Part 1: Learning About HIPAA (FAQ 5 of 65)
5. Who is a Patient?
Interestingly, HIPAA does not use the term patient. Not everyone who
is the subject of a health record is a patient. For example, you may be
the beneficiary of a health insurance policy. The insurer has information
about you, but you are not the insurer's patient. Even if that information
is only your name, address, and plan number, it is protected health information
(PHI) under HIPAA. The HIPAA rule addresses this problem by using the
term individual, but we find that term a bit jarring. We use the more
familiar term patient here because just about everyone is a patient eventually.
HIPAA's individual and our patient are identical. (For more about
what we mean by the term protected health information, see FAQ 8.)