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Navigating HIPAA in a Geospatial World

Data can be either useful or perfectly anonymous but never both. Unfortunately, this seems to be a foundational belief about data privacy. This meetup will challenge that view specific to being able to use GIS with protected health information. We know that population health improvement and community development efforts, among others, require local geospatial data to inform policy creation, planning, programming, evaluation, and other critical decision-making processes. This meetup will explain how organizations can benefit from geospatial intelligence while still adhering to the HIPAA Privacy Rule. We will review geography guidelines within HIPAA and then cover GIS processes such as geocoding, cartographic and aggregation methods, and point geomasking. Attendees will gain the tools they need to inform their own organization's decisions on expert determination (Section 164.514[b][1] of the Privacy Rule) and which methods best support their data use needs.

Specifically, you'll learn about the following:

  • How data deidentification works under HIPAA
  • Why most GIS work falls under the expert determination method
  • What the numerator and denominator rules are and how they relate to reidentification risk
  • Safety considerations when geocoding protected health information
  • Aggregation and cartographic methods that can be used for visual data display
  • Geomasking techniques and statistics for obfuscating point data while still retaining spatial patterns

Date and Time

February 28 at 11:00 a.m. (PT)