With a two-month delay, the nationwide introduction of the e-prescription should start soon. The responsible company Gematik announced on Wednesday that practices and pharmacies all over Germany could start and test from December 1st. This step was originally supposed to take place in October. However, since there was a lack of suitable software, it became voluntary nationwide introduction initially put on hold. It is now clear that it will take place in December for a month.
The prerequisite for participation is that the practices and pharmacies have the necessary software updates in their management systems and are registered with Gematik for the test phase. A corresponding pilot project is currently only running in Berlin and Brandenburg. So far, only a few practices and pharmacies have been able to gain experience with the e-prescription there, according to Gematik. It should now be possible to introduce it nationwide. So it is the next step in this mammoth project in the digitization of the healthcare system.
With the e-prescription, the paperwork for prescriptions is to be ended: Currently, those with statutory health insurance receive around 500 million prescriptions every year. In future, they should receive a QR code, either on their smartphone or – if the Gematik app “E-prescription” is not yet used – printed out.
Access to the digital prescription via the app can be practical, for example if you have attended a video consultation and the doctor does not have to send a paper prescription by post afterwards. However, the paper recipes will not go away completely, for example during house calls. The digital prescription does not apply to privately insured persons.
According to the law, all practices will have to use the e-prescription from January. However, there are strong concerns among doctors that most practices are still a long way from being there. Pharmacists, on the other hand, are concerned that they could lose part of their brick and mortar business to online competition.
The Gematik announced that the nationwide mandatory introduction on January 1st will not change. However, it relates the duty only to “those who are technically capable of doing so”. This makes it clear that the practices still have some time to implement. (dpa / rs)