Patient’s Guide to HIPAA – Learning About HIPAA: What’s a Health Record?





You are reading the Patient’s Guide to HIPAA, FAQ 8

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FAQ 8: What’s a Health Record?

HIPAA introduces the term protected health information or PHI. The actual definition is a conglomeration of nested and complex terms with even longer exceptions. It is too messy to bother with here. Instead, we offer a rule of thumb that will work just fine most of the time.

A 2009 change in the statute made it clear that genetic information is PHI. That really didn’t change anything because genetic information is no different than any other information in a health record. Genetic information was already PHI.

Rule of Thumb

Any information that a covered entity (e.g., health care provider or insurer) has about you is PHI. It doesn’t matter if the information is medical, financial, or otherwise. We tend to use the more traditional term – health record or medical record – here, but we mean PHI.



Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 1: Learning About HIPAA (FAQ 8 of 65)

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