Senator Markey Queries Walgreens About How New Pharmacy Model Impacts Patient Privacy, Drug Security

With upwards of 20 states slated to begin implementing the new Walgreens “Well Experience” pharmacy model, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today called on the company to respond to questions about the potential impact on patient privacy, data security, and patient safety. The “Well Experience” model is a departure from traditional pharmaceutical activities, physically separating pharmacists from technicians and placing them in more public spaces where they will be viewing prescription information and talking with patients. In the letter, Senator Markey expresses concern that patient information may be left unattended or viewed by other members of the public, and distancing pharmacists from the technicians filling prescriptions may interfere with quality supervision. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, administrative, physical, and technical safeguards are required of health care provides to secure protected health information.

“As Walgreens introduces innovations to advance the role of pharmacy in health care delivery, patient privacy, the security of prescription data and prescriptions, and drug security must remain top priorities,” writes Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Senator Markey requests Walgreens respond to questions that include:

  • Has Walgreens done the required assessment of how the new ‘Well Experience’ design and workflow could impact patient privacy and data security?
  • Has Walgreens put in place additional training requirements for its staff that address the security of prescription data and medications, and the privacy of conversations between pharmacists and patients?
  • What steps has Walgreens taken to ensure the new pharmacy model does not decrease the security of prescription drugs?
  • What safeguards has Walgreens put in place to protect private health information on mobile devices?
  • Has Walgreens put in place policies and procedures to respond to a member of the public if a concern is raised as a result of the new model?

The states that where Walgreens is looking to implement the model include: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Senator Markey’s letter to Walgreens can be found HERE.

SOURCE: Senator Edward Markey

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