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How does HIPAA affect the collection or maintenance of PHI in databanks or repositories for future research purposes?

The collection or maintenance of PHI in databanks or repositories for future research purposes requires an IRB-approved protocol. In addition, research using data from these databanks and repositories must be conducted under an IRB-approved protocol. Since databanks and tissue repositories frequently survive beyond the lifespan of the initial IRB protocol in which the data/tissue is collected, researchers should normally submit the proposed data/tissue banking activities to the IRB in a separate protocol.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule affects activities such as research using identifiable or coded data or biological specimens such as human tissue, DNA, and blood where the researcher controls the coding. The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires an authorization from the subject about whom information is stored or a HIPAA Waiver of Authorization approved by an IRB for the collection of PHI and prior to conducting subsequent studies using PHI. The IRB must review and approve all proposed uses of stored tissues, irrespective of whether or not the secondary use(s) of the banked tissues will include use of HIPAA identifiers.


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