A subset of health information that identifies the individual or can reasonably be used to identify the individual; HIPAA protects individually identifiable health information. Common individual identifiers include name, address, and social security number, but may also include date of birth, Zip Code, or county location. If the information is not individually identifiable, such as healthcare research information that only identifies a particular population, not individuals, then it is not protected by HIPAA. In research, this can get complicated, and further inquiry should be made when seeking a determination on a small population. IIHI only becomes PHI when a covered entity creates, receives, or maintains the information.
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