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Definitions of HIPAA Terms

Definitions of HIPAA Terms

Business Associate/Partner

A person or organization that performs a function on behalf of a covered entity, but is not part of the covered entity's workforce.

Chain of Trust

A pattern of agreements that extends protection of health care data by requiring each covered entity that shares health care data with another entity to require the same level of data protection that the covered entity must observe.

Code Sets

A set of codes used to encode data elements, such as tables of terms, medical concepts, medical diagnostic codes, or medical procedure codes. This includes both the codes and the descriptions.

Covered Entity

A health plan, health care clearinghouse of provider who transmits health information electronically in connection with a HIPAA transaction.

Electronic Signature

Electronic transmission and authentication of signatures.

Health Care Clearinghouse

An entity that processes or helps to process nonstandard data elements of health information into standard data elements.

Health Care Provider

A provider of service and any other person or organization who furnishes, bills, or is paid for health care in the normal course of business.

Health Plan

An individual or group plan that provides or pays the cost of medical care (i.e. HMOs, Medicaid, Champus, Medicare).

Individually Identifiable Health Information

Information that is created or received by a covered entity; relates to the physical or mental health condition of an individual, provision of health care or the payment for the provision of health care; identifies the individual or there is reasonable belief that the information can be used to identify the individual.

Protected Health Information

Any piece of information created or received that could reveal the identity of the patient in conjunction with health related information (diagnosis, medical records, phone calls)


Administrative, technical and physical safeguards set in place to ensure integrity, confidentiality, and availability of protected health information.

Transaction Sets

Defined formats to exchange data electronically for each specific administrative and financial transaction.