Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist December 2012 Contents 962 Australian Pharmacist December 2012 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
Continuing Professional Development
SUPPORTING PHARMACY PRACTICE
Electronic information can be problematic
as emails may go to a practice inbox
rather than to a specific person. Privacy
can be achieved by the use of encrypted
files or secure electronic messaging when
sending HMR reports and confidential
emails to other health professionals.
An example of a confidentiality
statement to attach to fax and email
communication: 'This email and any files
transmitted with it are confidential and
intended solely for the use of the named
addressee. If you have received this
email in error or you are not the named
addressee notify the sender immediately
and delete this email. Do not disseminate,
distribute or copy this email. If you are
not the named addressee disclosing,
copying, distributing or taking any
action in reliance on the contents of this
information is strictly prohibited.'11
Storage of records (electronic and
Paper records should be stored in
lockable drawers and filing cabinets in
the pharmacy to prevent unauthorised
access. All HMR, RMMR and MedsCheck
documentation should be kept for seven
years. Some accredited pharmacists
who perform hundreds of HMRs and
RMMRs scan their records and store
them electronically to reduce the volume
Data which is stored on portable storage
devices (PSDs) such as CDs, DVDs and USBs
can be a privacy risk as an unauthorised
person could easily access the information.
Therefore PSDs also need to be securely
stored. The pharmacy should have a policy
about staff access to electronic records
and perhaps consider computer system
safeguards such as password protection.
Make sure computer screens are set to
default to a screen saver after short periods
Backup of electronic records
Community pharmacies are obliged to
perform regular backups of electronic
records to comply with QCPP. If backups
are done to PSDs or external hard drives
these need to be securely stored.
Disposal of records
Any records should be completely
de-identified before disposal or
completely destroyed by shredding or
burning. Commercial confidential waste
disposal is available for bulk quantities in
Case study continued
You have reviewed the procedures in the
pharmacy, and have decided to do some
staff training on privacy issues. You use
your PSA Professional Practice Standards
checklists1 and the QCPP manuals.9 Yo u
concentrate on conversations in the
pharmacy, secure storage of records, and
communication by fax and email.
1. Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Professional Practice
Standards Version 4. Canberra; PSA; 2010.
2. Low J, Hattingh L, Forrester K. Australian pharmacy law and
practice. Sydney: Mosby; 2010.
3. Australian Government. Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner. National Privacy Principles. At:www.privacy.gov.
4. Australian Government. Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner. NPPs -- Plain English Summary. At:www.privacy.
5. Pharmacy Board of Australia. Code of conduct for registered
health practitioners. Pharmacy Board of Australia; 2012.
6. Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Code of ethics for
pharmacists. Canberra; PSA; 2011.
7. Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia. Code of Ethics. At:
8. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in
Healthcare. Australian Charter of Health Rights. At: www.
9. Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Professional Guidelines.
10. Quality Care Pharmacy Program. At:www.qcpp.com
Take home messages
• Privacy must be maintained during
communication with consumers and
• Simple procedures for storage and
destruction of consumer files can
• Community pharmacies must train
1. Select the scenario that does not
breach the consumer's privacy.
a) A consumer buying hydrocortisone
cream 1% is counselled about its use
at the counter with other customers
b) A consumer is telephoned and a
message left with a family member
that their special order (not identified
by name) has arrived.
c) A consumer receives a tax printout
listing the names of medications for all
d) A consumer's HMR report is faxed to
their GP. There is no covering letter
stating that the report is confidential
and intended for the referring GP only.
2. Which of the following SHOULD
be followed in ensuring consumer
privacy is maintained in the practice
a) Pharmacy Board of Australia Code of
b) PSA Professional Practice Standards V4
c) The 10 National Privacy Principles.
d) All of the above.
3. Which of the following would NOT
meet privacy guidelines for disposal
of pharmacy records?
a) Using a black marker pen to
completely delete patient information
on paper waste.
b) Shredding dispensary paper waste.
c) Removing dispensing labels from
returned medicines and disposing of
these in the rubbish.
d) Burning HMR records after seven years.
4. Which of the following WOULD meet
privacy guidelines for the storage of
a) Methadone client files stored in a
b) HMR records scanned and saved to a
USB which is kept in the safe.
c) Backups of the dispensary computer
are made to an external hard drive
which is stored in a locked filing
d) All of the above.
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