Health Tech

Is an online doctor allowed to issue prescriptions?

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, terms like telemedicine and e-prescription have been on everyone's lips in Germany. So how exactly does it work when a doctor wants to write an e-prescription online during a video consultation?

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic at the latest, the acceptance of telemedical treatment in Germany has experienced a real boom. Lots of different solutions make it possible to contact doctors at short notice. In a video consultation, patients can easily describe their symptom to a doctor online from the comfort of their home. But what if you need more than just a sick note? Can your doctor also make out prescriptions online?

It is true to say, of course, that an online diagnosis cannot replace a face-to-face consultation with your doctor during an individual appointment. However, particularly when it comes to harmless seasonal infections, chronic ailments such as migraines or back pain, which the doctor already knows about, or making out follow-up prescriptions, patients can already benefit today from a digital visit to the doctor. With the help of an e-prescription, a digital solution for issuing prescriptions, doctors can prescribe medicines online in their practice management software, thus enabling basic medical care from the comfort of patients’ homes.

This is how an online doctor issues a prescription

The process is very simple: during a video consultation, the online doctor enters the patient's data and medicine to be administered in his practice management system, just like they would with a prescription made out on paper. The e-prescription is signed with a secure qualified electronic signature. Shortly afterwards, the patient receives the electronic prescription on their smartphone and can redeem it at any participating pharmacy using a QR code. Patients can also choose whether to order the medicine from a local bricks and mortar pharmacy or an online pharmacy. Many local pharmacies also offer a courier delivery service for medicines. 

With some online doctors, not even a consultation is needed: patients can simply request certain medicines by filling out an online questionnaire. As soon as the request for an e-prescription is submitted, the online doctor uses the information provided to determine whether the medicine would be appropriate. If nothing speaks against it from a medical point of view, the online doctor writes a prescription for the patient.

Prescriptions from online doctors with the major e-prescription project

Besides reducing the risk of infecting yourself, contact-free treatment also eliminates the risk of infecting others. The present pandemic situation in particular may also be another reason why many patients seek telemedical treatment. The e-prescription technology from eHealth-Tec already allows participating doctors to make out e-prescriptions – online during a video consultation. Find out more about Germany's major e-prescription project!