HIPAA and Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a measurement solution that can be used to obtain business insights about traffic on your websites and apps. It is important to ensure that your implementation of Google Analytics and the data collected about visitors to your properties satisfies all applicable legal requirements.

Please remember that to protect user privacy, Google Analytics policies and terms mandate that no data be passed to Google that Google could recognize as personally identifiable information (PII), and no data you collect using Google Analytics may reveal any sensitive information about a user, or identify them. If you need to delete data from the Analytics servers for any reason, you can schedule a data-deletion request or use the User Deletion API.

What is HIPAA and to whom does it apply?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a US federal law that applies to HIPAA-regulated entities. The law and its implementing regulations typically are not relevant to Google Analytics customers operating exclusively outside of the US, nor are they relevant to every customer operating within the US. Analytics customers are responsible for determining whether they are HIPAA-regulated entities and what their obligations are under HIPAA.

Can Google Analytics be used in compliance with HIPAA?

Customers must refrain from using Google Analytics in any way that may create obligations under HIPAA for Google. HIPAA-regulated entities using Google Analytics must refrain from exposing to Google any data that may be considered Protected Health Information (PHI), even if not expressly described as PII in Google’s contracts and policies. Google makes no representations that Google Analytics satisfies HIPAA requirements and does not offer Business Associate Agreements in connection with this service.

For HIPAA-regulated entities looking to determine how to configure Google Analytics on their properties, the HHS bulletin provides specific guidance on when data may and may not qualify as PHI. Here are some additional steps you should take to ensure your use of Google Analytics is permissible:

  • Customers who are subject to HIPAA must not use Google Analytics in any way that implicates Google’s access to, or collection of, PHI, and may only use Google Analytics on pages that are not HIPAA-covered.
  • Authenticated pages are likely to be HIPAA-covered and customers should not set Google Analytics tags on those pages.
  • Unauthenticated pages that are related to the provision of health care services, including as described in the HHS bulletin, are more likely to be HIPAA-covered, and customers should not set Google Analytics tags on HIPAA-covered pages..
  • Please work with your legal team to identify pages on your site that do not relate to the provision of health care services, so that your configuration of Google Analytics does not result in the collection of PHI.

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