HIPAA regulations for research institutes

Does HIPAA apply to research institutes like the National Library of Medicine or National Cancer Institute at NIH? For example, patient data may be transmitted within these organizations but not necessarily insurance data.
Research is covered under HIPAA and, for the most part, these organizations have to comply. Research is not considered treatment, payment or operations (TPO) under HIPAA like many other day-to-day health care issues. It's likely researchers can work as business associates, so both the research organization and the covered entity they are dealing with need to enter into contract negotiations since both are liable. There are several issues that must be considered such as obtaining authorization for use or disclosure of protected health information (PHI), using unidentified PHI and/or limited data sets, etc. This is definitely an area where researchers need to consult with a HIPAA consultant or attorney to see exactly how their PHI usage needs to be handled.
For more information on this topic, visit these other SearchSecurity.com resources:
  • Featured Topic: HIPAA: After the privacy deadline
  • On-demand webcast: HIPAA -- Where are we and where are we going?
  • Executive Security Briefing: Instilling a HIPAA mindset

  • This was first published in June 2003

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