NRPM: Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information. a. Importance of directory information and need for protected health information.


When individuals enter inpatient facilities, they are not always able to contact people who may need to know their whereabouts, want to visit them, or want to send them flowers or some other expression of concern. Today, facilities typically operate patient directories, allowing confirmation of a person’s presence in a facility, providing the room number for visits and deliveries, and sometime providing general information on the patient’s condition. These services cannot be performed without disclosing protected health information. Since most patients find this a welcome convenience, we believe it would be important to allow these practices to continue. However, not everyone may appreciate this service. We are proposing to accommodate the wishes of such people, where possible.