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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)




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]