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Patient Records and Identifiable Health Information

The HIPAA Privacy Rule (2013) applies to individually identifiable health information held by the Medical Archives which is part of the Johns Hopkins entity covered by the Rule. It applies to identifiable health information of living individuals and individuals desceased for less than 50 years. A covered entity may permit researchers to access and use information protected by the Rule when such requests are determined by the institution's Privacy Board to meet specific criteria (under certain circumstances, researchers may be permitted to access the health information of decedents after making certain representations to the covered entity related to privacy protection). It allows access and use of personally identifiable health information for purposes of research with stipulations for protection of identifiers.

Maryland law governs the confidentiality of Medical Records. Under Maryland state statute, a “medical record” is defined as any oral, written or other transmission in any form or medium of information that: (1) is entered in the record of a patient or recipient; (2) identifies or can readily be associated with the identity of a patient or recipient; and (3) relates to the health care of the patient or recipient. See Md. Code Ann., Health-Gen. I § 4-301 (g) (1) (Supp. 1999); see also id. § 4-301 (g) (2) (listing inclusive examples of “medical records”). The code does allow for disclosures without authorization of person in interest for educational or research purposes, subject to the applicable requirements of an institutional review board. Researchers must sign an acknowledgement of the duty under the Act not to re-disclose any patient identifying information.

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