Just like every other business, education center or government office, hospitals and healthcare organizations need hardware refreshes. And just like every other industry, disposing of used and outdated IT assets is a multistep process that requires careful consideration and proactive planning.
When the time comes to begin IT asset disposition (ITAD) in your healthcare organization, here’s how to make the process a little smoother:
1. Your first, second and third consideration should be data protection
Electronic health records (EHRs), make it easier to provide better, safer and more accurate care for patients. They enable quick access to complete and up-to-date patient information that can be easily shared among healthcare professionals.
They also, however, make it more challenging to protect healthcare data. The Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) dictates that all patient health records (both EHRs and paper), insurance information and any other sensitive healthcare-related data must always be protected. Some things to know and consider
- Hard drives and other data-bearing devices must be shredded or undergo data sanitization
- Remember that printers, scanners, and copiers can contain sensitive medical data
- Consult an ITAD partner to mitigate any risk of data breaches
2. Medical technology and IT assets in lab environments must be handled by a specialist
For any test equipment, patient devices, or any other piece of technology that may come into contact with biohazardous materials and fluids, a specialist needs to be called in—especially if these assets came from test areas and labs. Traditional ITAD partners will not accept so-called “non-conforming” medical equipment until it has been decontaminated.
Even after decontamination, there is no guarantee the partner will handle the type of equipment you are trying to dispose. Make sure to do your due diligence and determine if your ITAD provider is qualified to handle medical technology.
3. Always consult an ITAD partner before starting the process
Data security is paramount in every industry. But because of the sensitive nature of patient information, protection of data is a top concern in healthcare.
A qualified ITAD provider will help you ensure data security by enforcing a secure chain of custody. The provider will also make sure that used assets do not contribute to the growing e-waste problem. Finally, the provider will help you resell your used assets when possible—such as the ubiquitous “computers on wheels”—while always keeping data security top of mind.
Is your healthcare organization thinking about a hardware refresh? Have you consulted a qualified ITAD partner? Check your ITAD IQ with our ITAD quiz.