What is PHI?

Protected health information (PHI), also referred to as personal health information, is any health information that can be tied to an individual.

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PHI can be converted to ePHI. The HIPAA Privacy Rule covers both types of protected health information. The only difference is that healthcare organizations use and store ePHI electronically.

What can be PHI?

Under HIPAA protected health information includes one or more of the following 18 identifiers. If these identifiers are removed the information is considered de-identified protected health information, which is not subject to the restrictions of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

  • Names (Full or last name and initial)

  • Dates (other than year) directly related to an individual

  • Phone Numbers

  • Fax numbers

  • Email addresses

  • Social Security numbers

  • Medical record numbers

  • Health insurance beneficiary numbers

  • Account numbers

  • Certificate/license numbers

  • Vehicle identifiers (including serial numbers and license plate numbers)

  • Device identifiers and serial numbers

  • Web Uniform Resource Locators (URLs)

  • Internet Protocol (IP) address numbers

  • Biometric identifiers, including finger, retinal, and voice prints

  • Full face photographic images and any comparable images

  • Any other unique identifying number, characteristic, or code except the unique code assigned by the investigator to code the data

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