Table 1

PHI types defined by HIPAA

PHI Type



Both full and partial, but not initials


All geographic subdivisions smaller than a state, including street address, city, county, precinct, zip code, and their equivalent geocodes


All elements of dates (except years) for dates directly related to an individual, including birth date, admission date, discharge date, date of death

Ages > 89 years

All elements of dates (including year) indicative of an age over 89 years. Such ages and elements may be aggregated into a single category of age 90 or older

Telephone numbers

Fax numbers

Electronic mail addresses

Social security numbers

Medical record numbers

Health plan beneficiary numbers

Account numbers

Certificate/license numbers

Vehicle identifiers

Includes vehicle serial numbers and license plate numbers

Device identifiers and serial numbers

Not restricted to medical devices

Web Universal Resource Locators (URLs)

Internet Protocol (IP) address numbers

Biometric identifiers

Includes finger and voice prints

Any other unique identifying number, code, or characteristic

E.g., full face photographic images of full faces, scars or tattoos (and any comparable images).

Neamatullah et al. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2008 8:32   doi:10.1186/1472-6947-8-32

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