The PHI in HIPPA stands for Protected Health Information. This information is considered confidential and must be safeguarded in order to protect the privacy of patients. The PHI can include, but isn’t limited to, a patient’s medical records, health history, and any other information that could potentially identify the patient.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires covered entities to take reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality of PHI. There are a few exceptions to the general rule that PHI must be kept confidential.
For example, if a patient specifically requests that his or her information be shared with a specific individual or organization, the covered entity may do so. Additionally, covered entities may disclose PHI without patient consent in certain situations, such as when required by law or when necessary to prevent a serious threat to the patient’s health or safety.
It’s important to note that the HIPAA Privacy Rule is not absolute. There are circumstances in which covered entities may disclose PHI without patient consent. However, covered entities must take care to ensure that any such disclosures are made in accordance with the Privacy Rule and do not violate the patient’s rights.