What is a digital prescription?
Digital prescription is one of four national e-health projects (digital health record, digital registry, digital image and digital prescription / medical device card) for patients. For now, the digital prescription and digital medical device card projects have been fully implemented.
A digital prescription is an electronically issued prescription for a medicine or a medical device. A doctor fills in a digital prescription on the computer. A digital prescription is not printed out on paper, but sent directly from the doctor's computer to the prescription center via the Internet. The prescription center is an electronic database for issuing and processing prescriptions (for medicines, baby foods, medical devices). When going to the pharmacy, the buyer of the medicine must carry an identity document with a picture and a personal identification code, for example an ID card, driving license or passport. If the medicine is bought for another person, the buyer must also know their personal identification code. The pharmacist can easily find all necessary information from the prescription center using the patient's personal identification code.
You can see all your digital prescriptions on the Estonian State Portal eesti.ee. You can see your child's digital prescriptions by logging in with the child's ID card.
In exceptional circumstances, such as home visits or power cuts, a doctor will still be able to write a paper prescription.
You can purchase medicines with a digital prescription at any pharmacy in Estonia.
- Digital prescription leaflet for patients (2010)
- Video “How to buy medicines with a digital prescription?”
Types of digital prescription
When writing a digital prescription, the patient can restrict the rights to purchase the medicine. By default, all prescriptions are public, but this status can be changed by the doctor when issuing the prescription.
- Private prescription - only the patient can purchase the prescribed medicine at a pharmacy.
- Authorized prescription - the prescribed medicine can be purchased at a pharmacy by the patient or by people he or she has authorized for this purpose on the patient portal (additional information www.digilugu.ee).
Public prescription - any person who knows the patient's personal identification code can purchase the prescribed medicine at a pharmacy. The buyer must also present his or her identity document and the buyer’s personal identification code will be stored in the prescription center.
Purchasing of a digitally prescribed medicine
The person who purchases the prescribed medicine must submit to the pharmacist his or her identity document with a photograph and personal identification code. If the medicine is bought for another person, the buyer must also know their personal identification code. Based on the personal identification code, the pharmacist will find the correct prescription in the prescription center. The buyer's personal identification code is also stored on the prescription. If there are several prescriptions pending, the purchaser must also know the name of the medicine or its active substance.
Digital prescription abroad
The Estonian digital prescription is also valid in Finland and Croatia pharmacies. When purchasing a prescribed medicine, the person only needs to submit an ID card or passport.
The reimbursement process is the same as for paper prescriptions. In Finland, a person insured in Estonia must first pay the full price for the medicine prescribed to him or her in Estonia. Later, they can reclaim from EHIF the amount paid for the medicine by submitting a reimbursement application and a medicine purchase receipt. For prescriptions issued in Estonia, a prescription is reimbursed based on the conditions and reference price valid in Estonia, and therefore, the reimbursement is done retrospectively.
For abroad issued prescriptions, a discount prescription will be issued based on an EU insurance certificate (EHIC-European Health Insurance Card, E123, E112). The prescription is reimbursed by foreign insurance, and later the foreign insurance will settle accounts with the person's home insurance. Reimbursement is based on the price list valid in the foreign country.
The cross-border digital project is funded by the European Union. Other European Union member states are gradually joining the cross-border digital prescription project, and soon medicines can be bought with a digital prescription also in other EU member states in addition to Finland and Croatia.
Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ
First the doctor issues a prescription to the patient. If the doctor prescribing a medicine does not specify otherwise, then all prescriptions are public, i.e. everyone knowing the patient’s personal identification code can buy the drug.
If prescription is marked „Private“, only the patient him/herself can purchase the medicines.If the prescription is marked „Authorized“, then people, assigned by a patient in electronic Patient Portal can collect medicines.Then the patient goes to the pharmacist and presents his/her identity document. After that the pharmacist can sell the drugs prescribed to the patient. All the data will be saved in the Patient Portal where patient has a full overview of the drugs prescribed and bought.
Yes, drugs can be bought for someone else and you need your identity document and the identity code of the person you are buying medicines for.
The pharmacist enters the buyer’s personal identification code into the Digital Prescription Center. The buyer has to know the identification code of the patient. If the patient has more than one prescription, then it is necessary to know the name of the drug or the doctor or the date of the prescription in order to pick the right one.
The doctor can issue a paper prescription. The pharmacist can call to service desk of digital prescription and he/she will have all the information necessary to sell the drug that is needed.
In case of a home visit, the doctor writes the prescription on a paper as in the past. The buyer must give the identity document and the prescription on paper to the pharmacist. If the pharmacist has registered the prescription in the Digital Prescription Center, the patient and physicians can see it in the Patient Portal.
We recommend that you actively use the Patient Portal, where in addition to general health information you can monitor the information of the prescription drugs, including whether the patient has bought the drugs or for how long the prescriptions are valid.
If you can’t access the Internet, you should make notes of the prescription (in calendar or somewhere else) or ask the doctor to issue a paper with all the information needed.
Paper prescriptions can be prescribed if it is not possible or practical to issue digital prescription (for example, a patient who is planning to go abroad and needs to buy medicines abroad).