Protected health information
Protected health information is any data recorded—whether orally or in writing—that is created by an individual that has direct involvement in either the patient’s physical or mental health or the payment provided for such services.
Protected information can also include data that is not directly involved with the patient’s treatment. Information such as a person’s address or phone number is also considered protected data. This data must be kept securely to prevent access from unauthorized persons.
The intent of the HIPAA law is to provide patients with privacy in this, especially sensitive and personal area. The safeguards provided to protected data ensure that a patient’s health information will be shared only with those the patient has authorized.