the next step is to identify active and inactive records. “Active” means that records are regularly accessed or used. Routine functions can include activities such as approving requests for information, sales integrity audits, or quality checks. Regardless of the method of preservation, projects should allow suppliers to provide paper copies of records. In addition, the project must be able to provide hard copies to auditors or officials upon request. Organizations must have policies that govern the retention of electronic records and documents. Original documents from external sources must be retained for at least 7 years, with some exceptions. Retention of departmental copies is at the discretion of the department. A ministerial procedure should be established. A final resource for record retention policies is AHIMA`s retention recommendation. Appendix C contains AHIMA`s recommendations regarding minimum record retention periods where there are no federal, state, or accreditation requirements.

A retention period (linked to a retention schedule or retention program) is an aspect of records and information management (IRM) and the records lifecycle that specifies how long information must be retained or “retained” in any format (paper, electronic or otherwise). Retention periods vary depending on the type of information, content, and various other factors, including internal organizational requirements, regulatory requirements for inspections or audits, statutory statute of limitations, litigation involvement, and tax and financial reporting requirements, and other factors defined by local government agencies. regional, state, national and/or international. become. [1] [2] Another mechanism that provides guidelines for record retention is accreditation body standards. Organizations such as the Commission for the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, Det Norske Veritas, Medicare Terms and Conditions, and the Joint Commission have included registration plans in their accreditation investigation processes. See Appendix B for an example of a list of retention standards for accreditation bodies. For example, Hospital A identified inactive files as files with a discharge date prior to December 31, 2008.

For cleaning, social workers open each unit file and separate all discharges (inpatients and outpatients) before that date. Older files are sent to external storage. The following is an example of unit file cleanup where records prior to December 31, 2008 are considered inactive. Shaded records are those that are sent to external storage for the remainder of the retention schedule. Comments on specific definitions should be sent to the authors of the linked source publication. For NIST publications, there is usually an email in the document. Since no clear standard has been established for record retention, comparing different record-keeping requirements is often time-consuming and labour-intensive. Each organization should review and compare different retention schedules to meet the most restrictive requirements. An example of a comparison between federal, state, and accreditation requirements and AHIMA recommendations is shown below. The most restrictive requirement is shaded.

Reasonableness refers to the ability of a specified and applied retention period to effectively defend the record and its eventual destruction or adherence during judicial review or other review. There is no consistent and standardized record retention schedule that organizations and suppliers must follow. Instead, various retention requirements must be examined to create a compliant retention program. If Hospital A, listed in the example above, deletes records every two years, the external location will continue to grow as records are added. To ensure that the organization does not swap one file space filled with capacity for another, records should be destroyed as soon as the document retention period is respected.