Health Information Management

BAAs, faxing, and customer surveys

Briefings on HIPAA, November 1, 2016

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Q: I recently received a customer satisfaction survey from a medical supply company. The survey was printed on a postcard, not enclosed in an envelope. The survey is generic and doesn't include information about what services or supplies were received, but it does show my name and address and the name of the company. Anyone looking at it could know, or assume, that I received medical supplies. I don't feel this is appropriate, but I'm not sure if this is a HIPAA concern.

A: Since no PHI was disclosed, this is not a HIPAA violation. If the survey were targeted to a specific type of supply, such as diabetes test kits, it could be considered a HIPAA violation because it disclosed information about your medical condition. A generic survey, such as the one you received, is not a concern.

This question was answered by Mary D. Brandt, MBA, RHIA, CHE, CHPS. Brandt is a healthcare consultant specializing in healthcare regulatory compliance and operations improvement. She is also an advisory board member for BOH. This information does not constitute legal advice. Consult legal counsel for answers to specific privacy and security questions. Opinions expressed are those of the author and do not represent HCPro or ACDIS. Email your HIPAA questions to Associate Editor Nicole Votta at nvotta@hcpro.com.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Briefings on HIPAA.

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