Will You De-Identify Your Patients’ PHI?

Wed, Apr 7, 2010

HIT Help Desk

De-identification safe harbors in the new HIPAA Privacy rule may be tempting: The new penalty provisions of the rule do not apply – nor does HIPAA in general – to the loss or disclosure of protected health information that has been “de-identified,” or, so to speak, “cleaned.”

If your practice or organization is interested in learning how to de-identify health information so that you don’t have to worry quite so much about the new penalties – which can now reach $1.5 million – read on for a primer, along with the possible downsides.

CMS is taking the de-identification provision of the regs seriously and trying to figure out what it means. The agency held a Workshop on the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s De-Identification Standard on March 8-9, 2010 in Washington, DC and has promised to “synthesize the input from workshop panelists and general comments to incorporate into…

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