Report: Walgreens' Pharmacy Model Can Lead to HIPAA Violations

TOPIC ALERT:

Walgreens' "Well Experience" pharmacy model can lead to violations of HIPAA rules and regulations, according to a Change to Win report, InformationWeek reports.

Details of Pharmacy Model

Walgreens launched the "Well Experience" model in late 2011.

The model moves pharmacists to a work station in front of the counter.

At the work stations, pharmacists can remotely view pharmacy technicians and assess prescription accuracy using pictures and video displayed on a computer screen.

Report Methods

For the report, the labor union-funded CtW examined data from 100 observations of 50 Walgreens stores throughout:

  • Florida;
  • Illinois; and
  • Indiana.

Report Findings

According to the report:

  • HIPAA-protected information at the stations was left unattended and visible to the public at 80% of stores; and
  • Prescription medications were left unattended and within reach of customers in the pharmacy areas at 46% of stores.

It also found that sensitive phone conversations could be overheard from the stations.

In addition, the report found that the stations increased pharmacists' distractions, which lowered the rate of patient consultations in some stores.

Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) has called on Walgreens to answer questions about the model following the report. However, the company has yet to respond to the findings (Kane Rudansky, InformationWeek, 10/24).


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