December month of deadlines for public health. In addition to the obligation to use masks in hospitals and nursing homes, which will be extended as Minister Schillaci has repeatedly reiterated, another important asset for citizens and doctors has come to an end: the electronic prescription.
At the end of the year, in fact, the so-called dematerialized prescription will also expire. Immediate request for an extension by the doctors to Minister Schillaci who seems to have already found a positive response. “We have consulted the minister’s secretariat on the provision, pointing out the deadline, and we expect a positive response on a possible extension” said the president of Fnomceo Anelli. “We know that the issue is on the table and we are sure that the minister “will show his attention to the subject”, announces Silvestro Scotti, national secretary of general practitioners.
Technically it is an ordinance of the Presidency of the Council which – according to the union of Smi doctors and Active Citizenship – should be renewed and extended. “We ask the Minister of Health, Orazio Schillaci, to extend beyond the deadline of December 31, 2022, the use of the dematerialized prescription for at least a year and a provision that makes its use structural”, so as to “free” doctors “from improper bureaucratic burdens” – said Pina Onotri, general secretary of the Italian Doctors Union (SMI). The SMI has sent a letter to Minister Schillaci making this request. “Family doctors, continuity of care and territorial emergency doctors, explains Onotri, are lacking throughout Italy and at the same time are increasingly burdened by improper bureaucratic loads, with an ever decreasing availability of time for clinical activity”. The return to the paper prescription as it was before the Covid emergency, concludes Onotri, “would represent a leap backwards, causing long waits in doctors’ offices. The temporary solution we hope for is that of an extension of at least one year of the provision”. The general secretary of Cittadinanzattiva Anna Lisa Mandorino also speaks of a wasted opportunity for a possible failure to extend the use of electronic prescriptions. “Digital healthcare, in general, – explains Mandorino – and in its small way, even the dematerialized prescription is of enormous benefit especially in contexts, such as internal areas, where the distance from the doctor’s office, or the difficult conditions that sometimes exist for reach it, would force, for example, elderly people to ask a family member for help”.
The dematerialized prescription is the electronic version of the traditional red paper prescription and has been implemented in Italy in recent years but until 2020 it was still accompanied by a paper memo to be collected in the doctor’s office. The ordinance of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers published in the Gazette of 21 March 2020 has established the possibility of using alternative tools to the paper memo and provides that, when the electronic prescription is generated by the doctor, the patient can request the release of the dematerialized memo or the electronic prescription number. The electronic prescription provides for the complete computerization of the entire life cycle of the traditional paper medical prescription of the SSN, the so-called red prescription. It envisages the complete elimination of paper support (dematerialisation), compatibly with the alternative methods for safeguarding the delivery of medicines or services even in the absence of an electronic connection.
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