Confidentiality, Privacy and Security

Email Retention Policy

  • 1.  Email Retention Policy

    Posted 11-30-2020 11:47
    I have recently started a new role as a Compliance Officer for a health IT company. This is quite different from my previous roles which have been primarily in the direct-patient care world in HIM Manager/Privacy Officer.

    I wanted to reach out and see if any one has advice or examples of their email retention policy.

    Any information y'all can provide would be greatly appreciated!

    Many thanks,
    Lauren Wagner

    Lauren Wagner
    Director of Him

  • 2.  RE: Email Retention Policy

    Posted 12-18-2020 17:13

    I am interested in this also.  Kim

    Kimberle Johnson
    [Director Privacy and Compliance Officer]
    Campbell County Health

  • 3.  RE: Email Retention Policy

    Posted 12-18-2020 18:22
    I wrote an article on this for JAHIMA in September of 2008.  It is still in the library (JAHIMA 79, no. 9) "Managing E-Mail as Records".  
    I became the manager of the Enterprise Content Management system and the volume of e-mail and the challenges of storage became an issue.  I began an e-discovery team around the time of the update to the FRCP.  We had one of organization's attorneys, a representative from HIM, IT people, etc.  The tendency of the attorneys is to hold onto e-mail "forever".  This is impossible.  The view of the IT staff is to dump it as soon as possible.  We came to a compromise (documented and archived) and kept e-mail for 7 years (business record).  This kept our storage costs and our management costs lower.  There are ECM products designed just for e-mail archival.  
    Whatever you decide, check to see how retrievable your e-mail is right now.  When we did an audit, we found that some of the catalogs that directed people to older e-mail had been inadvertently destroyed.  We could not retrieve that body of e-mail and we destroyed it.  These destruction decisions need to be documented and archived.  If you have a good content management system, that's a good place to put documentation.  
    Glad you reminded me about the e-mail question.  I am filling in for an instructor at UW Seattle for the legal class and I wanted to remind them of the importance of managing e-mail as well as other forms of collaborative technologies.  Sandra Nunn