Have you ever witnessed this situation? - page 7

by RNewbie

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I went to the pharmacy to pick up a new prescription. When my name was called the pharmacist came out, opened the medication package, announced what it was for, held it up in front of everyone, and proceeded to give me detailed... Read More


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    Allrighty. So back on track. Here is an example of a situation that happened to a friend of mine. She went to the pharmacy to refill a prescription for a narcotic. The pharmacy announced in front of everyone what she was taking. As she then went about her shopping she noticed that she was now being followed by three men. She started to leave the building to go to her car and they followed her.

    She ended up turning around and going back inside and having to call security to escort her to her car. Which did little to alleviate her fears because the other guys had cars too and could have followed her home. She finally did get home, but shaken. And then filed a complaint.

    It is not possible to know what is going on in the minds of the people around you. A pharmacist asks your name, your birthday, and announces your prescription, maybe it means nothing to the person behind you, maybe it does.

    I cannot imagine a training course in which pharmacists are told that you don't have to follow HIPAA if someone is getting Vit D or synthroid because no one cares about those meds, but you do have to follow HIPAA if they are taking bc pills or ABX.

    That puts the pharmacist in the weird position of judging your lifestyle and making determinations about what should and shouldn't matter to you.

    Pharmacists are not some elevated species of individuals, they are human beings, and flawed in the same way as everyone else.

    I do not want anyone making judgments about what should matter to me. I don't care what they do for a living.
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    This reminds me of when my mother had bladder prolapse surgery and she had some serious itching around the wound. I went to the pharmacy and got some over the counter generic medicine that said literally on the package "Anal itch cream" Wouldn't you know, the cashier needed to get a price check and proceeded to ask for one over the intercom. It was like something you would see on a sitcom. All I could do was stand there and say, "I swear it's not for me..."

    Yes this stuff does matter and it doesn't take much effort to act with discretion, or at least awareness and sensitivity. What if someone was taking antiretrovirals for HIV or something of a particularly sensitive nature? In a small town pharmacy, it wouldn't take much for word to get out. Yes, we need education about our meds, but there is a way to provide it while still maintaining privacy. Talk in a low voice, take a few steps to the side, put a line on the floor a few feet away that says "wait here until called", anything. A little effort can go a long way when it comes to maintaining people's privacy.
    FMF Corpsman and tewdles like this.
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    Quote from mariebailey
    Pharmacies are covered entities. It sounds like they just need better training or common sense...or both.
    Or litigation.
    amoLucia likes this.
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    I think the important point here is not to measure our privacy practices against bad privacy practices. So, for instance, if there is poor adherence to HIPAA laws in the ER, that is not a good model to measure the pharmacy's behavior against. And poor practice in one specialty area of healthcare does not justify it in another.

    HIPAA is the law. There is no reason that a pharmacist cannot be discreet in their patient education and they should be called on their poor customer service related to privacy.
    samadams8 likes this.
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    Quote from RNewbie
    I went to the pharmacy to pick up a new prescription. When my name was called the pharmacist came out, opened the medication package, announced what it was for, held it up in front of everyone, and proceeded to give me detailed instructions on how to take it. I was so shocked, I couldn't say anything. I just stood there nodding. The pharmacist was still talking, everyone was standing around looking and I finally said, "Thanks, but I can read the instructions." He said, "Okay, if you have any questions, give us a call." I grabbed my prescription and left. Now I am so mad that I didn't stand up to him and tell him that he can't do that. He did the same thing to the person before me but I was on the phone and not paying much attention but I was thinking that she probably had questions about the medication, but the pharmacy is a small community pharmacy and there is no private area for counseling and I could hear everything he was telling her. He did not announce what kind of med it was but I could practically figure it out.

    I believe that this all happened because I went to a free clinic for my annual exam because I am currently uninsured. The pharmacy is next to the free clinic and they told me they could call the script in there and I could just go next door to get it, so I agreed. I think that this pharmacist assumes that he is dealing with a certain kind of customer because most of his business is sent from the free clinic. I feel like his intentions were good for trying to educate people on their medications but he should first ask them if they have any questions regarding the prescription (not just whip the med out and start rambling about how to take it) and he should find a private area to counsel people on their meds. You can not do that in front of people.

    A few months ago I was watching that show on ABC, What Would You Do? hosted by John Quinones. They did this same exact scenario. I remember thinking, what professional would ever do such a thing? Now I see.

    Has anyone ever witnessed anything like this? What would you have done? I'm feeling like a wimp because I did nothing.

    What HIPAA issues don't apply to pharmacies and pharmacists?

    Dude, the pharmacist needs a talking to, or someone somewhere up the ladder needs a talking to.

    I totally don't agree with their approach, and I'd write a letter to the appropriate people.
    tewdles likes this.


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