Suggestions for Record Retention after Retiring or Transfer of Practice

The following recommendations include billing and appointment data, but not clinical data from SOS Case Manager.

  1. Get a copy of the SOS database on your last day. The ideal would be an encrypted zip of the files in the DATA folder. If all that is available is a backup created by some kind of backup software, then you need the name of the software used to create the backup, the version of that software, and any encryption password that was used when the backup was created. If your IT guy can restore those files and make an encrypted zip of the database files, that is much, much better. If all you have is a backup that requires particular software to restore the files, you may be out of luck seven years from now if you need the data. In either case, the files MUST BE ENCRYPTED.
  2. In addition, we would suggest that you generate some reports, saving the output in pdf files. First, in the Scheduler, do “Appointments for a Period, Including Cancellations” for the entire range of dates through your last day. When it comes up on the screen, click the little icon in the upper left corner and export to “Adobe Acrobat (pdf)”
  3. Next, in OM, do “Patient Facesheet” on the Reports > Patient Reports menu. Again, do the full date range, like Jan, 1900 through your last day, all providers, and check the box to include patients with a discharge date. That’s going to be a big report, with at least one page per patient. Export the result to a pdf as explained above.
  4. One more that we would suggest is also on the Reports > Patient Reports menu: “Transactions History”. You will have to do one pass for active accounts and another for inactive. Set the options with the full date range and to include zero items and zero balance patients. This report will be a monster as well. If for some reason you can’t do the pdf export of the whole thing at once, then use patient ranges to do shorter reports that cover portions of the alphabet.
  5. Once you have generated all the pdf files, use WinZip or 7Zip to save them into ENCRYPTED zip files. If you don’t know how to do this part, then get someone who does to help.

These pdf reports will give you easy access to anything you would be likely to need, by just searching the pdf for the desired patient name, and you would not need any special software to do it.

Finally, we would suggest you use one strong password as the encryption key for all the files, and save the password in a couple of safe places that you will remember and be able to access. The files you have generated, along with the backup, should be saved on DVD’s and/or a USB flash drive. Carefully label all the media and store in your safe deposit box.

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