CHA News Article

Office for Civil Rights Releases Guidance on De-Identifying PHI

Yesterday, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released guidance on methods and approaches to de-identify protected health information (PHI) in accordance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule. De-identification — the process of removing identifiers from PHI — mitigates privacy risks to individuals and thereby supports the secondary use of data for comparative effectiveness studies, policy assessment, life sciences research and other endeavors. The OCR guidance explains and answers questions regarding the two methods that can be used to satisfy the Privacy Rule’s de-identification standard: expert determination and safe harbor. The guidance is intended to help HIPAA-covered entities understand de-identification, the general process for de-identifying information, and the options available for performing the process. The guidance is available at