Protective Word for a PharmaNet Record

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Overview

Access to PharmaNet is strictly controlled. All health care practitioners and/or their organizations (such as hospitals) have to apply for access to PharmaNet and every user has to sign confidentiality undertakings before they are granted access.

Normally, any health care practitioner who has been granted access to PharmaNet can view a patient’s demographic and medication information. They cannot view a patient’s Fair PharmaCare coverage (i.e., what their deductible is and/or how much of that deductible has been met).

You can limit access to your information (and, in some cases, another person’s information) in PharmaNet by applying a protective word. The protective word acts as a lock; only a practitioner with the protective word can unlock the record to view and/or update its contents. You can also apply to have the protective word changed or removed.

Note: You cannot restrict access to just one part of your record (e.g., you cannot prevent people from viewing certain kinds of prescriptions recorded in your medication history). Your entire record is either locked or not.

Which activities require the protective word?

Once you have applied a protective word, pharmacists and other authorized health care practitioners will need to enter that word into PharmaNet before they can

  • access your medication history
  • perform a Drug Use Evaluation (DUE) to check for potentially harmful drug interactions
  • dispense a prescription
  • view any information about your prescriptions (e.g., number of refills remaining, allergies recorded)
  • submit a request on your behalf to have your record mailed to you (pharmacists only)
  • change a protective word (pharmacists only)

Emergency removal of a protective word

If you are unconscious or unable to provide your protective word, hospital, emergency department and mental health service centre practitioners and their designates (e.g., nurses) may have Health Insurance BC (HIBC) remove the word if they determine access to your PharmaNet patient profile is necessary for safe and effective treatment.

If your protective word is removed in an emergency, Health Insurance BC will notify you. You can then attach a new protective word to your record.

Who can apply for a protective word?

For your own record

Any patient can apply to have a protective word placed on their own PharmaNet record. 

If you are 19 or older, apply either

If you are a minor (under 19 years old) you can apply for a protective word only by submitting a completed Application to Restrict Access to My Own PharmaNet Record—HLTH 5461 (PDF, 534KB) to Health Insurance BC. 

Before your application is processed, a Health Insurance BC representative will explain—and ask you to confirm that you understand—the consequences of restricting access to your PharmaNet record.

For another person’s record

Under certain circumstances, one person can apply to have a protective word placed on another person’s PharmaNet record. To do so, however, that person must have the legal authority to make the request.

If you are applying to place a protective word on a minor’s (under 19) record, you must

If you are applying to place a protective word on another adult’s record, you must

Adding a protective word

On your own record

Option 1—Apply in person at any community pharmacy

If you meet the criteria:

  1. Provide the pharmacist with acceptable proofs of your identity. 
  2. Create a protective word that meets the rules below.
  3. Give the pharmacist your protective word to attach to your PharmaNet record.

The pharmacist will apply the protective word to your record. It will take effect immediately.

Option 2—Apply in writing

If you are over 19, you can apply in writing. If you are a minor (under 19 years old), you must apply in writing.

To add a protective word:

  1. Mail a completed Application to Restrict Access to My Own PharmaNet RecordHLTH 5461​ (PDF, 534KB) along with photocopies of proofs of identity to Health Insurance BC.

    Health Insurance BC will review your application and send you a letter either approving your request or asking for more information. If your application is approved, the letter will contain an Access Code.

  2. Create a protective word that meets the rules below.
  3. Telephone us at the numbers in the letter and provide the representative with your
  • name and Personal Health Number (from your BC CareCard or BC Services Card)
  • Access Code (from the Health Insurance BC letter)
  • protective word

The representative will apply the protective word to your record. It will take effect immediately.

On another person’s record

If you meet the criteria, you can add a protective word to another person’s record:

  1. Photocopy the necessary proofs of identity for both yourself and the person on whose behalf you are acting. If you are acting on behalf of another adult, include documents that demonstrate you have the authority to make decisions on that person’s behalf.
  2. Mail a completed Application to Restrict Access to Another Person's PharmaNet RecordHLTH 5462) (PDF, 546KB) along with the photocopies to Health Insurance BC. 
  3. Health Insurance BC will review your application and send you a letter approving your request or asking for more information. If your application is approved, the letter will contain an Access Code.
  4. Create a protective word that meets the rules below.
  5. Telephone us at the numbers provided in the letter and provide: 
  • your name
  • the other person’s name and Personal Health Number (from their BC CareCard or BC Services Card)
  • the Access Code (from the Health Insurance BC letter)
  • the protective word you have created

The representative will apply the protective word to the person's record. It will take effect immediately.

Removing a protective word

From your own record

Option 1—Request removal at a pharmacy

If you are 19 or older, the easiest and quickest way to remove a protective word from your record is to:

  1. Visit a community pharmacy.
  2. Provide the pharmacist with proofs of your identity.
  3. Ask the pharmacist to call Health Insurance BC to remove your protective word.

The removal is effective immediately.

Option 2—Submit a Application by Mail

If you are under 19 years old—or if you cannot visit a pharmacy in person—submit an application by mail:

  1. Complete an Application to Restrict Access to My Own PharmaNet RecordHLTH 5461​ (PDF, 534KB). Check the box “I wish to revoke the restriction that is now in place by removing the protective word attached to my record in PharmaNet.”
     
    Note: We ask for proofs of identity to make sure that no unauthorized person can remove your protective word.

  2. Mail in the completed form and photocopies of proofs of identity to Health Insurance BC at the address on the form.
    Health Insurance BC will review your application and send you a letter either approving your request or asking for more information. If your application is approved, the letter will contain an Access Code.

  3. Telephone us at the numbers provided in the letter and provide
  • your name and Personal Health Number (from your BC CareCard or BC Services Card)
  • Access Code (from the Health Insurance BC letter)

The representative will remove the protective word. The removal is effective immediately.

From another person’s record 

All requests to remove a protective word from another person’s record must be made in writing. Proofs of identity must be included with the application to make sure that no unauthorized person can remove another person’s protective word.

  1. Photocopy the required proofs of identity for both yourself and the person on whose behalf you are acting. If you are acting on behalf of another adult, include documents that demonstrate you have the authority to make decisions on that person’s behalf.
  2. Complete an Application to Restrict Access to Another Person's PharmaNet RecordHLTH 5462 (PDF, 546KB). Check the box “I wish to revoke the restriction that is now in place by removing the protective word attached to the PharmaNet record of the person named in Section 1.” 
  3. Send the completed form and photocopies to Health Insurance BC at the address on the form.

    Health Insurance BC will review your application and send you a letter approving your request or asking for more information. If your application is approved, the letter will contain an Access Code.

  4. Telephone us at the numbers provided in the letter and provide: 
  • your name 
  • the other person’s name and Personal Health Number  (from your BC CareCard or BC Services Card)
  • the Access Code (from the Health Insurance BC letter)

The representative will remove the protective word from the other person’s record. The removal is effective immediately.

Changing a protective word

You can apply to change a protective word only once in a 24-hour period.

On your own record

Option 1—At a pharmacy

This is the easiest and quickest way to change the protective word on your record. You must be 19 or older to make the change at a pharmacy.

You will need to

  1. Create a new protective word that meets the rules below.
  2. Visit a community pharmacy.
  3. Provide the pharmacist with proofs of your identity.
  4. Provide the pharmacist with both your current protective word and the new protective word.

The pharmacist will need your current keyword to view and update your record with the new protective word. The change is effective immediately.

Can’t remember your current protective word?

If you have forgotten your protective word, the pharmacist will not be able to access and update your record. Instead, Health Insurance BC will have to remove your current keyword (see removal procedure above). Once HIBC has removed your protective word, you can have a new protective word applied to your record (see addition procedure above)

Option 2—In writing

If you are under 19 years old—or if you cannot visit a pharmacy in person—submit a written request to change your protective word:

  1. Complete an Application to Restrict Access to My Own PharmaNet RecordHTLH 5461 (PDF, 534KB). Check the box “I wish to replace the protective word currently attached to my record in PharmaNet with a new protective word.” 

    Note: We ask for proofs of identity to make sure that no unauthorized person can change your protective word.

  2. Mail the completed form and photocopies of proofs of identity to Health Insurance BC at the address on the form.

    Health Insurance BC will review your application and send you a letter approving your request or asking for more information. If your application is approved, the letter will contain an Access Code.

  3. Create a protective word that meets the rules below.
  4. Telephone us at the numbers provided in the letter and provide:
  • your name and Personal Health Number (from your BC CareCard or BC Services Card)
  • the Access Code (from the Health Insurance BC letter)
  • the new protective word you have created

The representative will apply the new protective word to your record. It will take effect immediately.

On another person’s record

To change the protective word on another person’s record:

  1. Photocopy the necessary proofs of identity for both yourself and the person on whose behalf you are acting. If you are acting on behalf of another adult, include documents that demonstrate you have the authority to make decisions on that person’s behalf.

    Note: We ask for proofs of identity to make sure that no unauthorized person can change the other person’s protective word.

  2. Complete an Application to Restrict Access to Another Person's PharmaNet RecordHLTH 5462 (PDF, 546KB). Check the box “I wish to revoke the restriction that is now in place by removing the protective word attached to the PharmaNet record of the person named in Section 1.” 
  3. Mail the form and photocopies to the address on the form.
  4. Create a protective word that meets the rules below.
  5. Telephone us at the numbers provided in the letter and provide: 
  • your name
  • the other person’s name and Personal Health Number (from their BC CareCard or BC Services Card)
  • the Access Code (from the Health Insurance BC letter)
  • the new protective word you have created

The representative will apply the new protective word to their record. It will take effect immediately.

Creating a secure protective word

Your protective word must contain:

  • 6 to 8 characters (no spaces allowed)
  • letters and numbers only (no special characters such as #,\ and &)
  • at least two letters (A…Z)
  • at least two numbers (0…9)

Examples: PA6729BC, 90PAMA17, FOTO2609

Tips: Choose a word that is easy for you to remember but hard for someone else to guess. Do NOT use your mother’s maiden name, your birth date or your phone number. Write down your protective word and store it in a safe place.

Storing your protective word

Once you have attached a protective word to your PharmaNet record, anyone who wishes to view your information must enter the word into PharmaNet each time they request your record.

It may be convenient for your pharmacist, your health care practitioner(s) and you to allow them to store your protective word on their local computer system so they do not need to contact you for the word each time they access your record.

Pharmacists and health care practitioners are not allowed to store your protective word on their systems unless you have granted consent before they store it. To protect your privacy, they must store the protective word only inside the special software system they use to access PharmaNet; the software will store the word in encrypted form and will not display it onscreen when accessing PharmaNet.