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What information is protected?

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The Privacy Rule protects all ”individually identifiable health information” held or transmitted by a provider or its business associate, in any form or media, whether electronic, paper, or oral. The Privacy Rule calls this information “protected health information (PHI).” 

“Individually identifiable health information” is information, including demographic data, that relates to: 

  • the individual’s past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition
  • the provision of health care to the individual
  • the past, present, or future payment for the provision of healthcare to the individual
  • that identifies the individual or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe it can be used to identify the individual. Individually identifiable health information includes many common identifiers (e.g., name, address, birth date, Social Security Number)