(Expert) 23 August 2012
There is no clear Act / Rules / Circulars / Guidelines and it is logistic nightmare for many hospitals in private and public sectors to retain medical records. However many follow WHO and or HIPPA Guidelines and number of State level Conferences and discussions and research papers were submitted on asked query from time to time.
A general reply based on both larger public and stake holders best interest is as follows;
1. Where there is chance of litigation arising for medical purpose of negligence, record should be preserved for at least 25 years, specially because there are rules where the minors have the rights to sue the doctor within three years from the date of majority, for the injuries sustained due to negligence of the doctor during the period of his minority.
2. Other medico legally important records should be preserved upto 10 years after which they can be destroyed after making index and recording summary of the case.
3. Routine cases records may be preserved upto 6 years after completion of treatment and upto 3 years after death of the patient.
4. There are certain records in hospital, which are of public interest and are transferred to public records library after 50 years for release to public and those involve confidentiality of the individuals are released only after 100 years.