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HIPAA Laws and Shadowing

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singh0113

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Hi,

Does anyone know if HIPAA laws prevent students from shadowing physicians? The reason why I ask is because today I went to "shadow" a physician and was told to wait in the lounge everytime he went to a patients room. Two summers ago when I shadowed a different physician, I was allowed to go into the room with her when she saw her patients. Have the laws changed so much since then? It seems to me that HIPAA laws would effectively end shadowing as whole. This confuses me because I thought medical schools stress shadowing as an important E.C. activity. Has anyone recently shadowed a physician and been treated differently?
 

dopaminophile

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I've shadowed as a pre-med and as part of EMT training. There never seemed to be a HIPAA issue with those and I've done it since the HIPAA compliance date passed. I don't think there's really an issue. Probably your physician was wary of you making her patients feel uncomfortable.
 

samboo

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singh0113 said:
Hi,

Does anyone know if HIPAA laws prevent students from shadowing physicians? The reason why I ask is because today I went to "shadow" a physician and was told to wait in the lounge everytime he went to a patients room. Two summers ago when I shadowed a different physician, I was allowed to go into the room with her when she saw her patients. Have the laws changed so much since then? It seems to me that HIPAA laws would effectively end shadowing as whole. This confuses me because I thought medical schools stress shadowing as an important E.C. activity. Has anyone recently shadowed a physician and been treated differently?

I shadowed my fam physician and a physician in an urgent care center and at each practice I had to sign confidentiality papers to abide by HIPPA. I was allowed to see patients as long as they gave consent. My doc asked each patient as I came in the room and most allowed me to stay. I know it is not a HIPPA law that would not allow you to go in. My fam doc was the HIPPA compliance director for her joint practice and I am sure she would not have allowed me to shadow if HIPPA prevented it. It seems your physician was not real eager to have a student along. I would find another physician to shadow.
 
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I actually stopped volunteering at a hospital because the hospital's lawyer interpreted HIPPA as meaning that a volunteer (even if you sign confidentiality agreements) cannot be in the same room as a patient when a physician is treating him/her. My volunteer coordinator was totally unwilling to help, so I decided to stop. Hasn't seemed to hurt too much in admissions decisions so far.
 

Mr. Darcy

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I volunteered at healthcare for the homeless in boston and was fine. I suggest working with the homeless as these doctors are much more likely to want help.
 

DrMom

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If a doc is hesitant, offer to sign whatever HIPAA forums that they have their employees fill out.
 

Trunion

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I have never encountered this problem...even in the hospital ER
 

OSUdoc08

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singh0113 said:
Hi,

Does anyone know if HIPAA laws prevent students from shadowing physicians? The reason why I ask is because today I went to "shadow" a physician and was told to wait in the lounge everytime he went to a patients room. Two summers ago when I shadowed a different physician, I was allowed to go into the room with her when she saw her patients. Have the laws changed so much since then? It seems to me that HIPAA laws would effectively end shadowing as whole. This confuses me because I thought medical schools stress shadowing as an important E.C. activity. Has anyone recently shadowed a physician and been treated differently?

As long as you take the HIPPAA course and/or complete appropriate documentation, then there is nothing in HIPAA that can prevent a student from shadowing.

It is more likely an "excuse" that they use to prevent students from coming. If this is the case, then you're better off finding someone else than pushing things.
 

trinitrotoluene

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BUMP. However, some hospitals that don't have it together in some major way (admin difficulties, labor troubles, etc.) might be hesitant because they don't want more potential headaches. Also, if you break privacy, don't expect to hold onto your shadow position.
 

Wiggy73

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I had major HIPAA problems when I first tried to set up shadowing. The doctor was perfectly amenable, but the hospital took HIPAA WAY too strictly and wouldn't even let me sign a release form or do training. It would almost be a funny story if it hadn't wound up hurting my application like it did. I'm not saying all hospitals are like that, but they are out there.
 

Parscope

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bjackrian said:
I actually stopped volunteering at a hospital because the hospital's lawyer interpreted HIPPA as meaning that a volunteer (even if you sign confidentiality agreements) cannot be in the same room as a patient when a physician is treating him/her. My volunteer coordinator was totally unwilling to help, so I decided to stop. Hasn't seemed to hurt too much in admissions decisions so far.


These are pretty much the rules at the place I volunteer. The nurses and doctors in the ER are very cool about stretching the rules a little to accomodate us, though.
 

fun8stuff

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bjackrian said:
I actually stopped volunteering at a hospital because the hospital's lawyer interpreted HIPPA as meaning that a volunteer (even if you sign confidentiality agreements) cannot be in the same room as a patient when a physician is treating him/her. My volunteer coordinator was totally unwilling to help, so I decided to stop. Hasn't seemed to hurt too much in admissions decisions so far.


I too stopped volunteering at a local hospital for similar reasons. In the same town, I shadowed 5 different physicians who all let me go into the rooms with patients. With 2 of them I had to sign HIPPA papers, with the other 3 I didnt have to sign a thing. (over the last 2 years)
 

Saluki

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I went to shadow a physician, and after the first day I wasn't allowed to go back because the administration of the HMO she was with was worried about the possibility of getting in trouble over HIPAA, but I got to shadow a physician in private practice for the rest of the week. I think the deal is that HIPAA doesn't necessarily prohibit shadowing, but that if the person shadowing were to break confidentiality it could cause problems (sueing) for the practice. But a lot of doctors in private practice or working in poor areas won't care, so I'd keep looking...
 

DarkFark

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I did some physician shadowing last summer, and the doctor I was with insisted I wear a white coat so no one would ask questions. That was his special way of getting around the laws. Wearing it felt awkward as hell- I kept thinking to myself "I didnt earn this, I didn't earn this", but no one- patients, doctors, med students, could tell the difference. In fact, one person even asked me to examine a patient IN FRONT OF THE PATIENT. That was another awkward moment. But I digress.

As a volunteer at UMMC, they put us through HIPAA training to cover their asses. They were very explicit about a number of rules and breaking any of them meant getting tossed out.
 

Psycho Doctor

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DarkFark said:
I did some physician shadowing last summer, and the doctor I was with insisted I wear a white coat so no one would ask questions. That was his special way of getting around the laws. Wearing it felt awkward as hell- I kept thinking to myself "I didnt earn this, I didn't earn this", but no one- patients, doctors, med students, could tell the difference. In fact, one person even asked me to examine a patient IN FRONT OF THE PATIENT. That was another awkward moment. But I digress.

As a volunteer at UMMC, they put us through HIPAA training to cover their asses. They were very explicit about a number of rules and breaking any of them meant getting tossed out.

huh? I've worked at hospitals that lab coats are given to people who are just observing for a day; so don't say you "didn't earn it". Doctors aren't the only people who wear lab coats. I worked in a dept that ancillary healthcare workers also wore white lab coats.
 

DarkFark

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Psycho Doctor said:
huh? I've worked at hospitals that lab coats are given to people who are just observing for a day; so don't say you "didn't earn it". Doctors aren't the only people who wear lab coats. I worked in a dept that ancillary healthcare workers also wore white lab coats.

I'm fully aware that doctor's aren't the only people who wear white coats. In this particular case, howver, I was not being presented in that context. I was being introduced to people as a medical student, even though I wasn't, and I was somewhat uncomfortable with that.
 

SitraAchra

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Just take it as a compliment - it's just easier to tell patients that you're a med student rather than saying "he/she is an undergrad who's looking at healthcare as a career and is applying blahblahblah" - it's all the same to the patient because you're not touching them.
 
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HIPAA shouldn't really affect shadowing, and there's no reason it should. Just don't post the names of the patients you saw while shadowing the doc. Use common sense, and you should be just fine.
 
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