In 2019, the Government defined that even doctors considered “unsuitable” would have to start prescribing paperless prescriptions. Now, the term, however extended, is coming to an end, and the president of the Order of Doctors, Miguel Guimarães, come criticize the guardianship silence, speaking of a decision that “will have a negative impact on patients”.

The deadline initially set for mandatory electronic prescriptions was March 31, 2020, but the period was extended to December 31, due to the pandemic. Despite recognizing that this is a “small number of doctors”, mostly older, with last year around 400, Miguel Guimarães highlights the importance of these professionals: “we are talking about a group of doctors who were decisive in the construction health care in Portugal “.

After the president has already alerted the Ministry of Health to what the Order considers to be a problem, the body has not yet received a response, despite the insistence, criticizing the role of the tutelage. “At a critical time, when access to health care is already showing so many difficulties, and since this problem is so simple to solve, the guardianship silence is not understood,” he says.

Miguel Guimarães also recalls that in April a decree was published that postponed the deadline, “precisely because of the pandemic situation that the country was going through and the difficulty of the Shared Services of the Ministry of Health in continuing with training”. So, in the middle of the second wave, he doesn’t understand what could have improved.

The president of the Ordem dos Médicos also makes reference to the efforts of health professionals, even with the recurring problems that arise. “Doctors have always collaborated in an exemplary way in the process of dematerializing the prescription, even using a computer system that often fails, which delays consultations and other procedures”, he says.

Changes in the rules of electronic prescriptions

Since 2015, doctors have been able to use electronic medical prescription (SME) and, until 2019, there was a possibility that professionals were registered as unsuitable for information systems at the Ordem dos Médicos and at the Ordem dos Médicos Dentistas.

Everything changed with the ordinance published last year, by defining only two exceptions in relation to the mandatory electronic prescriptions. Paper receipts can only be issued in the event of a system failure and the user is unable to receive the dematerialized prescription.

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