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How Long Are Pharmacies Required To Keep Patient Records?

Friday, March 17th, 2017

Pharmacists are responsible for an extensive amount of record keeping, including records for patients, prescriptions, drug errors, health disclosures, and narcotic receipts. In order to comply with federal legislation, you must retain all documents for the minimum retention period before disposing of them properly.

What Information Must A Pharmacy Keep Record Of?

A pharmacy patient record must include demographic information about the patient as well as a profile of the drugs provided and a record of the care provided. The record of care includes documentation for any prescriptions adapted and other drugs prescribed, any known drug therapy issues and the steps that were taken to deal with them accordingly, any drugs given via injection, and any other pertinent information, such as prescriptions that were never filled or summaries of consultations between the patient and other health care providers.

How Long Must A Pharmacy Keep These Records?

A pharmacy must retain a patient record, including the record of care, for a minimum of 10 years past the last date of provided pharmacy service or if the patient is a child, for two years past the age of majority, whichever is greater.

For additional pharmacy records, pharmacists must adhere to the following retention guidelines:

  • Prescriptions. Two years after the completion of the therapy related to the prescription or 42 months, whichever is greater.
  • Drug error. 10 years after the error was first found.
  • Health disclosure. 10 years after the disclosure date.
  • Narcotic receipts. Two years from the receipt date.

How Should Pharmacies Destroy Records?

Once you have reached the minimum retention deadline, you must take care to destroy your patient records in a proper fashion. Running paper documents through a cross-cut shredder and disposing them in the dumpster beyond the pharmacy or deleting files off of a hard drive without wiping the drive leaves you at a high risk for a security breach. For most pharmacies, it doesn’t make sense to have pharmacists or pharmacy technicians devote hours to document shredding and disposal each week. Even if you have the manpower for the work, these tasks aren’t a good use of employees’ time.

Hiring a reputable document destruction company ensures full security for your pharmacy. Document destruction services are well versed in best industry practices and have the equipment and knowledge to dispose of large quantities of paper and electronic documents quickly and safely. Choose a document destruction company that offers multiple shredding plans so that you can pay for exactly as much shredding services as you need.

UCI is a full-service copier and document shredding company in Amarillo, Texas. We help small and large companies alike in the greater Texas Panhandle area with all of their shredding needs. To get started, contact us now.