The e-prescription

The electronic prescription has replaced the pink prescription for prescription drugs. This changes little for people with statutory health insurance as it can still be submitted to a pharmacy in paper format as previously. However, the use of the e-prescription app offers many advantages.

At a glance

  • The electronic prescription or e-prescription for short saves patients time and reduces the number of journeys they have to make.
  • To use these benefits, people need an e-prescription app on their smartphone.
  • E-prescriptions can be used in all pharmacies. They can also still be submitted in paper format or – from 2023 – using the electronic medical data card.
  • Relatives or acquaintances can also redeem e-prescriptions.
  • E-prescriptions cannot be forged and help doctors, pharmacists and health insurance providers cooperate more closely.
Pharmacist scans a QR code printed on a prescription.

What is an e-prescription?

The electronic prescription or e-prescription for short reduces the number of journeys that patients have to make and simplifies administrative processes for (dental) medical practices, pharmacies and health insurance providers. E-prescriptions can be issued in the app or in printed format. From 2023, it will also be possible to redeem e-prescriptions in a pharmacy using the electronic medical data card. E-prescriptions have replaced the well-known pink prescription.

In the course of 2022, the e-prescription will also become available to people with private insurance subject to them having an electronic medical data card or a digital identity.

How does the e-prescription work?

If a doctor prescribes you medication, you can decide whether you want to redeem the prescription in printout format, using your electronic medical data card or using the e-prescription app. 

The official app is called “Das E-Rezept” (“the E-Prescription”) and is provided by gematik GmbH. It is available free of charge from the usual app stores. Patients can use the app on their device to conveniently access an e-prescription and send it to the pharmacy of their choice with just a few taps, ready to collect their medication later. 

Patients can easily request an e-prescription via an app on their mobile device and have it sent directly to the pharmacy of their choice.

Filters also make it possible to search for pharmacies according to certain criteria such as “open now” or “courier service”. Users can then choose a pharmacy in which to redeem the prescription. This reserves the medication until it is delivered or collected. A future app upgrade will make it possible to ask up to three pharmacies whether they have the prescribed medication in stock. 

To receive and redeem e-prescriptions digitally, the smartphone and electronic medical data card must support near field communication (NFC). A PIN for the electronic medical data card is also required. A PIN and NFC-compatible medical data card can be obtained from health insurance providers free of charge.  

Interesting fact: Many insured people with access to a health insurance provider’s app can use this to log in to the e-prescription app. On selecting your health insurance provider from the list provided at login, you are automatically directed to the statutory health insurance fund’s app. Your login there is then sent to the e-prescription app. 

The e-prescription is securely stored in the telematics infrastructure for 100 days. Once redeemed, the status changes so that it cannot be re-used. Furthermore, following redemption in the app, the patient can see which medication was dispensed. If, for example, different medication had to be provided due to a discount agreement, this is indicated in the e-prescription app. 

The issuing medical practice, the patient (or a representative) and the pharmacy providing the medication are the only ones with access to the data stored in the e-prescription. 

The e-prescription can be used as flexibly as the paper prescription as it is not tied to a specific person. If the insured person is unable to redeem the e-prescription in the pharmacy themselves, relatives or acquaintances can also collect the medication using a prescription in paper format or after scanning the prescription code into their e-prescription app. 

How does the e-prescription work?

Watch this video to find out how the e-prescription can be used.

This and other videos can also be found on YouTube

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The privacy policy indicated there applies.

What are the benefits of e-prescriptions for people with health insurance?

The e-prescription saves people time and effort: there is no need to go to the pharmacy twice to order and collect medication. If the selected pharmacy offers a courier service, this makes it far easier for people with restricted mobility in particular to obtain their medication. 

Repeat prescriptions within a quarter can be issued using the e-prescription without the patient having to re-attend the medical practice. E-prescriptions can also be issued during video consultations. 

In addition to the prescription codes, the app also stores instructions on how to take the medication and information about the medication prescribed. It also makes it easier to track when which medication was prescribed and dispensed by the pharmacy. 

If a prescription is not redeemed immediately, the app shows the remaining period during which this is possible: prescriptions covered by statutory health insurance providers become invalid after 28 days and can then only be redeemed as private prescriptions at the patient’s own expense. 

The e-prescription app also offers a practical family function for carers and parents. To use this, you need to use your family member’s electronic medical data card and PIN to create an additional profile in your app. You will then automatically receive your family member’s prescriptions. This is also possible in parallel; for example, both parents can receive their child’s prescriptions. However, these can only be redeemed once.     

The app is also available in other languages and supports the usual accessibility features provided by operating systems. 

What are the benefits of e-prescriptions for the healthcare sector?

E-prescriptions simplify the exchange of information and cooperation between doctors, pharmacies and health insurance providers. Sending an e-prescription electronically reduces the chance of errors and the processing time for everyone involved. E-prescriptions therefore help reduce the workload in the healthcare sector. An electronic signature furthermore prevents forgery.

The e-prescription opens up further possibilities in conjunction with the electronic patient record: following a future upgrade, the information about the prescribed and dispensed medication will be automatically transferred to the electronic patient record if so desired by the patient. This will provide a better overview of current and previous prescriptions to everyone involved in the treatment process (doctors, pharmacists, insurance holders and, in the future, even caregivers).

What are electronic health records and the ePA app?

The video below explains the benefits that the electronic health record or ePA for short brings and how data is transferred.

This and other videos can also be found on YouTube

Watch now

The privacy policy indicated there applies.

Further information

Further information on how to use the e-prescription app can be found on the website E-Rezept: Die App (E-Prescription: The App).

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