E-prescription starts September 1st – you need to know that

The introduction of the e-prescription is supposed to start in the first model regions on September 1, 2022. The model federal state of Schleswig-Holstein got out again without further ado.

After tests have already started, the electronic prescriptions should be introduced for everyone as early as January 2022, as you can also read in our article from 2021. However, the planned mandatory introduction was put on hold at the beginning of the year.

Since then, there has at least been the voluntary use of e-prescriptions in some practices – but now it’s supposed to start officially: The new start date is set for September 1, 2022. However, without a complete mandatory introduction for medical practices, but only for pharmacies for the time being. From this date, they must accept the digital prescriptions – for doctors, however, there is still no digital prescription obligation. It is planned to include clinics and medical practices in this obligation from 2023.

From September 1, 2022, patients will have new opportunities to redeem e-prescriptions at pharmacies:

  • By paper printout:

    Instead of the conventional doctor’s prescription, the patient receives a printed prescription code.

  • By electronic health card:

    The pharmacy can call up the patient’s prescription on site.

  • Via e-prescription app:

    Patients receive the digital prescription directly on their own smartphone, can send it directly to the pharmacy of their choice and pre-order accordingly. It should then also be easy to manage prescriptions for relatives and collect them from pharmacies via upcoming family functions.

Model federal state Schleswig-Holstein is getting out for the time being

The electronic prescription started as a test on July 1, 2021 in Berlin and Brandenburg. An expansion using a regional step-by-step model was now also planned. The first stage of the roll-out should take place in the Westphalia-Lippe region and the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein and be tested from September 1st. However, the Schleswig-Holstein Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians has now announced that it will temporarily withdraw, as also reported by Spiegel and Apotheke-Adhoc.

The reasons given are data protection concerns about sending emails and using QR codes. According to the KV, state data protection prohibits the mail-based implementation of the e-prescription. This blocks the most practicable transport route for patients:

“The benefit of the e-prescription lies in the convenience of the low-bureaucracy creation for medical practices and in the saving of multiple routes for patients, which would be particularly advantageous for people in rural areas. Neither can be achieved at the moment”,

according to the CEO Dr. Monica Schliffke.

The other problem: the generated QR code is also part of the health data. Because it has to be taken into account that

“Apps freely available on the market from the pharmacy environment for each person who is authorized or not in possession of the QR code to take note of the data of a prescription”

enable. When uploaded to pharmacy apps, the data would then be decrypted and displayed to the user.

Exactly what happens to an analogue prescription that the patient receives from the doctor is not the responsibility of the doctor.

“It’s obviously very different in the digital world,”

according to the KV chairman.

“We don’t let the practices fall into a trap because the practices would be liable for this abuse.”

The functionality of sending a dataless code as an attachment was immediately blocked by the company.

“The law is apparently to be read in such a way that no insured person can agree to a) a digital transmission of a dataless QR code to himself, b) to an authorized third party or c) to the pharmacy of his choice”,

according to the KV Schleswig-Holstein. According to the KV, this should have been noticed during the test phase.

What happens next with the e-prescription

It remains to be seen whether the problems can be solved or whether politicians will ultimately get involved. In the end, it will probably come down to the doctors and patients themselves deciding how they want to issue or receive prescriptions. As Der Spiegel reports, many players in the healthcare sector believe that conventional private prescriptions will have to be available for decades to come – if only for emergencies.

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