PRIME

Health care professionals must request approval from the Ministry of Health to use PharmaNet to deliver patient care. They request approval by enrolling in PRIME, an online application. Enrolment involves secure identity authentication with the BC Services Card app.

Sites also register in PRIME to request approval to access to PharmaNet. Currently only private community health practices register as sites.

There are two separate processes in PRIME: user enrolment and site registration.

A user may be a physician, pharmacist or nurse practitioner, or anyone who uses PharmaNet on their behalf, such as a medical office assistant (MOA). Once the Ministry has approved an individual for PharmaNet access, an administrator in their workplace or a PharmaNet software vendor sets up an access account. (PRIME does not create PharmaNet access accounts.)

PRIME is mobile-friendly. You can enrol on a phone or tablet, or desktop.

Tutorial: How to enrol in PRIME

PRIME is a simple online application. It’s how health-care practitioners request approval from the BC Ministry of Health to access PharmaNet. Note: The PRIME application is constantly being improved. Some design elements and features in this video may not reflect the most recent updates.

All healthcare professionals needing new access to PharmaNet to deliver direct patient care must enrol in PRIME. These professionals may be new to work that requires PharmaNet access, or may have had access in the past but not on November 30, 2020.

Direct patient care means you are providing health services to an individual, in the practice of your health profession. You may need to use PharmaNet as a physician, pharmacist or nurse practitioner, or on their behalf (e.g. as a pharmacy technician or medical office assistant (MOA)). PharmaNet is not available for any other reason, such as academic research.

As of May 2020, all PharmaNet users in private community health practices have had to enrol in PRIME for new PharmaNet access or to update information (for example, access at a new location). Physicians and nurse practitioners in private community health care practices (only) also enrol in PRIME if they need remote access to PharmaNet (e.g., from home). Note that not all PharmaNet software vendors currently provide remote access; check with your vendor first.

Eventually, all PharmaNet users will need to enrol in PRIME to maintain their PharmaNet access, as required under the Information Management Regulation (see below). Due to the large number of PharmaNet users, this will be managed in collaboration with health authorities, professional colleges and other organizations to ensure consistent, measured adoption across the sector. Watch this web page and the PharmaCare Newsletter for onboarding schedules.

For more information, see:

The following practitioners may use PRIME to request access to PharmaNet:

  • Physicians licensed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC
  • Nurse practitioners licensed by the BC College of Nurses and Midwives
  • Pharmacists licensed by the College of Pharmacists of BC
  • Individuals accessing PharmaNet on behalf of any of the above (e.g., medical office assistants (MOAs), licensed professional nurses, registered nurses; pharmacy technicians, pharmacy assistants, clerks and other hospital staff performing medication reconciliation work, psychiatric nurses)

To enrol in PRIME, you will need to set up your mobile BC Services Card first on a mobile device such as a phone or tablet. If you are not eligible for a BC Services Card, contact PRIMESupport@gov.bc.ca.

You will also need:

  • Your College licence on hand, if you are a regulated user
  • The email address for the person in your workplace who sets up PharmaNet accounts. Your manager will know who this is

Once you access PRIME with your mobile BC Services Card, you will be asked to provide or confirm:

  • Name (legal and preferred), address, phone number, birthdate
  • Email address (for the PRIME system to send notifications)
  • College ID number and licence type, if applicable
  • Job title, if you are acting on behalf of a regulated user
  • Email address for your workplace PharmaNet administrator

You will also be asked to declare any past disciplinary or legal actions against you related to handling confidential information. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you will be asked to provide enough information for the Ministry of Health to assess whether access to PharmaNet can be approved. (Note that this will prompt a manual review of your application, which may take some time.)

Once you have completed the application, you must read and accept the PharmaNet User Terms of Access. The terms of access depend on your role in patient care, the location where you are using PharmaNet to deliver patient care, and any limits or conditions set by the Ministry. Please read the terms of access carefully and ensure that you will be able to comply with each section. Note: If your workplace or role changes, you may need to accept new terms of access.  

If you want to review the terms of access before you enrol in PRIME, please contact PRIMESupport@gov.bc.ca. The terms of access are an agreement between the individual using PharmaNet and the Ministry of Health. If you have questions or concerns, review the document with your legal counsel. Your software vendor is unable to advise you on this document.

Once you have accepted the terms of access, PRIME will assign you a global PharmaNet ID (GPID). The GPID will be attached to all your PharmaNet transactions. It must be associated with your PharmaNet user account(s) on whichever software you use to access PharmaNet.

Depending on your work setting, you may use PRIME to notify an appropriate person at your workplace that your GPID is available, or your system may be set up to capture your GPID automatically. Talk to the person in your workplace who is responsible for PharmaNet access accounts before you enrol in PRIME so you understand how your PRIME notification should be routed.

You can also go into PRIME at any time and request that your approval notification be sent to an email address you provide. Please note that the notification contains a link to your GPID. The link expires 10 days from the time you send it.

The terms of access signed in PRIME supersede previous paper PharmaNet access agreements (ComPAP, MPAP) and confidentiality undertakings (HAP, EDAP).

Note: Internet Explorer is not supported, but other browsers will work.

Enrolment steps

After you have set up a mobile BC Services Card and have the email address of the person in your organization/practice who sets up PharmaNet accounts:

  1. Log on to PRIME with your mobile BC Services Card, fill in the fields, and agree to the Terms of Access that apply to you (regulated user or on-behalf-of user).
  2. Most enrolments are processed immediately, but if your enrolment needs further review by the Ministry of Health, you may be contacted for information.
  3. Once your enrolment is approved: within PRIME, enter the email of the person in your organization who sets up PharmaNet accounts so they can be notified.

If you are not eligible for a photo BC Services Card, contact PRIMESupport@gov.bc.ca

Enrol in PRIME

In 2015, the Information Management Regulation (IMR) under the Pharmaceutical Services Act was brought into effect. The IMR is intended to improve user management for PharmaNet and address security and privacy concerns arising from security breaches and audit reports on PharmaNet. The Regulation requires that the Ministry of Health be solely responsible for granting access and determining privileges for PharmaNet, on an individual basis.

PRIME meets the requirements of the IMR, but it has also been designed to provide a quick, streamlined, uniform way for all PharmaNet users to request Ministry approval for PharmaNet access. Hundreds of healthcare professionals, from pharmacists, to practicing physicians and nurse providers, to medical office assistants, to system administrators, have participated in the development of PRIME, allowing for continuous, responsive improvements.

PRIME contributes to the ongoing evolution of the Ministry of Health's Digital Health Initiative to make more and better healthcare information available online. PRIME's secure online identity authentication for registration is in line with the Ministry's overall strategy for access to online health services and information.

PRIME:

  • Improves monitoring and auditing capability for PharmaNet access
  • Provides better security for patient and providers data within PharmaNet
  • Offers a uniform, consistent means for everyone in the healthcare sector to request approval to access PharmaNet
  • Eliminates much of the administrative paperwork and recordkeeping associated with PharmaNet access, which has traditionally fallen to healthcare settings

"PRIME" was originally an acronym for the PharmaNet Revisions for the Information Management Enhancement project, but now refers to the system.

You will use PRIME when you:

  • Enrol to request Ministry approval to access to PharmaNet
  • Re-enrol (e.g., after an absence from the profession or the province)
  • Change or update professional information such as:
    • a different/new organization type at which you access PharmaNet
    • the type of access you need (e.g., move from dispensing at a pharmacy to clinical care in a non-dispensing setting)
    • your address, phone number or email
    • your legal or preferred name
    • your college licence type or renewal date
    • request remote access at a new site (private community health practice only at this time)
    • join a new workplace (depends on workplace/care setting; ask your manager)
  • Belong to a prescriber group that is granted Regulated User status after you initially enrolled accessing PharmaNet on someone else's behalf
  • Renew your PharmaNet access approval with the Ministry (e.g., annually, for most users)

To help staff enrol in PRIME, you will need to identify a PharmaNet administrator in your area who either creates PharmaNet accounts for staff, or communicates with the PharmaNet software vendor. Your staff will need this person's email address when they enrol in PRIME.

How to help your staff:

What is PharmaNet?

PharmaNet is a computer network that contains records of every prescription dispensed in a B.C. community pharmacy.

Practitioner access to PharmaNet is only for the purpose of direct patient care—providing health services to an individual in the context of the practice of a health profession. It is not available for academic or other secondary purposes, such as research, monitoring or quality improvement. Other processes are available to request data for secondary purposes.

More than 75 million transactions are processed each year in PharmaNet.

Who uses PharmaNet?

PharmaNet is used by individuals in community pharmacies, private community health practices, and health authority facilities such as hospitals and outpatient clinics.

PharmaNet users include pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy assistants, physicians, midwives, nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, and others.

Why do I need to enrol in PRIME?

  • To protect patient and practitioner information. Only users authorized by the Ministry of Health can use PharmaNet to deliver care.
  • To protect yourself as a PharmaNet user. PRIME assigns you a unique global PharmaNet ID code (GPID). The GPID is linked to every transaction you make in PharmaNet. No one else can enter transactions under your GPID.

Before PRIME, access to PharmaNet was provided through several mechanisms across the health sector. To align with regulatory requirements and to better protect PharmaNet and the information in it, the Province implemented PRIME as a single user enrolment system for all PharmaNet users across the health sector.

PRIME:

  • Keeps PharmaNet patient and practitioner information secure
  • Improves how PharmaNet access is monitored, audited, and tracked in case of a breach or misuse of PharmaNet information
  • Is required of all healthcare professionals needing access to PharmaNet to deliver direct patient care
  • Ensures that every PharmaNet user has been approved by the Ministry of Health, the owner of PharmaNet
  • Eliminates administrative paperwork and recordkeeping associated with PharmaNet access, which has traditionally fallen to healthcare settings
  • Is required by law, enshrined in B.C.’s Information Management Regulation

Why do I need a mobile BC Services Card to access PRIME?

To enrol in PRIME, you first download the BC Services Card app onto a mobile device (phone or tablet).

The mobile BC Services Card (BCSC) is your digital ID. It’s how you prove who you are online. PRIME only collects your name, birth date and address from your mobile card.  This use is completely separate from your PHN and healthcare information. This information is only used by PRIME to identify you.

Once the app is on a mobile device, PRIME “pairs” with the mobile card. This makes PRIME more secure than apps that open with a username and password. (In fact, there’s no username or password to remember.)

Using the mobile card to access PRIME ensures that you are interacting in PRIME and no one else—so patient information and your information are in the right hands.

The mobile BC Services Card is free.

More and more online government services use or require the mobile BC Services Card as ID, such as the Canada Revenue Agency and Health Gateway.

As with any app on any device, it’s available to anyone who can unlock the device. This means that if you are using a shared device, you will either want to remove the app or delete your information from the app when you are finished enrolling in PRIME (or renewing your enrolment, once a year).

I don’t have a mobile device

You can use the mobile BC Services Card app on a shared mobile device.  Just remember to remove the app from the device, or delete your info from the app, once you are finished enrolling in PRIME (or renewing your enrolment, once a year).

I don’t have wireless Internet

You can use the WiFi available at your workplace to enrol in PRIME, or any secure WiFi or cellular connection.

If you cannot get access to a wireless Internet connection, please contact PRIMESupport@gov.bc.ca to discuss alternatives.

I don’t have a BC Services Card

If you don’t have a BC Services Card to set up the mobile card, please contact PRIMESupport@gov.bc.ca.

 

The PRIME application works best in certain browsers. It is not supported by Internet Explorer.