Safe Harbor Versus The Statistical Method
To leverage protected health information (PHI) for secondary purposes, an understanding of the different de-identification mechanisms is required. Under the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), there are two methods for de-identification: Safe Harbor and the Statistical Method (otherwise known as Expert Determination). While both are under HIPAA’s privacy rule, they are not the same.
Safe Harbor offers a rules-based approach with a prescriptive list of patient identifiers that need to be masked for the data to be considered compliant. The Statistical Method requires an expert, a statistician, familiar with the properties of the data, perform techniques to transform identifiers.
This white paper discusses what each of these methods entails regarding protecting your organization and how they can enable better data for analytics, research or monetization.