NRPM: Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information. a. Importance of judicial and administrative process and the need for protected health information.


Protected health information is often needed as part of an administrative or judicial proceeding. Examples of such proceedings would include personal injury or medical malpractice cases or other lawsuits in which the medical condition of a person is at issue, and judicial or administrative proceedings to determine whether an illness or injury was caused by workplace conditions or exposure to environmental toxins. The information may be sought well before a trial or hearing, to permit the party to discover the existence or nature of testimony or physical evidence, or in conjunction with the trial or hearing, in order to obtain the presentation of testimony or other evidence. These uses of health information are clearly necessary to allow the smooth functioning of the legal system. Requiring the authorization of the subject prior to disclosure could mean that crucial information would not be available, and could be unfair to persons who have been wronged.