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VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System Research Services


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VA Ann Arbor Research Service - Research Records


Retention and Disposal of Temporary Research Records

Research records that have met their Records Control Schedule (RCS), by the approved NARA schedule or other contractual obligation (whichever retention schedule is longest), may be disposed of. Any temporary research records created as part of VAAAHS approved research are subject to the approved NARA schedule for disposition, and must remain VAAAAHS property even if an investigator transfers to another facility. Inventory of destroyed records is required to be maintained by a Research Service Records Liaison (RL). Temporary records may not be disposed of until the retention period in the RCS has been met.

  • Paper Records. Paper records may be destroyed using approved shred bins. Prior to destruction, the RL must complete VA Form 7468 (Request for Disposition of Records).   This form is to be completed by the Service Records Liaison (Catherine Kaczmarek/Terry Robinson/ Sheena Hatcher), signed by the Records Officer and a file copy is to be kept by both, the RL and the RO. Please contact the Research Office BEFORE the disposition of research records.
  • Compact Discs/DVDs. CD/DVD’s are collected and boxed by the Research Service RL, prior to having another contractor pick them up, taking them to their facility, shredding them, and providing us a certified copy of that destruction. A VA Form 7468 will need to be completed to prove that VA was the owner of those files. The current contractor we use to destroy CD/DVDs is: Rapid Shred, LLC. Please contact the Research Office if you have CD/DVDs that have past their retention period.
  • Electronic records Stored on VA Servers. At study completion, all investigator files should transfer to a file maintained by the research RL. The research RL utilizes a naming convention to track the study and disposition date for the files. Files stored on VA servers, when they have met their retention requirement, can be destroyed by deleting the file. It will be over-written and it will be no longer retrievable. The RL will maintain record of what was deleted and when.
  • Electronic records Stored on Non-VA servers. The mechanism for storage and deletion of VA records stored on non-VA servers must be detailed in contractual agreement. Issues such as third-party back-up servers and encryption are typical issues dealt with in these arrangements; use of VA servers wherever possible is strongly preferred.
  • Electronic Records Stored on Portable Media. Portable media used to store VA records, such as external hard-drives, or thumb-drives must be handled in accordance with current information security guidelines. The Information Security Officer must perform a sanitization of the portable media device and provide documentation of having completed the sanitization. A copy of that documentation must be provided to the Research Service RL for record-keeping.