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Safeguarding patient information when using delivery services

November 18, 2015

We recently received a concern where a pharmacy’s use of delivery services resulted in the inadvertent disclosure of patient health information.

In this case, the medication, an injection, was dispensed at the pharmacy, but was to be administered by a nurse at another location. The pharmacy had the patient’s medications prepared, labelled, and packed for delivery by a third party delivery service. Although the prescription label and medication were not visible, the package was labelled externally with the patient’s name and the location to be delivered. The location to be delivered was labelled as the “Mental Health Unit” of the hospital.

In this case, it would have been more appropriate to provide only a street address and unit number for the delivery address. Pharmacists are reminded to scrutinize any health information they might disclose when using delivery services.