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Enabling Privacy

Enabling Privacy: Data Segmentation

Detailed Control of Electronic Health Information

Patients value the privacy of their health information, and data segmentation in health information technology (health IT) allows them to have more detailed control over electronic versions of that health information.

“Data segmentation” is the term often used to describe the electronic labeling or tagging of a patient’s health information in a way that allows patients or providers to electronically share parts, but not all, of a patient record.

Health IT has previously not allowed for detailed or “granular” data segmentation, but technological advances are creating opportunities to segment and share data in a way once thought impossible. Technology is no longer the barrier to data segmentation.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) recently sponsored an initiative to promote breakthroughs in data segmentation technology. Called “Data Segmentation for Privacy (DS4P),” the initiative showed great success in supporting sensitive health information exchange.

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DS4P Initiative

In 2011, the DS4P Initiative launched with support from ONC’s Office of the Chief Privacy Officer (OCPO) and Office of Science and Technology (OST). DS4P challenged federal and private industry groups to develop technical specifications that would allow health IT systems to successfully segment health data. The initiative balanced two outcomes: 1) enabling free flow of sensitive health information between authorized users, and 2) protecting patient privacy as required by various state and federal laws. Learn more about the DS4P Initiative.

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Data Segmentation
and You

Data segmentation has implications for all of us, whether we are software developers, health care providers, or patients. Find out what you can do to learn more about data segmentation in your particular situation.






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Data Segmentation Video Gallery

Visit the Video Gallery to watch informative videos and connect with helpful briefings and articles about data segmentation.





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Enabling Meaningful Consent

Meaningful consent” occurs when 1) a patient makes an informed decision about the sharing of her health information, and 2) her decision is recorded and maintained. Learn more about how technology like data segmentation plays a role in:

  • Capturing and maintaining patient consent decisions
  • Identifying which sensitive portions of patient information are restricted from access
  • Communicating these restrictions electronically with others

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The Enabling Privacy web pages are provided for informational purposes only. They are not intended to be an exhaustive or definitive source on data segmentation, nor should the information contained herein be construed as legal advice.