• Set Yourself Up For Success Webinar

    October 6, 2021 at 2 PM Eastern/11 AM Pacific
    SDN and Osmosis are teaming up to help you get set up for success this school year! We'll be covering study tips, healthy habits, and meeting mentors.

    Register Now!

  • Funniest Story on the Job Contest Starts Now!

    Contest starts now and ends September 27th. Winner will receive a special user banner and $10 Amazon Gift card!

    JOIN NOW
  • Site Updates Coming Next Week

    Site updates are coming next week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Click the button below to learn more!

    LEARN MORE

Will med schools look down on me for using patient names?

gingham

New Member
Jun 11, 2020
1
0
1
  1. Pre-Medical
Hi all, would appreciate some advice.

I used two fake patient first names in my medical school essay, but did not put quotes around them (used Mary Anna instead of "Mary Anna" and another name). I did not say anything about their condition, just that they were in the unit I volunteered in, and described how I interacted with them while volunteering (e.g. In the clinic, Mary Anna taught me how to crochet). I did put the name of where I volunteered in my work/activities section.

I know this is not a HIPAA violation b/c no one will be able to find out who they were, but will admissions officers look down upon the fact that I seemed to use their real names? Already submitted so can't change it now, but would appreciate some insight.
 

cubsfan95

Membership Revoked
Removed
May 17, 2020
34
7
1
  1. Pre-Medical
Hi all, would appreciate some advice.

I used two fake patient first names in my medical school essay, but did not put quotes around them (used Mary Anna instead of "Mary Anna" and another name). I did not say anything about their condition, just that they were in the unit I volunteered in, and described how I interacted with them while volunteering (e.g. In the clinic, Mary Anna taught me how to crochet). I did put the name of where I volunteered in my work/activities section.

I know this is not a HIPAA violation b/c no one will be able to find out who they were, but will admissions officers look down upon the fact that I seemed to use their real names? Already submitted so can't change it now, but would appreciate some insight.

Poor judgment on your part. You are done.
 
  • Dislike
Reactions: 1 users

M&L

Full Member
Volunteer Staff
2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2018
2,988
5,787
246
  1. Medical Student
Hi all, would appreciate some advice.

I used two fake patient first names in my medical school essay, but did not put quotes around them (used Mary Anna instead of "Mary Anna" and another name). I did not say anything about their condition, just that they were in the unit I volunteered in, and described how I interacted with them while volunteering (e.g. In the clinic, Mary Anna taught me how to crochet). I did put the name of where I volunteered in my work/activities section.

I know this is not a HIPAA violation b/c no one will be able to find out who they were, but will admissions officers look down upon the fact that I seemed to use their real names? Already submitted so can't change it now, but would appreciate some insight.
i mean, nothing you can do now..... just cross your fingers and hope for the best. Next time say "Lets call her Mary Anna"
 
About the Ads

akg0119

Full Member
Apr 29, 2020
248
459
66
  1. Pre-Medical
I'm extremely confused by the responses on this thread. How is it a problem to use a fake name in an anecdote without giving any identifying characteristics? Sure you can say "Let's call her Mary Anna," but that seems unnecessary if you can just name the patient as Mary Anna (without quotes) in the first place. I can't imagine how this would be interpreted as a potential HIPAA violation in any way?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Tyrese

Ty Guy, Oh My!
Jun 3, 2020
53
48
21
  1. Pre-Medical
Remember that the whole med school app process is like walking on eggshells.... if you had an unsure feeling about this, then you shouldn't have mentioned their names. Hoping for the best.
 

red_tangoes

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2016
645
851
166
  1. Medical Student
I'm extremely confused by the responses on this thread. How is it a problem to use a fake name in an anecdote without giving any identifying characteristics? Sure you can say "Let's call her Mary Anna," but that seems unnecessary if you can just name the patient as Mary Anna (without quotes) in the first place. I can't imagine how this would be interpreted as a potential HIPAA violation in any way?
Seems pretty necessary to say it's a fake name, imo.

All medical facilities avoid any sort of HIPAA violation. They are big no-no's, as we all know. What if the person reviewing the essay doesn't interpret it as a fake name? They could think OP could be a potential liability by using a patient's name, one of the most protected PHI's (if not the most), in their essay.

Let's hope the people reviewing OP's essay assume it's a fake name or assume that the clinic didn't teach volunteers properly about PHI and HIPAA and give OP a pass.

EDIT: Technically, using a patient's first name is a HIPAA violation. However, OP didn't using the full name or mention anything such as, age, location, medical history, or any other PHI, so, after thinking about it some more, I think adcoms might ignore it. However, I am not an adcom so I don't know what they think about this sort of thing.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
15+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
25,699
44,106
326
  1. Academic Administration
Always best to put the name in quotes and to use a fake name of as few letters as possible (to save space). Anthropologist do this all the time and while they don't operate under HIPAA they do have a code of ethics that respects the privacy of the communities where they do their work.

Ana, Ida, Nan, Lou, Mae, Bob, Dan, Don, Rod, Tom, Ian, Stu, Tim, Joe.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
Jun 11, 2010
67,016
2
103,019
276
Somewhere west of St. Louis
  1. Non-Student
Hi all, would appreciate some advice.

I used two fake patient first names in my medical school essay, but did not put quotes around them (used Mary Anna instead of "Mary Anna" and another name). I did not say anything about their condition, just that they were in the unit I volunteered in, and described how I interacted with them while volunteering (e.g. In the clinic, Mary Anna taught me how to crochet). I did put the name of where I volunteered in my work/activities section.

I know this is not a HIPAA violation b/c no one will be able to find out who they were, but will admissions officers look down upon the fact that I seemed to use their real names? Already submitted so can't change it now, but would appreciate some insight.
Take two of these:
1591914519844.png
 
  • Like
  • Haha
Reactions: 6 users

DrStephennmnm

Full Member
Oct 17, 2019
148
299
41
  1. Pre-Medical
The problem is OP used a first/last name, which makes it seem like it may be a real patient. To give reference, none of the personal statements I read while applying had this issue, so I'd imagine adcoms may potentially think OP is violating HIPPA
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
15+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
25,699
44,106
326
  1. Academic Administration
The problem is OP used a first/last name, which makes it seem like it may be a real patient. To give reference, none of the personal statements I read while applying had this issue, so I'd imagine adcoms may potentially think OP is violating HIPPA

He didn't say he used a first and last name. He had a patient with a double name like Juan Carlos or Mary Anne.
 

Med Ed

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2015
3,456
12,814
176
  1. Attending Physician
Hi all, would appreciate some advice.

I used two fake patient first names in my medical school essay, but did not put quotes around them (used Mary Anna instead of "Mary Anna" and another name). I did not say anything about their condition, just that they were in the unit I volunteered in, and described how I interacted with them while volunteering (e.g. In the clinic, Mary Anna taught me how to crochet). I did put the name of where I volunteered in my work/activities section.

I know this is not a HIPAA violation b/c no one will be able to find out who they were, but will admissions officers look down upon the fact that I seemed to use their real names? Already submitted so can't change it now, but would appreciate some insight.

If you're going to use unnecessarily elaborate fake names you need to go all out. I suggest Percival Cedar and Moxie Philomena.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

GeneticsGirl

New Member
Jun 25, 2020
3
2
26
  1. Medical Student
I used fake names about patients in my PS without any quotations and I am attending medical school in a month. No one questioned me about this in my interviews, as no one seemed concerned (I had 3 interviews). I thought it was common knowledge that everyone changes names in personal statements. OP, I really don't think you have anything to worry about.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
About the Ads
This thread is more than 1 year old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.