How the electronic prescription must revolutionize the daily lives of patients

Jade can no longer lose her papers. “I am asthmatic, I still had a prescription that could be renewed four times. But I don’t know what I did with it,” she sighs. Having left Lyon for Paris in November, this 29-year-old graphic designer cannot even turn to your old usual pharmacy. “She could have helped me out, but now I’m going to have to see a doctor. I hope to find it soon”. Soon, perhaps, Jade will be done with this mess. Because from the spring of 2023, more and more healthcare professionals will issue their drug prescriptions in electronic format.

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The Ministry of Health and Prevention is thus in the right vein for Jade – and the rest of the population – to finally take ownership of their digital health record, renamed “My health space” at the start of 2022. “My account is open, yes, but there is not much, apart from some blood test results,” breathes the neo-Parisian. From April 2023, his shared medical file (DMP) should be expanded with, in particular, the prescriptions written by his doctor.

A prescription with a QR code

But how does this famous electronic prescription work? First, this is not a scan of a handwritten prescription. Like the vaccination certificates against Covid-19, this new generation prescription will be typed and fitted with a QR code. Soon no more illegible prescriptions!

Once the prescription has been written using a computer, the doctor slips it into the patient’s shared medical file and provides him with a paper copy with the QR code. “It will save crazy time at the checkout for pharmacies, there will no longer be the paper prescription that makes pssst in the machine,” enthuses Raphaël Beaufret, co-head of digital health with Hela Ghariani . Because the barcode is a secure method for the pharmacist to consult the content of the prescription. “No more sending prescriptions to pharmacie75@gmail.com”, adds Hela Ghariani, pointing to this increasingly widespread practice with the rise of teleconsultations and delivery of medical prescriptions in PDF format on appointment scheduling platforms such as Doctolib, or even via a consumer messaging tool when doctors do not pay for the subscription to consultation management software.


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Another advantage for the Secu in particular, the QR code gives a unique number to the prescription. This should therefore make it possible to better fight against fraud. “Access to the digital prescription database is only possible with the use of a health professional card […] Thanks to this security, the digital prescription will make it possible to fight at the source against false prescriptions.

What about the equipment of health professionals?

However, it remains to equip health professionals so that this electronic prescription benefits the greatest number. If the shared medical record was reborn from its ashes under the name of “My health space” at the start of 2022, few doctors or pharmacists have yet adopted the tool. As a result, the digital health records of the French are still poorly informed. According to figures from the Digital Health Agency and the Ministry of Health and Prevention, in October, only 2% of the documents added to “My health space” were sent by city doctors. The majority of documents that patients can consult in their shared medical record are medical biology reports or hospital documents.


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If there are few medical prescriptions in “My health space, it is also because the electronic version has so far only been the subject of experiments launched on the sly with a handful of health professionals since 2019. Last September, according to Health Insurance, only 259 doctors and 59 pharmacists tested the tool. All this, while being scattered over eight departments: Pas-de-Calais, Seine-Maritime, Val-de-Marne, Maine-et-Loire, Saône-et-Loire, Bas-Rhin, Morbihan , the Yvelines. Thus, in mid-September 2022, there were barely a million electronic prescriptions created by doctors since the launch of the experiments three years ago. But among them, only 50,000 were dispensed by pharmacists. “This difference is explained by the fact that patients do not necessarily choose an equipped pharmacy located close to their doctor. In addition, there are not yet enough equipped pharmacies in the close vicinity of the experimental doctors, the deployment being in progress.”, is it specified in a waypoint distributed by the National Health Insurance Fund on November 17.

“Pharmacists and doctors need to be equipped with Ségur software. To my knowledge, not a single pharmacy has it for the moment”, launches Philippe Besset, president of the Federation of Pharmaceutical Unions of France (FSPF). The pharmacist says he is “reasonably confident” that all pharmacies will be operational before April 30, 2023. And doctors could already write electronic prescriptions from the start of the year if we stick to the schedule defined by the Ministerial Directorate of Digital Health. Because each healthcare professional can benefit from state support for updating their equipment if he places an order within the time allowed. Doctors had until November 30 to reserve the new version of their business software compatible with “My health space” and the electronic prescription system. Pharmacists still have a little time. The deadline is March 15, 2023 to place an order with their publisher. In all, “23 software are currently authorized “Digital Prescription”, 9 of which are in the pre-series phase” underlines the Health Insurance in its progress report.

Sanctions if professionals do not comply with the rules

It remains to be seen whether many doctors will comply with the standards established by the Ministerial Directorate for Digital Health. “It is not won, many are aging and will not want to bother with that”, we breathe in a nursing home in the Paris region. However, the Ministerial Directorate for Digital Health indicates to Capital “that around 51,500 Ségur software orders have been placed by liberal doctors, or 70% of doctors (all specialties combined) of doctors benefiting from the structure package”. 51% of health centers and 64% of nursing homes have also ordered the update of the business software for doctors.


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Reluctant doctors who have not placed an order, however, may not have a choice. Because article 53 of the Social Security budget for 2023 introduces the notion of sanction for health professionals who would put themselves on the margins of digital health. Continuing education systems may be offered to them so that they do not suffer the consequences of the digital divide. The Ministry of Health has set itself the objective of fully generalizing electronic prescriptions by December 31, 2024.

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How the electronic prescription must revolutionize the daily lives of patients


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