FAQ

Framework

  • E-prescription stands for “electronic prescription”. The e-prescription replaces today's “pink slip” for all prescriptions of pharmacy-only medicines. Your doctor creates the e-prescription, which is then stored securely in an encrypted form in the health network (telematics infrastructure). You can access the prescription via the gematik e-prescription app or you can get a printout from your doctor’s surgery. You can then redeem the e-prescription at the pharmacy with the app or the printout.

  • The prescription code entitles you to redeem an e-prescription in the pharmacy. You can send it to the pharmacy electronically or show it in store. The prescription code is similar to a QR code and contains the access data for the e-prescription. This access data may only be used by authorised persons. If you wish, your doctor’s surgery will print out the prescription code for you.

  • The test phase for the e-prescription will start on 1 July 2021. A transitional period will apply until the end of 2021, during which the conventional form-16 prescriptions may continue to be issued. From 1 January 2022, all doctors approved by statutory health-insurance providers will exclusively issue e-prescriptions for pharmacy-only medicines. The private health insurance providers are also planning to create the appropriate conditions for their subscribers by 1 January 2022.

  • The app will be available on Google Play (Android), in the AppGallery (Android on Huawei devices) and in the Apple App Store (iOS) from 1 July 2021.

  • Essentially, there are no conditions that apply to redeeming the e-prescription. The simplest variant is to print out the e-prescription, which can be shown at the pharmacy. There are minimum requirements for using the app (see FAQ on “E-prescription app”).

  • You take your e-prescription to the pharmacy and redeem it there. The simplest variant is to present the printout of the e-prescription in store. If you want to use the e-prescription app, you can show your e-prescription on your smartphone. This is subject to minimum requirements (see FAQ on “E-prescription app”).

  • The test phase of the e-prescription starts on 1 July 2021 in the Berlin-Brandenburg focus region. The e-prescription is being tested and scientifically examined and evaluated in this region by selected medical surgeries, pharmacies and patients. For you, this means that you can take part in the evaluation. Ask for the questionnaire at your doctor’s surgery.

  • In the first step, only the prescriptions for pharmacy-only medicines will be issued electronically. The e-prescription will then be gradually expanded. The next step is the digitisation of prescriptions for narcotic analgesics, digital health applications and special “T-prescriptions”.

  • gematik is currently discussing a possible implementation with the Association of Private Health Insurers. The aim is to be able to offer the e-prescription to those with private insurance by 1 January 2022. The prerequisite for this is an electronic medical card including a PIN.

  • The information from the e-prescription app is not automatically transferred to any another application. Your doctor or pharmacist can manually transfer the information to the e-medication plan. However, there are plans to enable an automated link with the e-patient file.

  • You can still choose your pharmacy yourself.

  • The only case where you don’t need to make an extra trip to the surgery is if you’ve already seen your doctor in the same quarter and presented your medical card there. The repeat prescription is then displayed directly in the e-prescription app. For video consultations, e-prescriptions can also be issued without a visit to a surgery; a substitute procedure applies in this case. 

  • The e-prescription is still voluntary from 1 July to 31 December 2021. From 1 January 2022 your doctor will be legally obliged to issue only e-prescriptions for pharmacy-only medications. “Pink prescriptions” can still be used in individual cases, such as home visits or if the technology fails. The e-prescription doesn’t change much for you. You can still get a printout and show it to the pharmacy.

  • You can only use the full range of functions via the e-prescription app. There will be a “subscriber’s program” on the PC (pursuant to section 338 German Social Code volume V (SGB V). This enables you to view e-prescriptions and e-prescription logs and to delete e-prescriptions. You can also use the e-prescription app to assign e-prescriptions to a pharmacy and communicate with them.

  • Yes, the legislature has specified a separate app for managing e-prescriptions. They have given gematik the task of developing and operating the e-prescription app as an independent body.

  • An e-prescription can only be assigned to a pharmacy via the gematik e-prescription app. Other apps are not legally approved for this.

  • Your pharmacy is obliged to give you an alternative medication if this is not expressly precluded on your prescription. Further information on this topic can be found here.

  • This is the responsibility of the pharmacies and has nothing to do with the introduction of the e-prescription. Please ask your pharmacy whether free-of-charge delivery to your address via delivery service is also possible.

  • gematik is responsible for the digitalisation of the German healthcare system, one of the largest IT projects in Europe. The aim is to improve healthcare for all citizens. What is termed the telematics infrastructure – a platform for digital applications and services in the healthcare sector – is being set up for this purpose. gematik defines legally binding standards and specifications for all components, services and products that are used in the telematics infrastructure, guaranteeing their functionality, compatibility and security. In addition, gematik ensures that they can be used by all stakeholders in the healthcare system. gematik is setting the course for the German healthcare system’s journey into the digital future.

Procedure

  • The e-prescription will be introduced in a test phase in the Berlin-Brandenburg focus region in July 2021. The pharmacies’ systems need to be updated so that they can process the e-prescription. Therefore, it may occasionally be the case that a pharmacy cannot accept the e-prescription during a transitional period. All pharmacies will be able to process e-prescriptions as of 1 January 2022. There will be an overview of which medical practices and pharmacies are taking part in the test for the participants in the Berlin-Brandenburg focus region during the test phase.

  • The e-prescription is also available as a paper printout with a code for each e-prescription. You will receive the printout at the doctor’s surgery and can take it to the pharmacy or you can send the printout by post to a mail-order pharmacy.

  • Wenn Sie die E-Rezept-App der gematik nutzen, haben Sie zwei Optionen:

    1. Direkt einlösen: Sie gehen einfach in eine Apotheke und zeigen mit der App den Rezeptcode vor und erhalten das Arzneimittel.
    2. Vorab online einlösen: Sie können das E-Rezept über die App auch online in einer Apotheke einlösen. Wählen Sie aus, ob Sie das Medikament abholen möchten oder einen Botendienst anfragen. Wenn die Apotheke einen Versand anbietet, können Sie die Bestellung auch über den Webshop abschließen und sich die Medikamente zusenden lassen.
  • Yes. You can have the e-prescription printed out in the doctor’s surgery and sent to the mail-order pharmacy by post as before. Alternatively, you can submit the e-prescription via the e-prescription app. Select the desired mail-order pharmacy during the redemption process (for example using the search function). You can then order the medication in the mail-order pharmacy’s webshop.

  • Yes. If you have a printout of a prescription, you can show it at the pharmacy and redeem it. You can also scan the prescription codes in your e-prescription app and then show them at the pharmacy.

  • Yes. If you assign the prescription to a specific pharmacy in the e-prescription app, you redeem it there. The pharmacy will order or reserve the medication for you. The pharmacy can use the app to let you know when you can pick up the medication. 

  • Each individual line on the prescription is an e-prescription and can therefore be redeemed separately. You will receive a prescription code for each individual e-prescription (in the e-prescription app or on the printout).

E-prescription printout

  • The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians has specified how the printout of an e-prescription will look.
    You can see it here. There are plans to include supplementary information in addition to one or more prescription codes, for example: the prescribing doctor, the central pharmaceutical number of the prescribed medicine and the package size.

  • The prescription codes contain the access data for the prescription. The pharmacy can use this to view the e-prescription and dispense the medication. You can also scan the codes with the e-prescription app and then manage the prescriptions in the app and assign them to a pharmacy of your choice, for example. 

  • You must contact your doctor’s surgery for a new printout. Alternatively, you can also view the prescription in the gematik e-prescription app and then redeem it.

E-Rezept-App

Registration on the e-prescription app

  • To register, you need your medical card, which you received from your health insurance provider, and the associated PIN. The medical card must support a contactless interface (NFC). You can tell whether your card supports this technology from a six-digit number in the upper right corner of the card. If you need a new card or PIN, please contact your health insurance provider. After the initial authentication in the app, you can consent to future use of biometric features (fingerprint, face scan) for login. In that case, you no longer need a medical card to log into the e-prescription app.

  • Without registering with an NFC-enabled medical card, you can use the app to scan prescription codes and show them at the pharmacy. However, it is not possible to view the contents of an e-prescription or to communicate with a pharmacy via the app. gematik is currently reviewing whether it will expand the app to enable the prescription code to be transmitted electronically as well.

  • NFC stands for near field communication and is an interface that newer mobile phones offer for the contactless transfer of information. Try logging into the e-prescription app. The app then checks whether your mobile phone supports this function.

  • The gematik e-prescription app can also be used without NFC. The following basic functionalities of the app are also available: take a picture of the prescription code, scan it and save it (for yourself or another person, e.g. the child or mother) and redeem the e-prescription in a pharmacy.

  • On the front of the medical card you can see the colours of the German flag in the upper right corner. If there is a six-digit number below it, known as the “CAN”, you have the latest generation. On many medical cards, a reception symbol also indicates that you have the latest generation of the medical card.

  • Please contact your health insurance provider. These new cards are already being issued by the health insurance providers. If you have not yet received an NFC-enabled medical card, you can request one from your health insurance provider free of charge.

  • The gematik e-prescription app can also be used without an NFC-enabled medical card. The following basic functionalities of the app are also available: scan and save the prescription code (for yourself or another person, e.g. the child or mother) and redeem the e-prescription in a pharmacy.

  • To receive the PIN for your medical card, you must undergo a secure identification process. Please contact your health insurance provider.

  • Please contact your health insurance provider if your PIN is blocked. We are planning to set up an automatic unlocking function in the app with your personal unblocking key (PUK).

  • There can be different reasons for this:

    1. Your card is not suitable for NFC login.
      Please check whether your medical card has the following characteristics: there is a six-digit number below the stripes in black, red and gold in the upper right corner. This is the card access number (CAN). If your card does not have a CAN, it is not an NFC-compatible medical card. In this case, please contact your health insurance provider to request a new card.
    2. Your device does not have NFC
      Near field communication (NFC) is a widespread technology that the app uses to communicate with your medical card. If your device does not have an NFC module (for example, if you use the e-prescription app on an iPad), you cannot log into the app with your medical card. In this case, you can import prescriptions into the app using the scan function.
    3. Your device’s NFC capability is deactivated
      Navigate to the device settings and activate NFC there. NFC only needs to be activated for login. After logging in, you can deactivate it again.
    4. Your device’s NFC seems to be too weak. 
      Please check whether you can improve the connection between the device and the medical card, if necessary by removing the device cover.
    5. The connection between the device and the card cuts off in the middle of the registration process.
      Our tip: Place the medical card on a smooth, level surface, such as a table. Then place the back of your device on the medical card and slowly draw it over the card from top to bottom. If a connection is established, leave the device alone until the authentication is complete.
  • There can be different reasons for this:

    1. Your card is not suitable for NFC login.
      Please check whether your medical card has the following characteristics: there is a six-digit number below the stripes in black, red and gold in the upper right corner. This is the card access number (CAN). If your card does not have a CAN, it is not an NFC-compatible medical card. In this case, please contact your health insurance provider to request a new card.
    2. Your device does not have NFC.
      Near field communication (NFC) is a widespread technology that the app uses to communicate with your medical card. If your device does not have an NFC module, you cannot log into the app with your medical card. In this case, you can import prescriptions into the app using the scan function.
    3. Your device’s NFC capability is deactivated.
      Navigate to the device settings and activate NFC there. NFC only needs to be activated for login. After logging in, you can deactivate it again.
    4. Your device’s NFC seems to be too weak.
      Please check whether you can improve the connection between the device and the card, if necessary by removing the device cover.
    5. The connection between the device and the card cuts off in the middle of the registration process.
      Our tip: Place the medical card on a smooth, level surface, such as a table. Then place the back of your device on the medical card and slowly draw it over the card from top to bottom. If a connection is established, leave the device alone until the authentication is complete.
  • This functionality is planned and will be implemented in the near future. You can currently only register one medical card in the app.

  • In addition to your medical card, you can also use biometric features (fingerprint, face scan) to log into the app. To do this, the e-prescription app automatically uses the biometric sensors of your device.

  • Because it’s more convenient. For security reasons, your registration with the e-prescription app is secured by three factors: your card access number (CAN), a secret PIN and your medical card. To save you from having to repeat this process each time you log in, this information can be stored in a biometrically secure form on your device.

  • Yes. If you have received a new medical card in the meantime, you can still access the data. Please note that in addition to the new medical card, you will also need a new PIN from your health insurance provider. If you have not yet received a new medical card, please apply for a new one from your health insurance provider immediately. This serves as proof of your insurance status and is a prerequisite for your doctor being able to write you a prescription.

Security & data protection

  • The e-prescription data is encrypted and stored on servers of the telematics infrastructure (health network), which are located in a secure data centre. Certain “keys” are required to process the e-prescription. These are generated by a technical module (hardware security module) that provides hardware-based protection for sensitive data, meaning that the operator of the e-prescription service has no access to the generated keys. In other words: only you, the prescribing doctor and the pharmacy to whom you have given access via e-prescription app or printout can view your data.

  • E-prescriptions are automatically deleted 100 days after redemption (in accordance with section 360 (6) German Social Code volume V (SGB V). Subscribers can delete their e-prescription themselves – even without the e-prescription being redeemed. E-prescriptions that have not been redeemed are automatically deleted ten days after the prescription expires (date of prescription issue + 92 calendar days).

  • The e-prescriptions are encrypted during transport from the e-prescription specialist service to the e-prescription app via a transport layer security connection. An additional transport lock is installed to ensure that even the provider of the e-prescription service does not have sight of the e-prescriptions being transferred. It extends into the trustworthy execution environment to which the provider of the e-prescription service itself has no access.

  • The e-prescriptions are encrypted and transmitted from the doctor’s surgery to a central service, where they are stored and processed in encrypted form and then retrieved from the pharmacy in encrypted form. This protects the e-prescriptions from unauthorised access. Additionally, only people who have the prescription code (e-prescription token) can retrieve an e-prescription. This may be the subscriber, a representative or the pharmacy. The prescribing doctor may delete an e-prescription in justified cases.

  • This is ensured by two measures: first, the components of the e-prescription are checked by independent experts before they can be used. Second, gematik monitors compliance with data protection and security by technical systems and by people who regularly conduct audits at the operator of the e-prescription service. The independent experts prepare a product report for the e-prescription service as well as a security report on the secure operation of the e-prescription service provider. Further, the provider must demonstrate by means of a further expert opinion that it is capable of developing secure software. These reports are reviewed by gematik. For the e-prescription app, gematik (in accordance with German Patient Data Protection Act (PDSG) or section 360 (5) German Social Code volume V (SGB V)) commissions a security report, which is then reviewed by the Federal Office for Information Security and gematik. This report also includes the app’s interfaces to the e-prescription specialist service and the identity provider. All reports must be renewed regularly. Permanent security monitoring is in place to be able to detect attacks on the e-prescription service in good time. This is carried out by gematik together with the provider of the e-prescription specialist service. If the provider detects any security incidents, it must inform gematik accordingly. In addition to this ongoing technical monitoring, regular audits take place in which gematik checks whether the provider of the e-prescription service is complying with the specifications.

  • The status of the e-prescription is stored centrally in the health network (telematics infrastructure), meaning that it cannot be redeemed multiple times. The status is changed as soon as a pharmacy has redeemed an e-prescription, precluding a second redemption.

  • The doctor applies a qualified electronic signature to the e-prescription. This corresponds to the signature on today’s paper prescriptions. In contrast to the handwritten signature, it is virtually impossible to forge the qualified electronic signature. The pharmacy can use the qualified electronic signature to reliably determine who issued the e-prescription and whether the content of the e-prescription has been changed without authorisation.

  • No. Only the prescribing doctor and the pharmacy of your choice can view the e-prescription. If you have shared the prescription electronically with a third person, they can also see the prescription, provided they are logged into the e-prescription app.

  • Data about your usage behaviour is only collected anonymously and only if you agree. This includes: session duration, screen IDs, dwell time on session IDs, actions (such as cancel buttons), information about the operating system and device information.

  • Statistically meaningful information helps the development team to identify vulnerabilities in the user experience. Are interactions with the app successfully completed or are there high cancellation rates? Are functions used or ignored? Is the app running stably or are there increasing numbers of crashes? This information supports product development in setting and reviewing goals and improving the app for the benefit of the subscriber.

  • Personal data as defined by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation is neither collected nor stored.

  • The anonymous raw data remains with gematik.

  • All data is collected anonymously. gematik cannot therefore produce any person-specific compilations of interactions.

  • To avoid misuse, prescriptions can only be synchronised after authentication with a medical card or a biometric identity check. We also recommend using a biometric access block to secure the launch of the app.

  • From 1 January 2022, gematik will provide an application that will also enable the log data to be viewed on a computer.