What is the significance of protected health information (PHI)? It’s personal identifiable health data that HIPAA handles and protects. It includes any data in a medical record that can identify an individual and was developed or disclosed to a covered entity while offering a health care service like a treatment or a diagnosis. This article discusses what protected health information is.
Concrete Examples of PHI Information
PHI includes both health information and personally identifiable information (PII). Also, it consists of a person’s mental or physical health condition at any point in time. Some examples of PHI information include:
- Patient names
- Telephone numbers
- Email addresses
- Any type of dates
- Driver’s license information
- Medical record numbers
- Names of relatives
- Account numbers
- Biometric identifiers such as voice or finger prints
In fact, PHI may show up in many documents, forms, and communications. They also come in an MRI scan, billing information from your physician, phone records, blood exam results, or via an appointment scheduling note with your doctor’s office.
Instances of Data Not Considered PHI
However, not all PII is protected health information. For example, some medical information is not PHI because it’s not personally identifiable or connected with a covered entity. Some examples of non-PHI data include the number of calories a person burns, the number of steps in a pedometer, heart rate readings without PII, and blood sugar readings without personally identifiable information.
Tips for Ensuring PHI Integrity
Personal information leaks may and will occur. Devices containing PHI might get lost or stolen. In addition, accidental disclosures or failure to eliminate confidential documents also represent wrongdoing. Consequently, that leads to nothing good for everybody in and out of the business.
Moreover, employers are legally obligated to discuss PHI with every one of their employees. So, making privacy protocols around documents is crucial. Additionally, regularly training your staff to understand and implement the rules. Lastly, ensure that hard drives containing sensitive data are correctly encrypted against potential intrusion.
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