Can some please write a summary of how dentists handle their patients' information?
Like other medical professionals, they have their patients sign a legal document (HIPAA), a Privacy and Security Regulation http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/index.html
According to the ADA, "The HIPAA Privacy Rule, which went into effect April 14, 2003, requires covered health care providers, including covered dentists, to protect patients' PHI, inform patients of their rights under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, provide an accounting of uses and disclosures of information and maintain accurate records of Privacy-related incidents."
This lets patients know that they will handle their confidential information properly. By law, they will not discuss their personal information. Many professionals keep the records for a decade, whether they return or not. Even if they pass away, records are generally retained for legal reasons.
Reasonable assurance that the files will be secure from nosey people are recommended but locks are not mandatory. It is recommended that stickers be used to indicate patient issues such as allergies or other serious medical issues.
Most dentists and other medical professionals keep a paper file, with patient signatures and also maintain histories in a computer database.
State and federal laws or regulations determine how it is handled, how long it is kept and who may have access to the information. The dental record provides for continuity of care for the patient and is critical in the event of a malpractice insurance claim.
Generally, after ...
The US governmental document, HIPA, outlines how a patient's dental information should be handled by dental offices.