Medical Waste Disposal & Secure Document Shredding

While secure document shredding is an issue in a number of industries, healthcare documents are unique in that they’re addressed under HIPAA. Additionally, in the healthcare industry, there is the concern of appropriately disposing of medical waste. If these two concerns are not properly addressed by your practice, there can be a number of negative consequences, so it’s important to be sure that you understand exactly what you’re dealing with and how best to complete these tasks.

What is medical waste?

Medical waste is a term used to describe waste that contains infectious material or is suspected to be infectious. This waste can be produced by doctors offices, dental practices, hospitals, labs, veterinary clinics, and medical research facilities. Sometimes this waste contains bodily fluid such as blood, and it’s most often generated during testing, diagnosis, treatment, immunization, and medical research. Items that are often considered medical waste include bandages, gloves, discarded sharps, swabs, and culture dishes.

There are other terms used to describe medical waste, among them: clinical waste, biomedical waste, regulated medical waste, biohazardous waste, healthcare waste, and infectious medical waste. While each of these terms can be used interchangeably, there is a distinction between medical waste that’s considered hazardous and that which is just general healthcare waste. Sharps, fluids, human tissue, and contaminated supplies are all considered biohazardous by the World Health Organization, while animal tissue and non-contaminated supplies are considered general medical waste. Technically, any waste that is produced in a healthcare facility is considered medical waste, but items such as kitchen waste and office paper aren’t considered hazardous.

What are the challenges with medical waste disposal?

Medical waste disposal must be completed properly in order to avoid serious consequences such as danger to your staff, patients, and the community, and potential fines or a loss in reputation. For this reason it’s imperative to choose a vendor who understands all regulations and the appropriate methods to dispose of medical waste properly. Unfortunately, this can be costly as waste disposal contracts can sometimes include annual price increases and extra fees, making it confusing and expensive to manage the disposal of medical waste.

Why is it important to securely shred documents?

The documents located in medical practices contain private patient information that must be disposed of by a professional company in order to ensure that its protected from theft. Medical documents must be thoroughly destroyed in a manner that doesn’t allow for them to be pieced together and most consumer paper shredders don’t have cross-cut capabilities. While you wouldn’t think criminals would spend potentially hours piecing together the tiny pieces of a shredded document, you’d be wrong. Cross-cutting makes that task much more challenging, though, and typically serves as a deterrent. All of this falls in line with maintaining HIPAA compliance, a must for your practice to survive.

How can MedPro help?

MedPro provides a transparent and inexpensive option for the proper management, removal, and disposal of medical waste. MedPro offers a tailor made disposal process for each practice’s specific needs and schedules pick up service according to the practice’s preferred schedule, while providing a manifest and proof of destruction. All of this is offered with pricing that is set for a full year and includes no hidden fees. Additionally, MedPro offers the options of regularly scheduled intervals or a one-time purge for secure document and data shredding.

The disposal of medical waste and secure shredding of documents are important to the operation of a medical practice, but it can be tricky to find the right vendor to provide solutions for these issues. It’s important to make sure that this disposal and shredding takes place appropriately in order to maintain safety and HIPAA compliance. MedPro, offered by Henry Schein Solutions Hub, provides solutions for both medical waste disposal and secure document shredding, and does so inexpensively and with no hidden fees. Are you ready to get started or get more information? Visit or call 833-433-2482 to learn more.