German health minister Spahn promotes use of ePrescriptions at the DMEA 2019
The ePrescription is to be established in Germany by 2020. In April, German health minister Jens Spahn spoke at the DMEA 2019 (formerly conhIT) in Berlin about its benefits and opportunities in Germany.
The German federal health minister discussed the possibilities of implementation and the added value resulting from ePrescription and other online services for digitising the German healthcare system together with representatives of the German Medical Association, the health insurance funds, the Federal Association of German mail-order pharmacies (BVDVA) and the German Telekom Healthcare and Security Solutions.
Spahn evaded concerns about technical hurdles for the patients: German patients would not have to manage the ePrescription on their own. "In the ideal process, the ePrescription will be part of the electronic patient record," said Spahn. "The moment I am in the pharmacy with my electronic health card, the pharmacist can access it."
Spahn also emphasised the health benefits of the e-prescription: "We will only gain acceptance for the electronic health record and digitisation among patients, physicians, pharmacists, and anyone else in healthcare when there is finally added value."
That could change with the ePrescription, the minister added.
"The ePrescription will bring real added value. If we combine it with online consultations or pharmacy delivery services, the range of services offered to patients will be extended to bring the digital component to healthcare,” he said.
Therefore, in 2019, appropriate provisions will be made in the renewal of the German Medicines Act (AMG). In a January press release, the German Ministry of Health said that not only drug safety and patient safety should increase, but also the legal conditions for the paperless prescription of medicinal products - both during regular medical visits and telemedicine consultations.
The ePrescription should, according to the experts, above all boost the mail-order pharmacy industry.
The German market with currently two percent turnover in online drug sales could, for example, now approach the US market, with online sales already accounting for a good quarter of total business.
Anna Engberg is a Wiesbaden-based freelance journalist specialising in health and technology.