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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case AT-2020-12/583 – measures in Austria

Electronic prescriptions

Elektronisches Rezept

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, started on 18 March 2020
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Measures to prevent social hardship
– Access to healthcare
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Case created 14 April 2020 (updated 10 July 2020)

Background information

In order to keep visits to doctors' offices to a minimum during the COVID-19 pandemic, Austria started to use electronic prescriptions on 18 March 2020. This quick initiation was possible because the country had already prepared to start electronic prescriptions in a pilot project in two political districts in the regional province in Carinthia in April 2020. The measure is targeted especially to those who need long-term medication. It stands to be seen whether it will be prolonged after the Corona crisis is over.

In addition to the electronic prescription, further measures for the period of the pandemic were introduced, including for instance the suspension of the authorization requirement (chief physician requirement) for many medications. Furthermore, ambulance transports are free of charge until further notice; the same applies to medical aids and aids up to a total of €1,500 as well as X-ray and cross-sectional examinations. Sickness reports to doctors are currently also possible by telephone. Doctors, psychotherapists and midwives can also invoice necessary telemedical treatments (via Skype, video conference or telephone) such as a service performed in the ordination.

Content of measure

The procedure of getting an electronic recipe is that the patient calls the doctor's office. The doctor issues the prescription and saves it in the patient's (pre-existing) e-medication. The information reaches the pharmacy automatically via e-medication. There, the patients can either pick up the medicine themselves or send someone.

In cases where e-medication is not working or is not yet working, doctors were also given the opportunity to send prescriptions to the pharmacies by fax or email. The electronic prescription is primarily intended to help older people and people with previous illnesses to avoid medical practices as best they can given the spread of coronavirus in Austria. Accordingly, the measure is mainly intended for people with long-term medication. However, in principle, it is also possible that the doctor prescribes medication for acute cases.

Use of measure

Currently no information available.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Does not apply to businesses Applies to all citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Social insurance
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Negotiated Negotiated
Form Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level

Involvement

The social insurance's administrative board consists of social partner and government representatives, so they are basically involved in all decisions. In this case, the process (i.e. the pre-existing project of implementing e-recipes) was sped up due to the pandemic. No specific funds (above the ones which were set aside for this anyway) were needed.

Views and reactions

Social partners are supportive of the measure.

Sources

  • 17 March 2020: Electronic prescriptions - how it works (Elektronisches Rezept – so funktioniert es) (orf.at)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Electronic prescriptions, case AT-2020-12/583 (measures in Austria), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.