STFM, AAFP Offer Online HIPAA Resources for Students, Preceptors

July 23, 2010 10:00 am Barbara Bein

The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, or STFM, in collaboration with the AAFP, has developed resource materials on Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, rules for medical and premedical students and others who are invited to shadow family physicians in their offices.

The resources(, which have been uploaded to the Family Medicine Digital Resources Library, consist of a PowerPoint presentation on HIPAA regulations( and student agreement and patient release of information forms(

The PowerPoint presentation welcomes students to the physician's office and offers reminders about patient confidentiality and trust, as well as tips for safeguarding patients' information. It also includes links to additional HIPAA information, privacy agreement examples and other training materials.

Join the Pipeline Group

The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, or STFM, invites physicians who are interested in encouraging young people to consider a career in family medicine to join the STFM Group on Family Medicine Pipeline(

Among initiatives the group is sponsoring is a collaboration with the National Area Health Education Center Organization to create a variety of posters with the theme, "You Can Be a Family Doctor." The posters can be downloaded( and displayed in family medicine practices and residency clinics.

Other materials developed as part of the initiative include a brief "recruitment" PowerPoint presentation and talking points for FPs who want to engage younger students and teens in discussions about becoming family physicians.

The student form stresses the importance of confidentiality and privacy of patient information and presents guidelines on accessing patient information, sharing or discussing it, and protocols to follow when using electronic health records. Students sign an agreement that they will abide by patient privacy and confidentiality rules.

The patient document is an authorization to release health information and gives permission for students to participate in the patient's care during a defined training period.

"The AAFP Division of Medical Education staff came up with the idea for this tool to address concerns raised by physicians regarding premedical shadowing," said STFM Executive Director Stacy Brungardt, C.A.E. "Having materials that have been created and endorsed by STFM and the AAFP should help preceptors feel more comfortable bringing premedical and medical students into their offices and exposing them to a positive experience with a family medicine practice."

In addition, because many solo and community-based physicians don't have the same access to such materials as do physicians in academic health centers, the new Web-based resources help ensure that community-based physicians can be prepared to have students precept in their offices and that these students are informed about federal privacy guidelines.