and Estonia have started the ball rolling. Both Member States have had
electronic prescriptions for many years; these can now be dispensed in another
country, at least in one direction. As of 21 January 2019, ePrescriptions from
Finland can be used to obtain medication in participating Estonian pharmacies. The
person’s electronic citizen card is used for authentication and the pharmacist
can then see the person’s prescription. The initiative also sees the first-time
use of the new European
eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure (eHDSI) to exchange electronic prescriptions, so that patients no longer need to
provide a written prescription.
a press release to mark the launch of the first cross-border ePrescriptions, the
European Commission stated: ‘People should be able to use their ePrescriptions
across borders. Free movement is a founding principle of the EU: we must make
it as easy as possible for people to get treatment or medicines when abroad in
Commission’s overall objective of its European strategy for health and
long-term care is to exchange health data between Member States in an
interoperable way. The next step following ePrescriptions will be to allow
cross-border access to ‘Patient Summaries’. These contain background
information on important health aspects, such as allergies, current medication,
medical history and surgeries, that are digitally accessible in case of a medical
emergency abroad. The Czech Republic and Luxembourg have recently become the
first countries to exchange Patient Summaries.
Commission hopes that further Member States will soon participate in the
eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure and the electronic exchange of medical
records. Ten Member States have indicated that they will start cross-border ePrescriptions
and Patient Summaries later this year.
precondition for cross-border exchange is that Member States have the
appropriate structures in place at national level. In Germany, the e-Health Act
provides for the start of electronic medical records. The Act contains a detailed
roadmap for establishing a secure telematics infrastructure and introducing
medical applications. The German government has stated that it wants to
introduce ePrescriptions by 2020.