An electronic prescription is a prescription for medicines issued and signed electronically by a doctor. It is entered into a centralised database called the Prescription Centre. The Prescription Centre register is controlled by Kela. The national Prescription Centre contains all electronic prescriptions and the dispensing records entered on them by pharmacies. Based on the information held in the Prescription Centre, any pharmacy can dispense your medicines.
Paper, telephone or fax prescriptions are not entered in the Prescription Centre.
Electronic prescriptions and their dispensing details are kept in the Prescription Centre for 30 months or 2.5 years. After that, they are transferred to another centralised database called the Prescription Archive.
After the electronic prescription has been adopted, patients still have the right to get a paper prescription, if they refuse the electronic one. They also have the right to deny access to their prescription details in the Prescription Centre.
Benefits of electronic prescriptions
The biggest difference from paper prescriptions is that patients can pick up their medicines with their Kela card from any pharmacy. The prescription itself is stored in the Prescription Centre, where it is always kept safe. You can get a summary of all your electronic prescriptions, showing all their details in one place. A new service is the option of renewing a prescription through a pharmacy.
Checking your overall medication regimen
When all the patient's prescriptions are entered in the Prescription Centre, the doctor can, with patients' consent, check their overall medication regimens and prevent possible adverse drug interactions and overlapping. At patients' request, a pharmacist can also check their overall medication. A nurse caring for a patient can also view the information in the Prescription Centre with the patient's consent.
Uniform drug information
After deployment of electronic prescriptions, all healthcare units and pharmacies will be using information based on the uniform Pharmaceutical Database. The Pharmaceutical Database contains the information necessary for prescribing and dispensing a medicine, its price and eligibility for reimbursement, as well as medical preparations that are interchangeable. The database also has information on reimbursable base creams and clinical nutrition preparations.
The Act on Electronic Prescriptions provides that deployment of electronic prescriptions is mandatory for pharmacies, healthcare units, and self-employed persons with practices in healthcare units' premises.
The electronic prescription is already in use in all pharmacies and public healthcare. The private sector will deploy it by the end of 2014. Healthcare units issuing fewer than 5,000 prescriptions a year, self-employed practitioners, social service providers and units in the Aland Islands must adopt it by 31 December 2016.
Using the information
The information held in the Prescription Centre is available for use by healthcare professionals caring for you, pharmacists in pharmacies, and students in both fields, when you need to visit a healthcare unit or pharmacy. The patient's consent must always be obtained to access the information.
You can see your own information at My Kanta pages.
Prescriptions that have been moved to the Prescription Archive can no longer be used by healthcare or pharmacies. The prescription details may be used for monitoring and control, drug safety measures, payment of drug reimbursements and research up to 10 years after they have been moved to the archive. For these purposes, the information may be accessed by e.g. Valvira, Regional State Administrative Agencies, the Finnish Medicines Agency, Kela and the Centre for Pharmacotherapy Development.