There are few legal requirements on how long medical records must be retained after the patient has been discharged from the hospital. From a risk management point of view, it would be desirable for all records to be retained indefinitely. Unfortunately, this would be economically difficult to justify, so reasonable criteria for the retention of records must be adopted. These criteria should balance the risk management benefit of retaining records against the economic problems associated with storing a large quantity of records that will seldom, if ever, needed.
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