When writing articles for publication or content for the web, be aware of federal privacy laws concerning patient and individuals’ health records and students’ academic records. The FERPA and HIPAA laws make it illegal to disclose personal information without the individual’s consent.


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level.

Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students." ~ U.S. Department of Education


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) provides federal protections for personal health information and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information. At the same time, the permits the disclosure of personal health information needed for patient care and other important purposes. The rule specifies a series of administrative, physical and technical safeguards for covered entities to use to assure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of electronic protected health information. ;~ U.S. Department of Health and Human Services