Last month a street sweeper in Aurora, Colorado, found hundreds of dental patient records near a dumpster behind a shopping center. The records contained names, addresses, social security numbers and birth dates of patients. What a field day it could have been for identity thieves!
While police were able to trace the documents back to a dental practice located nearly 20 miles away, the owners of the practice had no idea how the documents ended up in Aurora.
So did the documents blow off a recycling truck? Was an employee careless putting out the garbage? Were the documents stolen in the first place?
It should be none of the above.
Information protection is the law
In the U.S. (and Canada), laws prohibit medical practices from putting sensitive documents such as patient information into the garbage. All confidential information must be protected – and completely destroyed – when no longer needed.
The most secure method of document destruction is shredding. Once paper has been properly shredded, it can’t be reconstructed again. (Keep in mind that identity thieves have been known to painstakingly put hand-torn documents back together again.)
Information security checklist
To protect against security breaches in any type of business, Shred-it, a world-leading information security company, recommends:
•Stay up-to-date about privacy laws and legislation in your industry.
•Be compliant with all the rules.
•Implement a shred-all policy in your workplace.