Patient Data Archived, but, What about Employee Data? HR Record Retention

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Healthcare information management in the HR space requires a plan to manage current and historical employment records that must be maintained for several years based on state and federal laws. While guidelines for many HR related records include a one to three year retention period, many others require longer time periods. W2’s, for example, must be retained for at least four years. OSHA requirements insist that records of job related illnesses and injuries be kept for five years. In addition, records related to medical exams along with toxic substances and blood-borne pathogen exposure must be retained for thirty years after termination of employment.

Bottom line: Electronic employee records, like patient records, require data archiving through a retention plan.

Harmony Healthcare IT‘s, HealthData Archiver® (HDA), with its unique platform design, is able to store multiple types of data in a single data repository. The easy-to-use and secure archive reduces costs for maintenance and infrastructure.  It also alleviates the additional personnel required to keep multiple legacy systems alive.

“The benefits of HDA include data accessibility and security for numerous types of patient and HR data,” says Jim Hammer, VP of Product and Program Management at Harmony Healthcare IT. “HDA has user restriction so only the right users will see specific information. For example, a billing clerk looking up an old claim won’t see the W2 for her supervisor while searching for information.”

Retention plans for HR data include legacy management for a wide variety of documents, including to name a few:

  • Personnel Records
  • Records for Employment Tests and Employment Opportunities
  • Online Application Records
  • Apprentice Programs
  • Payroll Records
  • Income Tax Withholding
  • Time Cards and Schedules
  • Wage Differential
  • General Ledger/Accounting
  • General Business Records
  • Minor Employees
  • Federal Contractors
  • EEO-1 Reports
  • Agreements, Contracts, Benefits
  • Family and Medical Leave Records
  • Affirmative Action Plans
  • OSHA Records
  • Drug Testing Records

Rules for Keeping HR Data

Be sure to study the Federal requirements for HR record maintenance.

State recordkeeping requirements vary and should be researched on a state-by-state basis. In addition, it also is important to understand the requirements for preserving electronic documents that might become part of litigation to make sure you are retaining the records you need to keep. Check out the resources here or the fact sheet from the U.S. Dept. of Labor which provides more info about recordkeeping requirements.

How to Avoid DRIP

While the mountains of historical patient and HR data continue to grow, it is important to avoid DRIP — becoming Data Rich and Information Poor according to a recent article by HIMSS 2015 (Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society).

The keys to successful data management discussed in the HIMSS article include:

  • Avoiding Data Silos. Data management and data storage needs to be treated as a true enterprise projects.
  • Making Sure Your Data Can Grow. Keep Moore’s Law, which states that the overall processing power for computers will double every two years, in mind when purchasing an enterprise solution for data storage and management. Your data will grow. Period.
  • Using Storage Efficiencies. Managing storage is a full-time job, and most organizations of significant size have a few people dedicated to that alone.
  • Backing up and Protecting. Newer capabilities offer recovery to the past minute, five minutes or 10 minutes, which offers a new level of thinking and possibility.

An enterprise-wide approach to managing incoming and historical data with up to the minute efficiency and security will enable the future of an organization that is Data Rich, Information Rich — and Knowledge Rich.

Harmony Healthcare IT handles legacy data management for healthcare providers whether it’s clinical, patient financial, human resource/payroll or general accounting. We can help when the strategy is to migrate as much clinical data into the go-forward EHR system as the new vendor will allow.  We also offer a cost effective solution to migrate disparate legacy patient and HR data sources into a single, secure archive. For more information about managing legacy data, contact Harmony Healthcare IT.

Does your healthcare organization have an enterprise-wide legacy data management plan?

Note: This information is not intended to be legal advice. Contact your attorney for guidance on what human resource information to retain at your health organization.


Editor’s Note: This blog contains information posted in an earlier blog from June 19th, 2015.

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Aug 06 2018

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