It pays to be safe. Pharmacy security is an understated but essential aspect of pharmacy ownership. Whether you’re stocking medications, testing supplies, a wide array of vaccines, or anything in between, your current pharmacy security system might need a facelift.
As we’ll see here, pharmacy security impacts not only your pharmacy’s success but also your patients’ health journeys. Here’s what you need to know about pharmacy security.
U.S. Pharmacist defines pharmacy security as “basic security systems in pharmacies that guard against physical loss of controlled substances and prevent theft by employees [including] safes and locked cabinets, camera systems, and alarms.”
Seems pretty self-explanatory, right? And it is. Pharmacy security relates to the various security systems put in place to ensure your pharmacy’s — and patients’ — safety.
Pharmacy security also goes a step beyond pills or vaccines. It also relates to the safety of your patient’s health records. Patient privacy is a vital part of patient care, so having a pharmacy software system (such as PioneerRx) that safeguards patient information is an absolute necessity.
As mentioned earlier, pharmacy security not only plays a role in your inventory’s safety but also your patients’ safety.
Pharmacy security deals with more than theft or robbery — it ensures that your medications are safe from tampering or even poisoned.
Having a sound security system helps prevent controlled substance abuse. By implementing stringent security protocols, including the use of high-quality safes, reputable pharmacies can guarantee the safe and untampered consumption of medications by their patients, effectively preventing any potential for misuse or abuse.
Before we get into pharmacy security solutions, it’s essential to know what dangers lurk in the digital sphere.
Your pharmacy software security protects against all kinds of malware and other digital threats. The most pressing security threat to your software is ransomware.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) defines ransomware as “a form of malware designed to encrypt files on a device, rendering any files and the systems that rely on them unusable.”
Ransomware accounted for about 20% of all cyberattacks, according to AAG.
Last year, a ransomware gang stole data from 5.8 million PharMerica patients. The breach affected pharmacies in all 50 states, including 180 local pharmacies, 70,000 backup pharmacies, and 3,100 medical facilities. This made patient information open to the public, including their date of birth, address, phone number, and credit card information.
Bob Bates, COO and President of QS1 and Integra, explains how RedSail Technologies’ security protects its users and patients.
“RedSail Technologies has a robust security program in place designed to cover all aspects of the platform, both those hosted internally to the RedSail data centers (both on-premises and cloud-based), as well as the final product delivered to our clients’ sites.”
Bob continues, “Industry-leading asset management and endpoint security solutions are in place and monitored regularly to ensure only authorized, non-malicious software is entering the RedSail environment. Patches for security flaws in any code utilized at RedSail are analyzed, tested, and deployed per Center for Internet Security (CISA) system hardening policies and standards.”
Though the term “pharmacy security” can be seen as a blanket term, let’s get into specifics. For starters, let’s talk pharmacy security systems.
Perhaps the premier example of pharmacy security, having a security system for your pharmacy is an absolute necessity. Not to mention, it’s kind of a legal requirement.
Pharmacy theft is a legitimate concern in the industry. The Pharmacy Security Institute (PSI) reports an estimated 6,615 pharmaceutical crimes in 2022, a 10% increase from the previous year.
The PSI’s criteria for pharmaceutical theft consisted of counterfeiting, illegal diversion, and theft incidents. While a pharmacy security system doesn’t completely prevent these incidents, it undoubtedly plays a role in preventing future occurrences.
Your pharmacy inventory consists of extremely sensitive medications and substances, especially when talking about Schedule II drugs. Even filling a controlled prescription differs from other medications, requiring more documentation and greater attention to detail.
Pharmacists are required to store their Schedule II medications in a burglar-resistant, DEA-approved safe. The safe must be locked or bolted to the floor or wall if it weighs less than 750 pounds.
Safes vary in features. For example, some are time-delayed, unlocking a few minutes after inputting the lock code. The wait time might feel like a lifetime (especially during peak hours), but it is ultimately a safety measure in the name of quality pharmacy security.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Every pharmacy, whether retail or compounding, requires security cameras. Your pharmacy carries high-ticket items, from prescription medications to medical equipment and vaccines.
Security cameras capture everything that is happening in your pharmacy, whether it’s mundane prescription filling, insurance claims processing, or vaccine administration.
Also, they come quite in handy when investigating a breach or burglary. While some state boards of pharmacy do not require your pharmacy to install security cameras, getting them is a no-brainer.
Beyond just capturing breaches or burglary, installing security cameras for your pharmacy has its share of benefits, such as:
Another safety measure to consider is to leave your pharmacy lights on 24 hours a day. Some security cameras don’t work well in the dark unless they have a night vision feature. Check what features your security cameras have and proceed accordingly.
There are a wide range of pharmacy security systems to choose from. IVIS Security, one of the leading names in commercial security, protects pharmacies in new and innovative ways.
"What most don't realize is that nearly half of pharmacy theft is a result of internal, or employee, diversion,” CEO Vamsi Vemuru says. “Pharmacy owners haven't had any meaningful ways to address both internal and external threats to their businesses.
“That's why IVIS Security's customized video analytics, which integrates the best of artificial and human intelligence to track and alert owners about activity in and around their pharmacies, offers pharmacies a smart security solution that can reduce their losses by as much as 90%."
All roads lead back to your pharmacy software. Your software is essentially your pharmacy’s right-hand man, shaping your pharmacy’s workflow and overall efficiency. What’s more, it plays a crucial role in pharmacy security, specifically when it comes to your patient’s privacy.
Your pharmacy software holds sensitive patient information, from their medication history to other personal information like their address, phone number, and even payment methods. Make sure you have pharmacy software that aptly secures that information, even when disaster strikes.
PioneerRx backs up your pharmacy’s data every 15 minutes on both your onsite servers and a mini cloud server within the system. As a result, you can still run your pharmacy while off-site without sacrificing an ounce of your workflow or security.
Visit the Pharmacy Security page on our website to learn more about how PioneerRx effectively secures your pharmacy.
The pharmacy industry is becoming increasingly digital. As such, your pharmacy requires technology to safeguard your pharmacy’s information. Operate with pharmacy technology that is vetted and approved by industry professionals.
RedSail Technologies, LLC, representing the PioneerRx, QS/1, and PowerLine brands, has earned certified status by HITRUST for information security.
HITRUST is at the forefront of securing health information, championing companies “that safeguard sensitive information and manage information risk for global organizations across all industries and throughout the third-party supply chain.”
The certification extends to PioneerRx, further continuing our focus on exceptional pharmacy security. Becoming HITRUST-certified empowers our users to care for their patients in the best, most secure way possible, solidifying their place as a pillar of the community.
To sum it up, pharmacy security is an essential part of your pharmacy’s success. Neglecting pharmacy security can have serious consequences for patients and your pharmacy's reputation. With the right software and security features, you can care for your patients in the best and most secure way possible, both physically and digitally.