In 2010 the digital prescription (ePrescribing) was launched in Estonia. This countrywide project will last five years and its aim is to make the ePrescribing of medicines possible in every doctor’s office, as well as allowing prescriptions to be filled in digitally in every pharmacy of Estonia.
It involved a big number of partners: governmental bodies responsible for different data registries, hospital and pharmacy software producers, hospitals, pharmacies etc. The project has already enhanced openness and transparency in the area of prescribing medicines and, more importantly, it has opened up a whole new avenue for future developments aiming to share information and statistics, as well as to improve medical care and also the quality of decision-making among policy makers.
Doctors can prescribe medications for patients using their computer software and forward an electronic prescription to the national database. The ePrescription is then immediately accessible in every pharmacy on a patient’s request. Formerly, after a telephone consultation the patient still had to visit the physician in order to take a prescription; today this is no longer necessary. It paves the way to a more extensive future development of telemedicine. Patients have the possibility to follow the log attached to every prescription and see who and when has accessed the data. Doctors are most appreciative of the system feature that enables the automatic calculation of the correct rate of reimbursement on medications compensated by the Health Insurance Fund. Furthermore, the system can provide an overview of the prescriptions issued for a patient by other doctors and the actual purchasing information regarding these prescriptions. Automated processing of this information in the future helps to evaluate the interaction of pharmaceuticals prescribed by different doctors, patient adherence to treatment recommendations, misuse of medicaments, etc. For pharmacists, things are simplified by the fact that the greater part of prescription data on prescription is already put into the system by the doctor, which is why they are only required to add to prescription information on actually delivered medication and sales data. In most cases this can be done using a barcode reader. The prescription is then ready for eInvoicing to Health Insurance Fund. The state can now have online control over what is going on in the field of pharmaceuticals.
Only 15 months after its launch, around 80% of prescriptions are now ePrescriptions. More than 95% of pharmacies are ready to process ePrescriptions. According to a large representative survey among the population of Estonia (‘Citizens satisfaction with health and healthcare’, n=1524), 91% of people who have used ePrescriptions are satisfied with the service.
|Award category:||opening up the public sector|
|Sector:||Public health and social welfare/affairs|
|Type of activity:|
|Keywords:||ePrescribing, medicines, digital prescription|
|Short English description:||The project has already enhanced openness and transparency in the area of prescribing medicines and, more importantly, it has opened up a whole new avenue for future developments aiming to share information and statistics, as well as to improve medical care and also the quality of decision-making among policy makers.|
|Organisation:||Estonian Health Insurance fund|
|Level of government:||national level|
|Size of organisation:||>100|
|Number of people involved:||>15|
|EU membership:||EU member|