E-prescription service to roll out across Germany from July
After the service was successfully trialled in multiple federal states, the German government has announced that it will be possible to use e-prescriptions across the country from July 1, 2023.
Germany to roll out nationwide e-prescription (e-Rezept) service
From next month, people who are covered by statutory, private or student insurance in the German health insurance system will be able to use e-prescription services in 80 percent of pharmacies across the country.
“The e-prescription service is finally suitable for everyday use,” Lauterbach told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland. “From July 1, 2023, patients will be able to access e-prescriptions for the first time, by using their health insurance cards in pharmacies.”
Lauterbach went on to clarify how the e-prescription or “e-Rezept” system will work. When doctors issue patients with a prescription, they will add this information to a database. “When the patient inserts their health insurance card into the pharmacy’s card reader, the e-prescription will be visible on [that] database,” the health minister explained.
“Digitalisation is now underway,” Lauterbach proclaimed. As well as simplifying communications between doctors, hospitals and pharmacies, the German government hopes that the new e-prescription service will “end the paper economy” and make the prescription issuing and collection process more secure.
E-prescription policy accelerated after regional trials
The introduction of the nationwide e-prescription policy comes after the services were trialled in Berlin, Brandenburg, Schleswig-Holstein and the Westphalia-Lippe region of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Initial tests in Berlin and Brandenburg during 2021 were met with scepticism from doctors, who complained that the service would be difficult to implement. These hesitations meant that the trials were put on ice for a period until March, when Lauterbach announced plans to accelerate the policy rollout.
When the trials were extended to Schleswig-Holstein and Westphalia-Lippe, the system involved patients receiving an e-prescription QR code via a secure app. According to Lauterbach, this method will also be available from July 1, as well as the continued possibility to request a paper prescription from your doctor.
Thumb image credit: Serhii Bobyk / Shutterstock.com