Limited Data Set

Limited Data Set and Data Use Agreement

HIPAA allows access for research purposes to health information that includes a limited number of identifiers. This health information, called a Limited Data Set, can include dates, zip codes and city, and any other unique identifying number, characteristic, or code that is not expressly precluded in the list below:

Elements that must be stripped: Name; social security number; street address; e-mail address; telephone number; fax number; certificate/license number; vehicle identification number; personal Web page URL; IP address; full-page photos or other comparable identifying images; medical record number; health plan beneficiary number; any other account number; medical device identifier or serial number; biometric identifiers include fingerprints and voice prints.

Thus, a limited data set can include dates of admission, discharge or other services; dates of birth or death; age of participant (including those over 90 years of age); full five digit zip code and any other geographic subdivision such as county, city, precinct, and equivalent geocode (except street address).

The request for a Limited Data Set for research purposes must be submitted to the BUMC IRB Office when you submit your research application. You will also need to complete a Data Use Agreement, which represents a formal agreement between you (the investigator) and “covered entities” that hold the health information. You do not need to submit your Data Use Agreement to the IRB office for review. Only submit your Limited Data Set request. The Privacy Advocate will return your stamped request to you. You can then present your stamped Limited Data Set request to the “covered entity,” you and the covered entity will sign the Data Use Agreement, and you will then be able to access the health information you need.

To acquire health information from BMC for research purposes, present your approved request form to: Ellen Jamieson, Grants Administration, Gambro 2, 617-414-5646. She will direct you to the source of information you need.




July 29, 2012
Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine