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Data element

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Definitions Edit

General Edit

A data element is

[a] basic unit of information built on standard structures having a unique meaning and and subcategories (data items) of distinct value. Examples of data elements include gender, race, and geographic location."[1]
1. A basic unit of information built on standard structures having a unique meaning and distinct units or values. 2. In electronic recordkeeping, a combination of characters or bytes referring to one separate item of information, such as name, address, or age.[2]
[a] basic unit of identifiable information and definable information. A data element occupies the space provided by fields in a record or blocks on a form. It has an identifying name and value or values for expressing a specific fact. For example, a data element named "Color of Eyes" could have recorded values of "Blue (a name)", "BL (an abbreviation)" or "06 (a code)." Similarly, a data element named "Age of Employee" could have a recorded value of "28 (a numeric value)".[3]
[a] field within a database that describes or defines a specific characteristic or attribute.[4]


HIPAA defines a data element as "the smallest unit of named information."

References Edit

  1. NIST Special Publication 800-47, at D-1.
  2. U.S. Department of Defense, Joint Pub. 1–02: DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (Nov. 8, 2010, as amended through May 15, 2011) (full-text).
  3. Emphasis Needed on Government's Efforts To Standardize Data Elements and Codes for Computer Systems, Glossary of Terms, at 56-57.
  4. Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers, at 46.

See also Edit

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