E-prescription: advantages and disadvantages in practice


pharmacist dr Susan Plietker from Bremen is technically ready and wanted to test the e-prescription together with her main prescriber. “He wasn’t averse at all, but asked me what the practical advantages were,” reports the owner of the Kaisen pharmacy. Apart from the fact that there were no more inquiries from the pharmacies and any reimbursements for them, she had not come up with much either.

First of all, the practice even has more effort with the changeover. Maybe the doctor will have to buy a new printer or at least change his prescription printer because the QR code is printed on a larger format than the sample 16. And the expression will initially be the norm, because the Gematik app is used by almost no one. Most of their customers did not even have an NFC-enabled eGK.

Plietker fears that the mail-order pharmacies in particular could benefit in the current situation, because they can get the prescriptions earlier than before if the patient scans the QR code and sends it to the sender via an app. Even if the patient selects a local pharmacy via a platform, this could ultimately mean additional work for the courier service. “Then I have the drug there and still have to send it because the customer chose that as an option from home.”

Problems with the eAU

The doctor has another reservation. In the case of electronic certificates of incapacity for work (eAU), experience has made that not all health insurance companies are able to receive them. So there is a list of which cash register an eAU is sent to and which one still receives it by post. The doctor fears that this problem could be repeated with the e-prescription and that additional work would be required in the practice.

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His colleague Moritz Eckert is already extensively testing the e-prescription. His team at the “counter” has more work to do at the moment, but the general practitioner from Herzberg am Harz is tech-savvy and wants to try out new things. According to Eckert, every third prescription is digital. Even if he can certainly be regarded as an open-minded user, he also has reservations about a nationwide introduction that is too quick. In practice, there are always new challenges that cannot possibly be considered in advance. A reversed sign in the dosage, for example, led to the creation of a free text regulation. And currently there is an “umlaut problem”.

All of this increases the need for communication for him at the moment. There are more inquiries from the pharmacies, also because some of them do not even know that they can process prescriptions themselves with their eHBA. “That’s not the last word, it needs to be tested more,” says Eckert’s interim conclusion. This was the only way to convince the colleagues: “If something is better, you will take the better one, otherwise you take the alternative procedure.” He doesn’t think much of the currently planned nationwide introduction in Bavaria and Schleswig-Holstein on September 1st. “It’s going to be a total belly flop. We need the learning curve,” the doctor is convinced.

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