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Yes. The HIPAA Privacy Rule explicitly permits a covered entity to reasonably rely on a researcher’s documentation of an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Privacy Board waiver of authorization pursuant to 45 CFR 164.512(i) that the information requested is the minimum necessary for the research purpose. See 45 CFR 164.514(d)(3)(iii).
We do not believe that the Privacy Rule will hinder medical research. Indeed, patients and health plan members should be more willing to authorize disclosures of their information for research and to participate in research when they know their information is protected.
Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, IRBs and Privacy Boards need to use their judgment as to whether the waiver criteria have been satisfied.
No. The Privacy Rule does not address conditions for enrollment in a research study. Therefore, the Privacy Rule in no way prohibits researchers from conditioning enrollment in a research study on the execution of an authorization for the use of pre-existing health information.
Yes. A covered entity may use or disclose protected health information without individuals’ authorizations for the creation of a research database, provided the covered entity obtains documentation that an IRB or Privacy Board has determined that the specified waiver criteria were satisfied.
Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, covered entities may use or disclose protected health information from existing databases or repositories for research purposes either with individual authorization as required at 45 CFR 164.508, or with a waiver of individual authorization as permitted at 45 CFR 164.512(i).
Recognizing that some institutions may not have IRBs, or that some IRBs may not have the expertise needed to review research that requires consideration of risks to privacy, the Privacy Rule permits the covered entity to accept documentation of waiver of authorization from an alternative body called a Privacy Board–which could have fewer members, and members with different expertise than IRBs.
No. Where both the Privacy Rule and the Common Rule apply, both regulations must be followed. The Privacy Rule regulates only the content and conditions of the documentation that covered entities must obtain before using or disclosing protected health information for research purposes.
No. The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires documentation of waiver approval by either an IRB or a Privacy Board, not both.
The IRB or Privacy Board could be created by the covered entity or the recipient researcher, or it could be an independent board.
With few exceptions, the Privacy Rule gives patients the right to inspect and obtain a copy of health information about themselves that is maintained by a covered entity or its business associate in a “designated record set.”
Yes. Under the Privacy Rule, a patient’s authorization is for the use and disclosure of protected health information for research purposes. In contrast, an individual’s informed consent, as required by the Common Rule and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) human subjects regulations, is a consent to participate in the research study as a whole, not simply a consent for the research use or disclosure of protected health information.
A researcher is a covered health care provider if he or she furnishes health care services to individuals, including the subjects of research, and transmits any health information in electronic form in connection with a transaction covered by the Transactions Rule.
A covered entity that qualifies as a hybrid entity, meaning that the entity is a single legal entity that performs both covered and non-covered functions, may choose whether it wants to be a hybrid entity. If such a covered entity decides not to be a hybrid entity then it, and all of its components, are subject to the Privacy Rule in its entirety. Therefore, if a researcher is an employee or workforce member of a covered entity that has decided not to be a hybrid entity, the researcher is part of the covered entity and is, therefore, subject to the Privacy Rule.
Covered entities may continue to use and disclose protected health information that was obtained prior to the time the individual revoked his or her authorization, as necessary to maintain the integrity of the research study.
The preparatory research provision permits covered entities to use or disclose protected health information for purposes preparatory to research, such as to aid study recruitment. However, the provision at 45 CFR 164.512(i)(1)(ii) does not permit the researcher to remove protected health information from the covered entity’s site.
No. Documentation of IRB or Privacy Board approval of an alteration or waiver of individual authorization is only needed before a covered entity may use or disclose protected health information under 45 CFR 164.512(i)(1)(i).
If informed consent or reconsent (ie., asked to sign a revised consent or another informed consent) is obtained from research subjects after the compliance date, the covered entity must obtain individual authorization as required at 45 CFR 164.508 for the use or disclosure of protected health information once the consent obtained before the compliance date is no longer valid for the research.
Yes. The Office for Human Research Protections is a public health authority under the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Therefore, covered entities can continue to disclose protected health information to report adverse events to the Office for Human Research Protections either with patient authorization as provided at 45 CFR 164.508, or without patient authorization for public health activities as permitted at 45 CFR 164.512(b).
Yes. The Office for Human Research Protections is a health oversight agency under the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Therefore, covered entities can continue to disclose protected health information to the Office for Human Research Protections for such compliance investigations either with patient authorization as provided at 45 CFR 164.508, or without patient authorization for health oversight activities as permitted at 45 CFR 164.512(d).