This activity is intended for healthcare providers delivering care to women and their families.
After completing this activity, the participant should be better able to:
1. Recall that the length of time medical records must be retained
2. Discuss the importance of well-documented medical records and the preferred timing of documentation
Estimated time to complete activity: 0.25 hours
Susan J. Gross, MD, FRCSC, FACOG, FACMG
President and CEO, The ObG Project
Postgraduate Institute for Medicine (PIM) requires instructors, planners, managers and other individuals who are in a position to control the content of this activity to disclose any real or apparent conflict of interest (COI) they may have as related to the content of this activity. All identified COI are thoroughly vetted and resolved according to PIM policy. PIM is committed to providing its learners with high quality CME activities and related materials that promote improvements or quality in healthcare and not a specific proprietary business interest of a commercial interest.
Faculty: Susan J. Gross, MD, receives consulting fees from Genoox, Inc., and has financial interest in The ObG Project, Inc.
Planners and Managers: The PIM planners and managers, Trace Hutchison, PharmD, Samantha Mattiucci, PharmD, CHCP, Judi Smelker-Mitchek, MBA, MSN, RN, and Jan Schultz, MSN, RN, CHCP have nothing to disclose.
Fees for participating and receiving CME credit for this activity are as posted on The ObG Project website. During the period from Dec 31 2017 through Dec 31 2019, participants must read the learning objectives and faculty disclosures and study the educational activity.
If you wish to receive acknowledgment for completing this activity, please complete the post-test and evaluation. Upon registering and successfully completing the post-test with a score of 100% and the activity evaluation, your certificate will be made available immediately.
For Pharmacists: Upon successfully completing the post-test with a score of 100% and the activity evaluation form, transcript information will be sent to the NABP CPE Monitor Service within 4 weeks.
In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by the Postgraduate Institute for Medicine and The ObG Project. Postgraduate Institute for Medicine is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.
Postgraduate Institute for Medicine designates this enduring material for a maximum of 0.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
The maximum number of hours awarded for this Continuing Nursing Education activity is 0.2 contact hours.
Providers keep medical charts for the purpose of providing good care, retaining accurate notes and, when necessary, sharing valuable information with colleagues. Even after a patient has left care, it is not unusual to receive a request for records. Patients may move or there may be important medical history that can help diagnose another family member at some point in the future (e.g., heritable cancer syndromes). Additionally, a well-documented medical record is always the best defense against a medical malpractice lawsuit. As courtroom adage goes, if it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen.
Notes made in the medical record at or near the time of treatment are regarded as highly reliable evidence. Without medical records, healthcare providers might not be able to show what care was provided and whether it met the standard of care. Simply stating the level of care and treatment rendered without providing documentation will often not succeed in a court of law, thus leaving the provider liable for the patient’s alleged injuries.
State and Federal Laws
State and federal laws regarding mandatory record retention requirements for hospitals or similar facilities differ from the laws for physician practices. The retention period for a minor’s records also varies. This variation exists to allow minors to bring suit for medical malpractice after they reach the age of majority for injuries that occurred when they were under age.
Generally, the Medicare Conditions of Participation (COP) require hospitals to retain records for five years (six years for critical access hospitals). HIPAA privacy regulations require records to be retained for six years from when the record was created to adhere to the federal statute of limitations for civil penalties for HIPAA violations. See record retention requirements from the healthit.gov site in ‘Learn More – Primary Sources’ below.
Medical Board and Medical Association Policies and Recommendations
When a direct state or federal law does not specify the retention period, medical boards may be able to provide policies or recommendations on how long a physician should keep records. For example, the Colorado State Board of Medical Examiners Policy 40-07 requires retaining all patient records for a minimum of 7 years after the last date of treatment, or 7 years after the patient reaches age 18 – whichever occurs later. In California, at least one local entity retains the records of pregnant women for 25 years.
Storage and Safety Considerations
With the near mandatory use of electronic medical records, the storage of paper records will slowly be eliminated. However, attendant with the use of EMR comes the ever increasing need to prevent loss of data, or worse, hacking and cyber attacks on the electronic data across all industries. Antiquated infrastructure and uncorrected network vulnerabilities are frequent causes of successful attacks.
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This educational activity may contain discussion of published and/or investigational uses of agents that are not indicated by the FDA. The planners of this activity do not recommend the use of any agent outside of the labeled indications.
The opinions expressed in the educational activity are those of the faculty and do not necessarily represent the views of the planners. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indications, contraindications, and warnings.
Participants have an implied responsibility to use the newly acquired information to enhance patient outcomes and their own professional development. The information
presented in this activity is not meant to serve as a guideline for patient management. Any procedures, medications, or other courses of diagnosis or treatment discussed or suggested in this activity should not be used by clinicians without evaluation of their patient’s conditions and possible contraindications and/or dangers in use, review of any applicable manufacturer’s product information, and comparison with recommendations of other authorities.
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