Health Information Management

Q: May staff members in the home health field e-mail patient information if they use initials only?

HIM-HIPAA Insider, September 8, 2008

A: HIPAA considers PHI de-identified if it doesn’t contain any one of 18 specific identifiers, such as the patient’s name or medical record number. Initials are not one of the 18 identifiers, so this practice is acceptable.
 
Editor's note: Mary Brandt, president of Bellaire, TX-based Brandt & Associates, LLC, answered this question. This is not legal advice. Consult your attorney on legal matters.

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