In an electronic health information exchange environment, what is a designated record set for purposes of an individual’s right of access under the HIPAA Privacy Rule?
To the extent covered entities maintain their own electronic records systems, their choice to link those systems to a network for electronic health information exchange purposes would not necessarily change the status of information maintained within their designated record sets. That is, information that meets the definition of a designated record set remains part of the designated record set even if that information is linked to a network. See 45 C.F.R. § 164.501 (definition of “designated record set”). Covered entities should be aware, however, that whatever information they import into their electronic records via a network may become an integrated part of their designated record set(s). Network participation alone, however, would not make all other information about the individual that is accessible through the network part of a covered entity’s designated record set. Thus, the ability to link to information through a network does not obligate a covered entity to provide access to the designated record set of another entity participating in the network.