The Best Ways to Keep PHI Safe

By | October 11, 2019

If you work in healthcare, odds are that you push paper and you deal with a lot of patient data.

We thought that the best way to help you keep PHI safe is to create a guide that has the best equipment for the job.

Whether you are storing documents, destroying documents, or wiping your hard drives of PHI, you should know the correct equipment for the job.

Should you keep documents locked up?

The simple answer to this question is yes.

Protected health information (PHI) contains details about people that you absolutely must keep under lock and key.

Not only should the information be in a locked cabinet, but you should make sure that the container is secure and able to prevent theft.

Sometimes it’s not possible or reasonable to have a paper shredding machine in every room of your facility. 

The most convenient way to store PHI documents before shredding them is by using a shredder bin.

You can easily slide documents through the top of the bin while the documents are safely contained before shredding. 

Want to find the right shred bin for your office? Click Here For More Info

What Type of Paper Shredder is the Best for PHI?

Even though most paper shredders look the same, not all of them are built equally.

Basic paper shredders won’t guarantee that criminals can’t piece together your patient’s PHI. 

The best way to prevent document theft is to use a cross-cut paper shredder.

A cross-cut shredder cuts paper vertically and horizontally to turn paper into confetti.

Cross-cut shredders have different levels and can produce different sized particles.

Here are some examples of the different levels of security:


The Best Ways to Keep PHI SafeFor a hospital or medical facility, level P-4 should be the security requirement for HIPAA compliance and the destruction of PHI.

<<< If you’re interested in checking out level P-4 Shredders CLICK HERE  >>>

Don’t Get a Strip Cut Paper Shredder!

You should know by now that this isn’t good enough to keep people safe:

Criminals can piece together documents by hand, but nowadays there is technology that can be used to algorithmically reproduce shredded documents.

HIPAA clearly states that documents that are discarded should be irrecoverable. 

Although HIPAA doesn’t explicitly say that a cross-cut shredder is the only acceptable form of document destruction, it does hold organizations to the standard of completely destroying information.

Strip-cut shredders leave too much of a trace on the table.

What Are You Doing With Your Hard Drives?

These days, many offices are trying to use less paper.

That means that we are relying on technology more than ever.

In large facilities where there are fleets of tablets and computers in every room, it’s important to make sure that data doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

I know what you’re thinking…

“I deleted the file so it no longer exists.”

This is just not true.

Hard drives and other forms of magnetic media will still contain binary code even after deleting the files.

The only way that you can truly erase the data on a hard drive is either by wiping it with a degausser or by destroying the hard drive platters with a crusher or shredder.

The object of HIPAA compliance is to make the data unrecoverable, so degaussing or crushing a hard drive is the best way to guarantee this. 

The best advantage of purchasing a degausser or a hard drive shredder is that you can destroy the PHI on-site.

Do the Right Thing… The First Time Around

It’s best to dispose of PHI in the most secure and complete way to maintain HIPAA compliance and protect patients’ identities. 

Imagine if your hospital or office was on the chopping block because of a data breach.

Data breaches and identity theft are becoming more common every day.

In 2019, data has become more valuable than oil!

Whether it’s an outsider or an employee in your building, the right practices need to be in play to make sure that there are no gaps in security.

Be sure to check out our partner Whitaker Brothers for data destruction equipment if your hospital or office is in need of protection.

Do you want a free PDF guide on Data Destruction? <<< Get One Here! >>>