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HIPAA - Individually Identifiable Information: Know the Rules! ,,,,,, from Harmony Healthcare International, Inc.

 Privacy Rule. One such policy includes incidental use and disclosure of confidential health information (also known as Protected Health Information or “PHI”). Per the requirements in the HIPAA Privacy Rule (See 45 CFR 164.530), protect the confidentiality of individually identifiable patient health and financial information from any unauthorized intentional or unintentional use or disclosure.

For clarity,  Protected Health Information (PHI) is defined as any information in the medical record or designated record set that can be used to identify an individual and that was created, used, or disclosed in the course of providing a health care service such as diagnosis or treatment.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule specifies the following pieces of “Individually Identifiable Information” that, when linked with health or medical information, constitute PHI (45 CFR 164.514):

    Names of the individual, and relatives, employers or household members of the individual
    Geographic identifiers of the individual, including subdivisions smaller than a state, street addresses, city, country and precinct
    Zip code at any level less than the initial three digits; except if the initial 3 digits cover a geographic area of 20,000 or less people, then zip code is considered an identifier
    All elements of dates, except year, or dates directly related to an individual including birth date, admission date, discharge date, date of death and all ages over 89 and all elements of dates (including year) indicative of such age, except that such ages and elements may be aggregated into a single category of age 90 or older
    Telephone numbers
    Fax numbers
    Electronic mail addresses
    Social security numbers
    Medical record numbers
    Health plan beneficiary numbers
    Account numbers
    Certificate/license numbers
    Vehicle identifiers and serial numbers, including license plate numbers
    Device identifiers and serial numbers
    Web Universal Resource Locators (URLs)
    Internet Protocol (IP) address numbers
    Biometric identifiers, including finger and voice prints
    Full-face photographic images and any comparable images
    Any other unique identifying number, characteristic, or code

Failure to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) can result in Civil and Criminal penalties. These civil and criminal penalties can apply to both Covered Entities and Individuals.

If you have questions regarding HIPAA or need help maintaining compliance, please click here to contact Harmony Healthcare International or call them at (800) 530-4413.