Section 4: Contact Information and Communications Systems

Effective methods of communication between students, faculty members, patients, clinic administrators and university employees are vital to the provision of high-quality patient care and student education. The following policies have been established to facilitate efficient communication with students as they progress through the stages of their clinical education.

4.1 Personal Contact Information

Each student’s personal contact information (telephone numbers, mailing address and email address) must be accurate and kept up-to-date, especially once a student enters the clinic. Any changes in contact information must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office, using the “Change of Address” form found on the NUNM website. It is the responsibility of the student to verify that change has occurred.

4.2 Campus Mailboxes

Students are provided with mailboxes in the Academic Building that are routinely used for hard-copy information sent via NUNM’s inter-office mail and courier system. Mailboxes must be checked regularly and consistently.

4.3 Student Email and Moodle

Student email is NUNM’s primary system for communication. Email is used to relay information about university policies, procedures and programs. Students must check their student email regularly.

All academic and clinic forms and schedules are posted on the registrar’s Moodle page. All students are required to maintain a Moodle account, and to check it regularly and consistently.

4.4 Voicemail and Patient Communication

NUNM voicemail extensions are assigned to ND primaries and CCM interns. These extensions are used for patient, clinic and university communications. Each student is provided with directions for setting up voicemail, and is given a sample message script when assigned a voicemail extension. Each student is responsible for checking their voicemail extension in the following manner:

  • Voicemail messages must be checked at least once every 24 hours.
  • If desired, the IT department can set any student’s voicemail to page personal cell phones whenever a message is received. However, students are still required to check their voicemail regularly, whether a page has been received or not. It is important that no patient call is missed because of phone system inattentiveness.
  • To provide proper patient care and for institutional liability purposes, all incoming NUNM patient calls must be routed through the institution. It is against NUNM policy for any student to provide personal cell phone numbers as a means of communicating with patients. NUNM is not responsible for charges incurred for forwarding messages to personal devices.
  • Whenever a student contacts a clinic patient, they should have the patient’s clinic chart available and know that the supervising faculty member is immediately accessible.
  • All patient calls must be charted in the patient’s electronic medical record at the clinic within one (1) business day and routed to the attending physician for review and signature. Patient calls must be returned on the same day if possible, or within 24 hours. This is true even when the patient’s concerns cannot be addressed without further research or discussion with the supervising faculty. In such a case, the patient must be informed that the message was received, and told how the follow-up will occur.
  • When contacting a patient via telephone or electronic chart, students may not provide any medical advice prior to obtaining permission from the supervising faculty. The student should listen well, ask thorough questions, take good notes, and then contact the supervising faculty member. All patient advice and care must be under the direction of a licensed practitioner.
  • Full confidentiality and HIPAA-compliance practices must be followed at all times, including when patients are called from outside the clinic. *67 should be used to block outgoing phone numbers. Patient phone numbers should be immediately deleted from the student’s cell phone after the call is complete.
  • The manner in which each clinical supervisor manages calls may vary. When there is doubt about the best way to respond to a patient call, the student should be conscientious of the policies listed above and check with the supervising practitioner about personal practices, guidelines and requirements.

4.5 Electronic Mail, Social Networking and HIPAA

NUNM’s policy on electronic mail is based on HIPAA regulations that govern patient-protected health information (PHI). The current policy is designed to protect the privacy rights of patients and to protect NUNM against litigation. NUNM does not provide a secure electronic mail system to students, staff or faculty.

NUNM uses the OCHIN Epic system for electronic health records. MyChart is the patient portal within Epic and is the only approved electronic method to communicate with patients.

  • A student or faculty member may not communicate with a patient via NUNM or personal email.
  • Students must use their NUNM email account when communicating with faculty about
  • Students may not communicate with patients on any social network sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • Students may not give any medical diagnostic or treatment information to any other person on a social website.
  • Students may not discuss any patient cases on social media, regardless of patient de-identification.
  • Failure to follow these guidelines will result in disciplinary action.