Protected Health Information

Protected Health Information (PHI) is information that is created or received by a health care provider and that relates to the physical or mental health condition of an individual; the provision of health care to the individual; and the payment information for the individual’s receipt of health care.

Identifiers

Health information that identifies the individual or for which there is a reasonable belief that the individual can be identified must be protected and privacy maintained.

Any of the following constitutes identifying health information:

  • Names, street address, city, county, precinct, zip code and equivalent geocodes
  • Birth date, admission date, discharge date, date of death, all ages over 89 and all elements of dates indicative of age
  • Telephone number, fax numbers, email address, social security numbers, medical record number, health plan beneficiary number, account numbers, certificate/license numbers, vehicle identifiers and serial numbers, including license plate numbers
  • URLs, biometric identifiers, including finger and voice prints
  • Full face photographic images and any comparable images
  • Any other unique identifying number, characteristic or code

Guidance Regarding Methods for De-identification of Protected Health Information in Accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule
http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/coveredentities/De-identification/guidance.html