PHARMACY MATTERS: PHARMACY SYSTEM SECURITY
Modern pharmacy practice in BC uses a number of pharmacy database systems such as PharmaNet for tasks including data collection and patient record management.
These systems vastly improve efficiency and workflow within Pharmacies, allowing registrants to review patients’ complete medication history and check for drug allergies and harmful drug interactions before dispensing medications. However, with access to patient information comes the responsibility to uphold legislative requirements and ethical obligations for patient privacy and confidentiality.
Standard 4 of the College’s Code of Ethics outlines requirements for patient confidentiality.
In order to uphold both the legislative requirements and ethical obligations regarding patient privacy and confidentiality, it is vital that pharmacies practice proper system security when using PharmaNet or other pharmacy database systems. Registrants are ultimately responsible for all activity associated with their licence number, so it is important they ensure their network accounts are secure.
The PharmaNet Professional and Software Compliance Standards, Volume 5 provides standards for PharmaNet System Security with regards to:
In addition to these standards, registrants are advised to implement the following simple practices to reduce the likelihood of pharmacy system breaches and any associated consequences:
- Use a complex password and update it on a regular basis
- Log out of any system that uses your pharmacy licence when you are not using it.
- Report any activity under your licence number that was done without your consent
All health professionals regulated under the Health Professions Act have a professional, ethical and legal responsibility to report any unsafe practice or serious professional misconduct of any regulated health practitioner. If you see activity under your licence number that was done without your consent, you have a duty to report it.
Additional information and case studies on PharmaNet requirements can be found in the ReadLinks article Pharmacy Matters: PharmaNet Access.
- Duty To Report (Health Professions Act)
- PharmaNet (Ministry of Health)
- PharmaNet Professional and Software Compliance Standards, Volume 5 (Ministry of Health)