Protected health information or “PHI” is any information that could be used, alone or with other readily available information, to identify an individual. Such identifiers include a patient’s:
- Address, or part of an address
- Birth date, hospital admission date, discharge date or other dates directly related to the individual
- Telephone number
- Email address or URL
- Medical record number
- Social security number
- Account number
- Insurance plan ID number
- Drivers license number or vehicle plate number
- Fingerprint or voiceprint
- Photograph or image
PHI can be written, electronic or verbal and refer to past, present or future physical or mental health care information. A printed discharge summary, a clinic schedule, and a conversation between two clinicians about a patient are all PHI. Regardless of the form the PHI is in, if the information could be used to identify a patient, it is covered by HIPAA.
For more information on PHI, see UWHC Policy 4.13: Protected Health Information.