X-Ray Film Scanners and Digitizers, X-Ray Film Scanning Services and Software

Old X-Ray Film and the Economy

posted Mar-19-2015

What do X-ray film and the economy have in common?  The answer is silver!

For hospitals, radiology labs, orthopedists or chiropractors who have large quantities of older x-ray film that is no longer needed and that is taking up storage space, 2015 just may be the year to clean out your files.  You’ll save in two ways:  (1) recouping the price of the silver that’s in the X-ray film; and, (2) saving the expense of storage space.

Why is 2015 the year to clean your X-ray files?  The answer to that is the economy…

Because global financial markets are dealing with massive debt and hyper monetary printing, investors are turning to precious metals and more are choosing to purchase silver rather than gold.


Additionally, the Fed is making noises about increasing the interest rate.  As soon as there is an indication that the Fed is seriously considering another round of “quantitative easing,” investors will begin to speculate on silver.  Demand drives up price.  So, those old X-rays will gradually increase in value, because of the silver content in them.  In fact, some investment advisors are predicting a surge in silver prices during the latter part of 2015.  If a new bull market emerges, silver prices could double or triple in a short period of time.

Bear in mind, however, that it takes a large number of X-rays to yield enough silver for it to pay off.  The amount of silver in one X-ray is negligible. However when you have 400 pounds or more of the material then you should expect to see a return, based on the silver price on the day the X-rays go to a recycling/reclaiming service.   That’s why we’re recommending that you start cleaning your files, and keep an eye on the economy, especially the price of silver.

Getting your old X-rays ready for recycling

  • Retention Requirements: First, make sure you’re abiding by all Federal and local laws when you prepare X-ray film for disposal.  While HIPAA doesn’t specifically not state the period of time any medical records should be kept prior to disposal, it is very common to keep the records for 7 years, however each state has its own rules for medical records retention period. Make sure you know what they are.
  • Privacy Requirements: The X-Ray film you have contains sensitive information about your patients that you required by HIPAA regulations to protect.  So, while getting the best price for the silver is an important part of the process, equally important is ensuring that the recycler is set up to maintain your patients’ privacy.  It’s usually easy to ascertain this, as the bona fide recyclers will be able to provide you with a HIPAA compliant certificate of destruction for not only the X-ray film, but also for the paper jackets and all other medical related records that are part of the X-ray files.
  • Environmental Requirements: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) licenses and registers all bona fide X-ray recyclers and requires them to process the X-rays in environmentally friendly ways.   You can easily check with the EPA to ensure that the recycler you choose is licensed and registered.

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