In Germany, electronic prescriptions – in testing since July 2021 – will become mandatory in January 2022. As such, the paper forms previously available will become obsolete. Online pharmacies must get ready for this next digitization step for Germany’s telematics infrastructure and offer their customers reliable and smooth ways of redeeming their digital prescriptions. Mobile Barcode Scanners are the perfect solution for this specific use case – they are easy to integrate into any application or website and offer maximum accuracy, fast recognition, and dependable data security. Learn more now in our latest blog post.
Electronic prescriptions in Germany – how does the digital replacement for the standard paper format work?
As the name suggests, electronic prescriptions are issued and signed exclusively digitally. Patients can redeem them with the prescription code, a QR Code provided either digitally or on paper. Patients can then easily access the digital version in the official e-prescription app. The prescription code – whether digital or printed – is required to pick up or order prescription drugs, both at local and in online pharmacies.
What are the benefits of e-prescriptions?
Digital prescriptions have numerous advantages for patients, doctors, and pharmacists alike, as they speed up and automate various administrative processes. Thanks to them, tedious prescription checks, lost document retrieval, or damaged printouts leading to the wrong medication being dispensed will soon be a thing of the past.
With electronic prescriptions, patients no longer have to visit their doctors’ offices or request prescriptions to be sent by mail to access the medication they need. This saves enormous amounts of time and increases flexibility for doctors, patients, and pharmacies alike. Postage cost is eliminated, for example, and patients can avoid making trips to – and spending time in – the doctor’s office when they only need prescriptions for their regular medication.
In the future, customers will no longer have to worry about picking up their medicines from local pharmacies: Using apps, they can forward e-prescriptions directly to nearby stores, which often also offer home delivery. Ordering prescription drugs from online pharmacies will also become much easier: From January 2022 onwards, prescriptions can be submitted digitally. Thanks to real-time transmission, online pharmacies can guarantee rapid dispatching.
What are the disadvantages of e-prescriptions?
Unfortunately, e-prescriptions also entail additional work for pharmacies and doctor’s offices. They have to buy and install the additional technological infrastructure required for the processing of electronically issued prescriptions. Data privacy is a big concern as well, since sensitive patient information is being transmitted.
The digital signature for e-prescriptions, which is generated using an eletronic doctor’s badge together with a personal ID number, makes staff lose time desperately needed for treating patients. This created the risk that they will try to circumvent this safety measure.
Online pharmacies: Electronic prescriptions present new opportunities and challenges
Until now, many online pharmacies generated most of their revenue with over-the-counter medication. Prescription drug orders were time-consuming, as customers usually had to mail their prescriptions to the pharmacy’s headquarters for reliable verification.
Electronic prescriptions open up an entirely new, digital distribution channel for online pharmacies. While allowing them to ship prescription drugs quickly and securely, it also presents them with the challenge of digitally capturing the prescription code. To overcome it, they need an efficient capture solution, ideally one that easily integrates into both their mobile app and their website. Only in this way pharmacies can offer customers a solid omnichannel experience.
Mobile QR Code scanning and parsing with Scanbot SDK
Online pharmacies can easily integrate a mobile QR Code Scanner SDK into their app or website within around one working week. However, the digital prescription has a unique feature – as prescription codes can come in both paper and digital formats, two different workflows are needed:
QR code parsing for digital prescription codes
- A customer wants to redeem an e-prescription and has the corresponding digital prescription code available.
- They upload a PDF or image with this code via the pharmacy’s app or website.
- The backend extracts all relevant data from the QR Code using the QR Code Scanner SDK. The order can be processed immediately.
- Shipping can be initiated minutes after the QR Code is uploaded. The order is delivered within days.
Scanning QR codes printed on paper with a mobile phone camera
- A customer had their prescription code printed out on paper during a visit to the doctor’s office and now wants to redeem it online.
- They simply scan and upload it in the mobile app using their device camera.
- The Scanner SDK immediately extracts all relevant information.
- Here, too, the shipping process can start just minutes after the data upload.
Scan QR Codes and other 2D barcodes with just your smartphone
With its flawless code recognition, even with damaged barcodes, in poor lighting conditions, or from difficult angles, the Scanbot QR Code Scanner SDK offers the optimal software solution for reading electronic prescription codes. Thanks to its built-in User Guidance, even inexperienced users achieve perfect scanning results. The smooth scanning process and the high output quality guarantee fast backend processing and shorten time-to-delivery. This results in high customer satisfaction – a success for pharmacies and patients alike.