Screen capture from e-syntagografisi.gr
The Οργανισμός Ασφάλισης Ελεύθερων Επαγγελματιών (OAEE), or Insurance Agency for the Self-Employed, began nationwide implementation of electronic prescriptions in Greece, with the aim of reducing fraudulent prescriptions, modernizing processes, improving transparency and saving up to €1.1 billion a year.
OAEE, formerly known as TEBE, was selected to test-drive the system from October 18, 2010 because it issues the fewest prescriptions a year at 3 million, compared with OGA at 16 million and IKA with 25 million. In a mere 30 days, there was a 46 percent drop in expenditures, and the average cost of a prescription decreased by nearly half after 60 days, which indicates the system is working as intended.
OGA started e-prescriptions June 1, 2011 , IKA on September 15, 2011; and EOPYY doctors nationwide by September 2012.
All funds were scheduled to switch to e-prescriptions by May 1, 2011, with full integration at state hospitals by January 1, 2012. In reality, it will take several years before it is fully implemented due to lack of technology, mandatory checks and fraud.
*Article last updated June 15, 2014. However, there are updates pending for this post.
How does it work?
According to www.e-syntagografisi.gr, all pharmacies and OAEE doctors must register with the website. Doctors located in rural areas without Internet access, and prescriptions issued on an emergency basis, during a blackout or for vaccines and high-cost medicines only filled at public hospital pharmacies, can still be handwritten but must eventually be entered into the system by the pharmacist.
An OAEE-insured person in need of a prescription visits his/her authorized doctor, as usual. The doctor logs onto the website, enters the prescription(s), which can then be picked up at a pharmacist registered with www.e-syntagografisi.gr. The pharmacist scans the medication as evidence he/she filled the prescription with the proper drug and dosage.
At the end of the month, the pharmacist sends a statement or invoice for reimbursement.
*See oriste’s first-hand experience in ‘Comments.’
As the insured, what will I need?
1. An AMKA
— If you do not have an AMKA, go to “AMKA: Greek social security number” and follow the instructions.
2. Greek ID or passport from any country
— The spelling of your name should match your AMKA file
3. Contact information, such as phone number and address
4. Health booklet/Το βιβλιάριο υγείας for handwritten prescriptions
As I understand, insured persons will eventually be granted online access to e-prescription data, but for the time being only physicians and pharmacists are allowed during the test phase.
What if the pharmacist cannot fill the prescription?
The patient has the option to find another pharmacy, or the pharmacist will be required to call the doctor to cancel the original request and authorize a substitute.
By law, a pharmacist cannot interpret a patient’s needs and must follow the doctor’s prescription as written. People have complained that this inconveniences patients, as some will need to wait over the weekend, but it’s done for safety reasons.
What if my needs change?
Prescriptions can be edited, deleted or refilled according to a patient’s condition and needs. If you are allergic to the medication or need your prescription modified, you must contact the doctor.
Your medical and pharmaceutical history cannot be accessed by pharmacists, but all doctors can view a patient’s pharmaceutical history to make medically informed decisions and prevent fraudulent prescriptions.
By law, prescriptions should only be written for up to 30 days and up to 60 days for chronic illness/disease, then renewed after review.
Only offered in Greek, some users have already reported technical issues and a problematic interface.
Ηλεκτρονική Διακυβέρνηση Κοινωνικής Ασφάλισης (ΗΔΙΚΑ)/Social Insurance E-Governance (IDIKA)
Ministry of Labor and Social Security
24-Hour Help line: 11131
Pharmacists and OAEE doctors must register
If you need to register or are curious about the system, take a look at a video demonstration in Greek:
In the News
“Doctors prescribing drugs to dead people & collecting money” — Ta Nea
“Greece can save 5 billion by implementing new IT” — WSJ
“Prescription drugs found dumped in suspected scam” — Kathimerini
“OAEE prescription costs down 50% in first 20 days of program” — Ta Nea
“Large caches of illegal prescriptions found across Greece” — Kathimerini
“Unemployed women in Greece targeted by prescription scam” — Ta Nea
“Middlemen skim money from prescription delivery” — Eleftherotypia
“IKA Heraklion finds fraudulent prescriptions to dead people” — To Vima
“Thessaloniki nursing home collected IKA money with false claims on expensive drugs and equipment” — Ta Nea
“Scams by doctors, pharmacists and insured” — Imerisia
“Συνταγές μόνο για 30 μέρες” — Eleftherotypia
“All funds in Greece to convert to e-prescriptions by May 1” — SKAI
“Labour ministry unveils electronic prescription system” — ANA-MPA
“Full implementation of electronic prescriptions” — Eleftherotypia
“Καθυστερεί η ηλεκτρονική συνταγογράφηση” — Kathimerini
“Doctors prescribe to deceased and collect money” — To Vima
“Το Σεπτέμβριο ηλεκτρονική συνταγογράφηση στο ΙΚΑ” — Eleftherotypia
“Οδηγός για την e-συνταγογράφηση” — Ta Nea
“Αλαλούμ στο σύστημα συνταγογράφησης ΟΑΕΕ” — Eleftherotypia
“Συχνές Ερωτήσεις” — www.e-syntagografisi.gr
“Από κόσκινο συνταγές, παροχές” — Ta Nea
“Αντιδράσεις στην ηλεκτρονική συνταγογράφηση” — To Vima
“Η ηλεκτρονική συνταγογράφηση έριξε τη μέση συνταγή από 80 σε 48 €” — Eleftherotypia
“Ξεκίνησε η ηλεκτρονική συνταγογράφηση ιατρών συμβεβλημένων με τον ΟΓΑ” — Kathimerini
“Police bust Greek doctors writing prescriptions to deceased” — AMNA
1 billion in prescriptions go in garbage because of fraud or prescription of unnecessary drugs; says that 3.5 million CAT scans are done in GR, twice the number of any EU country.
11 doctors requested to explain why they wrote 500 prescriptions a month