The effects of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy rule on influenza research using geographical information systems

Norisse Tellman, Eric R. Litt, Caprice Knapp, Aaron Eagan, Jing Cheng, Lewis J. Radonovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rule was enacted to protect patients' personal health information from undue disclosure. Despite its intention to protect patients, recent reports suggest that HIPAA restrictions may be negatively impacting health research. Quantitative, visual geographical and statistical analysis of zip code geographical information systems (GIS) mapping, comparing 3-digit HIPAA-compliant and 5-digit HIPAA-non-compliant simulated data, was chosen to identify and describe the type of distortion that may result. It was found that unmitigated HIPAA compliance with HIPAA mapping rules distorted the GIS zip code data by 28% leading to erroneous results. Thus, compliance with HIPAA privacy rule when mapping may lead investigators to publish erroneous GIS maps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalGeospatial Health
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2010

Keywords

  • Geographical information systems
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Infectious disease
  • Infectious disease transmission
  • Influenza
  • Outbreak

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Health Policy

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