Pharmaceutical Information Network (PIN) Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about the Pharmaceutical Information Network (PIN)? Browse the PIN Frequently Asked Questions below. Select a topic below and click on it to show all relevant FAQs to the topic. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for below, review the PIN Quick Reference documents or the PIN landing page.


What is the difference between PIN and the Medication Profile?

Pin provides the ability to access, view, and edit a patient’s full medication file and requires authorized permissions to access.

Medication Profile provides a view only report of prescriptions, dispenses, allergies and intolerances. Medprofile is accessible with all ANP levels of access.

PIN functions include the above, as well as the ability to:

  • Access detailed drug monographs.
  • Create prescriptions.
  • Review prescription managements.
  • Review prescription notes.
  • Update a prescription status (hold, release, or discontinue).
  • Create a new allergy or intolerance entry.
  • Review any historical allergy or intolerance information.
  • Create a Patient Care Plan.

To learn more about PIN, view the PIN Quick Reference: Navigate & View in PIN. To learn more about the Medication Profile, view the ANP Quick Reference: Navigate the Medication Profile.

Do you need a separate password to access PIN?

Alberta Netcare Portal (ANP) allows users to access several applications through one platform. Pharmaceutical Information Network (PIN) (and Person Directory – PD) is a separate application that is accessible through ANP and has its own userID and password. The UserID and Password for PIN are entered into the My Details section of ANP, allowing users with PIN permissions to open PIN from ANP without having to login in separately.

The PIN/PD password expires 120 days.

To learn how to synchronize your PIN/PD and Alberta Netcare Portal passwords, view the Passwords page.

Where does the data in PIN come from?

PIN data comes from a variety of sources:
  • Dispensing data, notes, and  pharmacy care plans from community pharmacies and outpatient pharmacies.
  • Prescription information from community prescribers.
  • Direct entries from pharmacists, and prescribers.
  • Basic Patient demographic information from Alberta Health databases (Provincial Client Registry – PCR).
  • Drug information and interaction checker from Health Canada Drug and natural product information and First Data Bank Inc Drug Database.
  • Historic senior’s drug information from Alberta Blue Cross Group 66.
  • Information on the pharmacies and health care providers from Alberta Health databases (e.g. Delivery Site Registry – DSR, Provincial Provider Registries – PPR, Alberta Health (AH) Central Stakeholder Registry (CSR) information).

How is PIN able to accept data from so many different sources?

The primary source of medication information in PIN comes from daily batches of dispenses submitted by all pharmacies in Alberta.

In addition, PIN uses a health care system-to-system messaging standard called Health Level Seven (HL7) that allows pharmacies and physician offices to exchange medication and allergy/ intolerance information, even though they may use different health care applications.

PIN can be accessed directly in Alberta Netcare Portal or by using an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) application or Pharmacy Practice Management System through a Real-Time Integrated Access configuration.

What security measures are in place to protect a person's EHR Medication Profile?

A person's PIN information is private and confidential. Standard Alberta Netcare Portal (ANP) security measures are in place to protect this information. To learn more about ANP security measures visit the Information Security section on the Privacy and Security page on the Alberta Netcare EHR site.

Viewing the Patient's EHR Medication Profile in PIN

Why can't I access PIN?

An inability to access PIN may be a result of:

NOTE: PIN User ID is also known as Netcare EHR ID.

Your Alberta Netcare Portal Access Administrator can review your ANP user role with you to determine whether you need access to PIN and/or a different permission level.

If you are having issues with your PIN User ID or PIN password, please contact the Provincial Helpdesk toll-free at 1-877-931-1638.

If you do not know how to set ANP as an allowed site in your Web browser, please refer to the ANP Setup Guide.  

What do I do if a patient's demographic data differs between Alberta Netcare Portal and PIN?

Demographic data in Alberta Netcare Portal is a combination of data from Person Directory (PD) and the Enterprise Master Person Index (EMPI). Demographic data in PIN uses only PD as its source. If there is a discrepancy between information sources, advise the patient to update his/her demographic data with Alberta Health (AH). The Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan, Notice of Change / Update form can be completed and returned to AH by mail, fax or in person.

Why should I verify the EHR medication Profile with the patient each visit?

The list of drugs and/or allergies on the EHR Medication Profile may be incomplete, due to a number of factors including:
  • Not all prescribers are currently networked with PIN, and prescribed records only go back as far as June 2003 (dispensed records may go back to December 1999).
  • If prescribed data does not display, check that that the prescription is for the correct patient. If using Real-Time Integrated (RTI) access, resend the data in case the first connection was lost. If dispensed data does not display, the pharmacy in question may be having problems with transferring their dispensing data to PIN.

What happens in PIN if a patient has multiple Unique Lifetime Identifiers (ULIs)?

Patients are identified in PIN by a Unique Lifetime Identifier (ULI). Sometimes patients who have had multiple identities end up with more than one ULI. Alberta Health designates one (usually the original ULI) as the patient’s “primary ULI.” New medication data such as prescriptions and allergies/ intolerances must only be added to the primary ULI. Secondary ULI's cannot be accessed for updating via PIN. However, they can be viewed using the Clinical Document Viewer Medication Profile in the Clinical Document Tree. For more information on the Clinical Document Viewer Medication Profile, view the ANP QR - Navigate the Medication Profile document.

Users accessing PIN for patients with multiple ULIs will be presented with a choice of proceeding with access to PIN using only the primary ULI, or using the CDV Medication Profile to look at information that may be stored for secondary ULIs.

When is an Active Prescription moved to Recently Active Prescriptions on the Active Rx tab?

Generally a prescription is displayed in Active Prescriptions:
  • Until the date the prescription should be completed (including refills).
  • For up to 18 months if the completion date cannot be calculated.
  • For 18 months if the prescription is continuous and/or the information is from an external source.

When is a Prescription moved to the Rx History tab?

A prescription is moved to Rx History:
  • When the prescription has depleted it's dispenses (Recently Active), and the prescribed drug is deemed to have reached five times its half-life, according to an algorithm in First Data Bank (FDB).
  • After 30 days, in the case of compound prescriptions and any drugs without FDB half-life information.

When are Other Medications (over the counter) moved to History?

  • Short term Other Medications move to History after 3 months.
  • Continuous Other Medications move to History after 18 months.

Note: Other Medications can include pharmacist entered information about medications prescribed out of the province or country.


Why can’t I prescribe for this patient?

If the icon "New Rx" with a strike-through symbol  is visible, the user does not have “prescribe” permissions in PIN. Only health care providers who are legally licensed to prescribe can be given these permissions. If there is an issue, contact your Alberta Netcare Portal Access Administrator to change your ANP User Role.

Does PIN check for alerts and interactions as I create a prescription?

Yes. PIN performs checks when a prescription is created or renewed. By default, these checks are always performed on all Active Prescriptions in the patient’s profile. The ability to include medications from Recently Active Prescriptions in an interaction check is also available.

To include Recently Active Prescriptions in the drug interaction check, select the Include All button at the bottom of the Drug Search page.

Can I reprint a prescription?

A paper prescription may be reprinted within 4 days of its creation, as long as it is not yet dispensed. Click Print Rx to reprint the prescription.

Do I need to sign the printed prescription?

Yes, a prescription is not valid until signed by the presciber.

How do I correct a mistake on a prescription?

  • If the prescription is less than 24 hours old: use the Undo or Correction buttons displayed in the Rx Details Detail Panel.
  • If the prescription is more than 24 hours old: use the Modify Rx button displayed in the Rx Details Detail Panel.

Note: More information on either of these processes can be found within the help function built into PIN.

How do I print a number of prescriptions for a patient at the same time?

Click the New Rx button and enter additional prescriptions before clicking the Save and Print Rx button (previously entered prescriptions will be saved).

After creating the last prescription, click the Save and Print Rx button.

For more information View the Manage PIN Prescriptions QR.

How do I reactivate a discontinued prescription?

Prescriptions can not be reactivated once they have expired or been filled. They may be renewed by selecting the prescription name in either the Active Rx or All Rx tabs of the patient's PIN profile and then clicking the Renew Rx button.

Add & Modify Allergies and Intolerances

Can I still record an important drug allergy - even if I don't have prescribe privileges in PIN?

Yes. Allergy/ intolerance information can be added or modified by any user that has PIN View permission or higher.

Can I view the history of changes to the patient’s allergy and/or intolerance record?

Yes, as follows:  
  • Click the name of the allergen within the Allergies tab.
  • Click the History of Changes tab in the Detail Panel.

Do I still need to record that a patient doesn’t have any allergies or intolerances?

Yes. Even if the patient does not have any allergies or intolerances, this information still needs to be recorded in PIN. Select the Patient Declares No Known check box(es) on the Initial Review tab.

What does the pop-up “An allergy has already been recorded…” mean?

This pop-up will display if a record is being created for a drug allergy (ex: Biaxin) that has already been covered in a recorded drug group (ex: Macrolides) allergy record.

What happens when I record a new drug allergy or intolerance?

When a new drug allergy/intolerance is recorded, PIN automatically checks that new information against all Active Prescriptions and alerts the user if any existing drugs on the EHR Medication Profile interact with the allergy/ intolerance.