Whenever fact sheets or other guidance is issued by either the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) or the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), it helps gain insight into the thinking of the regulators so we watch it closely.

But when the ONC and OCR issues joint guidance, it is hitting the jackpot.

This week, the ONC and OCR issued a joint fact sheet regarding the use of protected health information (PHI) for public health activities. The fact sheet presents nine different scenarios where PHI may be used and disclosed for public health purposes in compliance with HIPAA. The scenarios include:

  • Exchange for Reporting of Disease
  • Exchange for Conduct of Public Health Surveillance
  • Exchange for Public Health Investigations
  • Exchange Subject to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Jurisdiction
  • Exchange for Persons Exposed to Communicable Disease and for Related Public Health Investigation
  • Exchange in Support of Medical Surveillance of the Workplace
  • Using Certified Electronic Health Record Technology

The Fact Sheet is clear, easy to understand, and very helpful. It is a worthwhile read.