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Glossary Terms

What is Protected Health Information (PHI)?

Glossary

Protected health information (PHI) refers to the personal health information that is gathered for an individual patient across their lifetime. It includes the following:

  • Demographic data
  • Medical history
  • Laboratory results
  • Insurance information
  • Medical billing data
  • Mental health records

It may also include any other data that a health professional collects in order to better describe and diagnose the patient.

How Is Protected Health Information (PHI) Managed?

Since 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) has been the primary law regulating the use and accessing of personal patient information.

According to HIPPA, PHI includes data that relates to the past, present, or future health of an individual. This data must be protected and only provided to personnel who have the authority to view it and will maintain its confidentiality.

HIPPA also regulates how this data is created, transmitted, collected, stored, and maintained by each organization, hospital, private practice, and so on.

What Kind of Information Is Considered PHI?

The healthcare system deals with a lot of private information from patients, but it must ensure that this information stays secure and that it is not misused by an outside source.

PHI can be stored in the form of paper-based forms or as a digital information. Each type of stored system has its own rules and regulations about how the data should be stored and processed, and HIPPA ensures that everything is carried out lawfully at all times.

The most common information that is part of PHI includes the following:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Social Security number
  • Medical record number
  • Health plan beneficiary number
  • Full-face photographs
  • Medical history
  • Medical diagnoses and treatment such as prescription information
  • Prescriptions
  • Test, radiology, and laboratory results
  • Mental health conditions and treatments

When Does PHI Start Being Stored?

From birth, a person should own their PHI data and control who has access to it. The record will develop across their lifetime and should always remain in their control.

Sometimes, scientists will use this data after anonymizing it to carry out research about a specific illness or the typical and atypical changes that happen in a person’s life.

How TempDev Can Help You Protect PHI

TempDev’s team of experienced consultants, developers, and trainers are here to support enhanced accessibility, as well as customized features and templates. This enables you and your patients to have more control over data with improved transparency. 

As part of our streamlining process, we help you implement the Patient Portal, API, and other tools to better support safety, patient engagement, and security. From dashboards to automation and workflow redesign, TempDev offers the comprehensive resources and tools you need to ensure compliance. 

Contact us here or by calling us at 888.TEMP.DEV to ensure compliance with protecting PHI and HIPAA regulations.

Related terms:

Electronic Health Record (EHR)Read article
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