Doctors, Covered Entities, and HIPAA or: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the PHI

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  • As a HIPAA covered entity, the Duke University Medical Center Archives (DUMCA) strives to provide access to collections without violating the law. Both Rebecca Williams, Archives Librarian for Research, Outreach, and Education and Lucy Waldrop, Assistant Director and Technical Services Librarian, work together with our interns to evaluate, restrict, and provide access to collections with patient information. We will present short case studies of four collections and the different ways that we navigated access to these materials. The collections, which represent a mixture of legacy and new collections, are the Highland Hospital Records, Walter Kempner Papers and Records, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Records, and Department of Neurosurgery Records. From both a technical services and reference perspective, the DUMCA has historically maintained a risk adverse mentality combined with MPLP by indicating, but not separating PHI from collections and pushing researchers towards the IRB approval. When a concerted effort is made by Technical Services to identify and clearly restrict PHI at the time of accessioning and processing, it not only gives the archivist more control over the collection, but it also makes the materials more readily accessible by lessening post processing review of records.
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