The introduction of the e-prescription is making some progress
A company that is majority-owned by the Federal Ministry of Health tackled the issue of e-prescriptions last year with ambitious goals. But nothing came of it, the introduction was slowed down. Now there is progress.
The introduction of the electronic prescription is making some progress after delays and at a low level. According to the company responsible, Gematik, more than 10,000 e-prescriptions have now been redeemed.
The curve is pointing upwards: a month ago there were about half as many and two months ago around 1950. The switch from paper prescriptions to digital prescriptions is a mammoth project in the German health care system that had initial problems. A pilot project in Berlin-Brandenburg largely came to nothing last year, and a nationwide test phase began later than planned.
Warning of technical problems
Representatives of doctors, health insurance companies and pharmacies warned of technical and practical problems – they called for a slower procedure and pointed out, for example, that there was a lack of software updates for practices. In December 2021, the concerns were addressed and the mandatory introduction planned for January 2022 was put on hold.
Since then, the voluntary use of e-prescriptions has been progressing, as the figures from Gematik show. The situation with software updates has also improved. Once 30,000 digital prescriptions have been issued, the shareholders of Gematik – in addition to the Federal Ministry of Health, also doctors, insurance companies and pharmacists’ associations – want to advise on how to proceed and tackle a nationwide introduction. It is unclear when the e-prescription will become mandatory and thus the standard.
Gematik app “E-Prescription”
According to Gematik boss Markus Leyck Dieken, the latest increase indicates that medical practices and pharmacies are becoming increasingly routine when it comes to e-prescriptions. So far, not a single one of the redeemed digital prescriptions has been “refunded” – so their payment was not later rejected. “The development of the numbers shows that the e-prescription works and that those involved feel increasingly secure and have optimized their processes with regard to the e-prescription,” said Leyck Dieken.
The e-prescription only applies to those with statutory health insurance, who have received around 500 million paper prescriptions in Germany to date. Anyone who wants to use the e-recipe should download the Gematik app “E-Rezept” onto their smartphone. In order to legitimize yourself, a code from the health insurance company is required.