Ask HRC: Record Retention Requirements for Switching EHR Systems

November 8, 2011 | Health System Risk Management


An ECRI Institute member recently asked if there were any requirements related to which files should be scanned when a facility switches between vendors for its electronic health record (EHR) system. When scanning documents into a new EHR system, facilities should follow their state’s medical record retention requirements. A state-by-state list of regulations is available from the American Health Information Management Association at

Retention requirements. Medicare CoPs require that medical records be retained in their original or legally reproduced form for at least five years (42 CFR Part 482.24b). State statutes may require that records be retained for periods ranging from 7 to 10 years, with some imposing considerably longer retention periods. AHIMA recommends that, unless otherwise mandated by state or federal law, patient medical records be retained for 10 years after the most recent patient encounter. The records may then be destroyed (unless prohibited by...

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