Protected Health Information (PHI)

For use under the HIPAA Policies of the University of Colorado

Protected Health Information (PHI) is a person or patient's information related to:

Past, Present, Future

Mental or Physical Health

(or related billing information)

Connected to an individual identifier

(18 listed below)

Can come in all forms

including oral, written, electronic, etc.

Excludes employment records and education records (think HR/FERPA)

PHI can be shared without a patient’s authorization for purposes of:



     Healthcare O-perations

18 identifiers that can connect an individual to their PHI

Remember, per the definition above, PHI is not limited to these 18 identifiers

  1. Names;
  2. All geographical subdivisions smaller than a State, including street address, city, county, precinct, zip code, and their equivalent geocodes, except for the initial three digits of a zip code, if according to the current publicly available data from the Bureau of the Census: (1) The geographic unit formed by combining all zip codes with the same three initial digits contains more than 20,000 people; and (2) The initial three digits of a zip code for all such geographic units containing 20,000 or fewer people is changed to 000;
  3. All elements of dates (except year) for dates directly related to an individual, including birth date, admission date, discharge date, date of death; and all ages over 89 and all elements of dates (including year) indicative of such age, except that such ages and elements may be aggregated into a single category of age 90 or older;
  4. Telephone numbers;
  5. Fax numbers;
  6. E-mail addresses;
  7. Social Security numbers;
  8. Medical records numbers;
  9. Health plan beneficiary numbers;
  10. Account numbers;
  11. Certificate/license numbers;
  12. Vehicle identifiers and serial numbers, including license plates;
  13. Device identifiers and serial numbers;
  14. Web Universal Resource Locators (URLs);
  15. Internet Protocol (IP) address numbers;
  16. Biometric identifiers (including finger and voice prints);
  17. Full face photographic images and any comparable images; and,
  18. Any other unique identifying number, characteristic, or code (with some exceptions and requirements).

HIPAA Contacts

Alison Lakin

Signatory Official, Empowered Official Research Integrity Officer
  • Regulatory Compliance


Primary Phone:303-724-1010

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