Between the narcotics on the shelves and the sensitive patient information on your computers, pharmacies are potentially vulnerable businesses that may experience theft or fraud. You most likely have an alarm system and security cameras to protect from outside threats, which is a great start. However, have you considered the threats that don’t necessarily need a door?
Here are examples of overlooked risks and strategies that all community pharmacists should consider for their pharmacy’s security.
Don’t Talk to Strangers
Apply this adage to your pharmacy’s approach to all inquiries and requests. You may receive a call from a concerned husband who wants to check on his wife’s refills, like this spouse who gained access to his wife’s medical records during a divorce. Or, one of your “technology providers” may insist you share account information over an email. Before you share any information, verify who you’re talking to. One of the benefits of working in an independent pharmacy is the opportunity to build relationships with the patients you serve and the technology partners you trust. Ask for a confirmation of identification, or offer to call them back after you have looked into the inquiry.
A “Window” of Opportunity
More patients are turning to the internet when looking for businesses and solutions, so it makes sense to advertise your pharmacy’s services there. Exercise caution when posting about your store. For example, you may upload pictures of your pharmacy to promote it on social media or your website. According to a study conducted by Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Co., 72% of thieves enter the pharmacy through a door or window. Photos of your store’s internal layout could potentially help thieves plan their entrance and escape. Make sure that whatever you post on the internet does not threaten your pharmacy’s security.
Avoid Employee Sabotage
In the event of employee termination, make sure any and all access they may have to the pharmacy is removed. Delete their accounts, consider changing the wifi password, and ensure all keys are returned. With the right pharmacy management system, they wouldn’t be able to erase all of your data like this ex-employee did, but leaving your pharmacy’s security in the wrong hands could lead to disastrous consequences.
Consider Biometric Security
Rather than use a password that can be leaked just as easily as it can be forgotten, opt for more secure practices in the pharmacy. Since their arrival in the early 2000s, biometric security measures like fingerprint readers allow for unique authentication methods that can’t be replicated or shared with outsiders, and they can track employee activity during daily operations.
Separate Personal from Professional
Remind employees to use the computers for pharmacy-related work only. Discourage staff from logging into personal email or social media accounts, and never download files for personal use on computers in the pharmacy. You may be one click away from a virus that could shut down your workflow, or worse.
As pharmacy becomes increasingly digital, the risk of malicious activity in your store is likely, too. While you work to protect your patients’ health and wellbeing, be sure to take the time to safeguard your pharmacy against potential threats. Routinely train your staff to be conscious of any activities that may leave the store susceptible so you can look after your pharmacy with the same care you show your patients.