physician shadowing, HIPAA, and strategies??

Did some searching, and couldn’t find anything explicit on the forums.

My question pertains to shadowing physician(s). Obviously HIPAA is a ginormous (for obvious reasons) issue. I am currently volunteering at the local hospice, but would like to shadow some physicians in different areas, and even those in peripheral areas (e.g. medical physics) to see what medical direction I’d like to expend my efforts.

Are there things I can do ahead of time to ameliorate any concerns regarding privacy, bureaucratic/legal issues, or any other factors? In other words, before I get on the phone with local physicians, I’d love to say "I’ve already gotten HIPAA compliance training and other prerequisites out of the way, I’m ready to sign any form(s), and ready to shadow without any further annoyance to you). Essentially, if I ask to shadow somebody, I want to put some effort in to making sure I don’t impose any burdens on them.

Are there generic processes available (e.g. generic HIPPA training), or is really just a specificity of whatever hospital/medical center/physician you would end up shadowing with? Any suggestions on how to approach this in a forward thinking diplomatic way??

Thanks in advance for any feedback!

  • Tom

Some institutions require formal training, such as through CITI’s HIPAA courses, before they will allow you to shadow. You could call the volunteer office at a hospital and start your inquiries there. If they don’t have the info, they should know who to contact.

You could also take an online overview as a proactive step: erstanding…

Your best bet for shadowing if you don’t know who to contact is to make a few cold calls to the departments at hospitals. I’ve been lucky in that the support staff who answer the phones general know which pediatricians, urologists, etc. are willing to have people shadow them. If you make a few in-roads, it might be easier to get private practice physicians on board because you’ve shown your qualified to shadow and serious about it.

Sorry for the late reply. I shadowed a physician I knew at a hospital. What I ended up having to do was go through the hospital’s Volunteer Services folks to set it all up through official channels. I had to do a few computer based lessons on HIPAA and other hospital policies and procedures. Afterwards, they gave me “student” credentials and I was able to shadow as my schedule allowed with only coordination through volunteer services for contractual reasons.

The hospital I went through said they usually only offer one-time/one-day shadow experience for people. It helped that I was a) older, b) had a personal relationship with the physician, and c) had a legitimate reason for wanting a longer term program.

I have no idea how it would work outside of a hospital setting.

Hope that helps a little.

You’ll also need to make sure your shots are up-to-date and a recent TB skin test if you’ll be around patients.