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Does HIPAA really permit reminding patients to pick up their prescriptions?

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

We get calls and text messages from pharmacies¬†like CVS, reminding us that it is time to pick up and/or renew our prescriptions for drugs or other medical items. When you think about HIPAA, this is confusing. In many cases, these reminders constitute Protected Health Information (PHI) … so is this really allowed?

The default answer of “it must be OK if CVS is doing it” is naive as it loses all of the context about what is and is not permitted and does not shed any insight into when and how other organizations may¬†similarly inform or remind patients of things such as prescriptions and appointments.

Is it really PHI?

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