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Table 1 Aggregated list of potential patient identifiers in datasets

From: Preparing raw clinical data for publication: guidance for journal editors, authors, and peer reviewers

Identifier (information sources)

Comments

Direct

 

Name [916]

 

Initials [14]

 

Address, including full or partial postal code [916]

 

Telephone or fax numbers or contact information [9, 11, 13, 16]

 

Electronic mail addresses [9]

 

Unique identifying numbers [916]

Generalised HIPPA item 7-10, 18

Vehicle identifiers [9]

 

Medical device identifiers [9]

 

Web or internet protocol addresses [9]

 

Biometric data [9]

 

Facial photograph or comparable image [9, 11, 12, 14]

 

Audiotapes [12]

 

Names of relatives [11]

 

Dates related to an individual (including date of birth) [9, 10, 12, 16]

 

Indirect--may present a risk if present in combination with others in the list

Place of treatment or health professional responsible for care [11, 16]

Could be inferred from investigator affiliations

Sex [10]

 

Rare disease or treatment [11]

 

Sensitive data, such as illicit drug use or "risky behaviour" [16]

 

Place of birth [11, 16]

 

Socioeconomic data, such as occupation or place of work, income, or education [10, 11, 13, 16]

MRC requirement is for "rare" occupations only

Household and family composition [16]

 

Anthropometry measures [16]

 

Multiple pregnancies [16]

 

Ethnicity [10]

 

Small denominators--population size of <100 [15]

 

Very small numerators--event counts of <3 [15]

 

Year of birth or age (this article)

Age is potentially identifying if the recruitment period is short and is fully described

Verbatim responses or transcripts [16]