The e-prescription

Over the long term, the electronic prescription will replace the pink prescription for prescription drugs. It can be easily redeemed by people with statutory health insurance by having their medical data card scanned in a pharmacy. Hard copies can also still be submitted. Using the e-prescription app offers many additional 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 electronic medical data card or the e-prescription app on their smartphone. E-prescriptions can also still be optionally submitted as hard copies.
  • E-prescriptions can be used in all pharmacies.
  • 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 workflows for dental practices, medical practices, pharmacies and health insurance providers. Over the long term, e-prescriptions will replace the well-known pink prescription. People with statutory health insurance can already use e-prescriptions to receive most prescription drugs.

In future, 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?

The e-prescription is generated in the medical practice and securely stored in the telematics infrastructure for 100 days. The pharmacy can then read the e-prescription by means of the electronic medical data card, the e-prescription app or a prescription code on the hard copy. Once the e-prescription has been redeemed, its status in the telematics infrastructure changes. It is then not possible to reuse the e-prescription.

The issuing medical practice, the patient and the pharmacy dispensing the medication are the only ones with access to the data stored in the e-prescription.

Like the paper prescription, the e-prescription can be used flexibly as it is not tied to a specific person. If the insured person is unable to redeem it in the pharmacy themselves, relatives or acquaintances can also collect the medication.

E-prescriptions can be easily redeemed using an electronic medical data card. To this end, simply allow the pharmacy to read the e-prescription on your electronic medical data card. You do not need a pin to do this; you simply need to insert your medical data card into the card reader. The pharmacy can then access the prescription from the telematics infrastructure and dispense the medication as usual.

Alternatively, you can also have the e-prescription printed in the medical practice. The printout shows which medication you have been prescribed. It also features a prescription code, which is scanned in the pharmacy. 

How does the e-prescription app work?

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 access an e-prescription via an app on their mobile device and send it 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. 

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

Watch now

The privacy policy indicated there applies.

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

Unlike hand-written prescriptions, the e-prescription is always clearly legible. If the hard copy has been lost, the prescription can still be redeemed using the electronic medical data card or the e-prescription app. Alternatively, a new printout can also be obtained from the medical practice. 

Redeeming the e-prescription using the electronic medical data card or the e-prescription app saves time and effort. 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. They are available immediately afterwards without the patient having to wait for the pink prescription to be sent by post.

The e-prescription app also offers further advantages:

  • No repeat trips to the pharmacy to order and collect a prescription. The app can be used to conveniently preorder 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.
  • 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 collected from a pharmacy.
  • 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.
  • If a prescription is not immediately redeemed, the app shows the length of time for which it is still valid. Prescriptions covered by statutory health insurance expire after 28 days, after which they can only be redeemed as private prescriptions at the patient’s own cost.
  • 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. This should provide a better overview of current and previous prescriptions for 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 “E‑Rezept: Die App” (“E‑Prescription: The App”) website.

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