Currently, a hospital information system uses Social Security numbers as one of the key fields for patient identification....
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive emails regarding relevant topic offers from TechTarget and its partners. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Contact TechTarget at 275 Grove Street, Newton, MA.
This system enables the merging of patients' info into an enterprise patient ID. Is the use of Social Security numbers by this system considered a HIPAA violation? If so, would redesigning the entire patient ID system be the only answer?
Use of Social Security numbers (SSNs) is not a violation of HIPAA unless the number is used in such a way that it is clearly exposed to the public. So, as an example, if an organization is using Social Security numbers as the patient identifier, the full ID cannot be displayed on member cards. Similarly, computer monitors need to be set up so that patients' Personal Health Information (PHI), including their SSNs and diagnoses, are not viewable by other patients or unauthorized personnel.
Without further information about what the enterprise patient IDs looks like, it is hard to say for certain that this is not a violation of HIPAA, but at first blush it sounds acceptable, especially if this ID is not being printed on ID cards.
For more information:
- Read more about avoiding HIPAA violations involving Social Security numbers.
- Can SSNs be printed on insurance cards under HIPAA? Learn more.
Dig Deeper on HIPAA
Related Q&A from David Mortman
While IT security consultancies can be helpful when trying to find flaws in an information security management framework, there are ways to do it ...continue reading
PCI DSS audits can be a lot easier if the scope is narrow. Learn how to consolidate and store sensitive data in order to best reduce PCI DSS security...continue reading
When hiring an information security team member, how important is a certification in information security? Learn how to talk to executives about ...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.