First Online Service in Slovak Health Sector

At the beginning of October 2014, we launched the new online service Safe Medicine (Bezpečné lieky). It is the first online service in the Slovak health sector, linking healthcare providers with their patients and health insurance companies. Transfer of data happens almost instantaneously, in a safe manner and in an extent that is appropriate for the recipient of the information (physician can also view detailed information relevant for the therapy).

Publikované: 28. 01. 2015

Safe Medicine

Safe Medicine service has been in operation since spring 2013; it has facilitated to view the patients’ medications prescribed by other physicians based on the reported therapies and was capable of evaluating the drug and food interactions. Along with other important data shown in the Electronic Office, it can aid physician in adjusting therapy for any patient who is a client of Dôvera insurance company.

 This is no triviality as in 2013, the 200 thousand people insured in Dôvera had almost a million drug interactions - situations when the combinations of their drugs could affect their health. Doctors and insurees have used the service and occurrence of the highest degree drug interactions has dropped by approximately 10 % since it started operating a year ago.

Safe Medicine Online 

In order to make the service even more helpful (especially in acute illnesses) and the therapy even safer, further development of the service has been adjusted to the requirements of physicians and in July 2014, the new concept was presented to the general public. The importance and benefits of the new Safe Medicine online service were underscored by the presence and support from the representatives of the Slovak Medical Chamber, the Slovak Chamber of Pharmacists, Zdravita (Private Physician’s Association of the Slovak Republic) and the Slovak Hospital Association at the press conference held in July.

Since October 2014, doctors in certain hospitals and healthcare centers and pharmacists in their shops have had the necessary data available online, directly from their computers (software). In practice this means that a patient leaves the physician’s office with a prescription, picks up their medication in the nearest pharmacy and by the time he visits a doctor again, the information will be saved in the system. The patient therefore does not have to remember the name of the drug because the physician may access it via computer. The patient will not thus be prescribed the same drug twice or will not have two mutually contraindicated prescriptions.

 The Safe Medicine online service will show patient’s medication register - all drugs prescribed and medical reports filled out by all other physicians. Of course, all information is made available in accordance with the law, agreements and the Act on Protection of Personal Data.

Service Availability

The new service has first been made available to healthcare providers on 8 October 2014 with the prospect of extending the network to further hospitals, pharmacies and healthcare centers. 

The new service has been made available to pharmacists in a reasonable extent, to facilitate better drug-related counseling to patient.

Debtors

Health insurance companies have legal obligation to cover healthcare expenses for all their insurees. However, debtors of general health insurance who are listed in the List of Debtors are only entitled to coverage of their expenses on therapy and medical drugs in relation to immediate threat to their life and health.

All debtors have been reminded, using all available communication channels, that they will not be refunded planned hospitalizations, spa treatment or assisted reproduction treatment before they have settled their debts to the public health insurance. They have also been warned that soon they will face the same approach in prescribed medications (or other non-acute healthcare).

The Safe Medicine service enables them to settle their debt directly at those healthcare providers (physician or pharmacist) who accept payments on behalf of our health insurance company. Patients may obtain detailed information of debt settlement method from providers who have decided to use this functionality of the Safe Medicine online service.

 According to the law, insurees included in the List of Debtors are only entitled to healthcare in life-threatening situations. Information about whether a patient is debtor is directly provided to physicians and pharmacies via the information systems. This means that soon, the debtors will have to pay full prices for certain prescription drugs or for non-acute healthcare.

Information Available to Physicians in Few Clicks

Using the new service, physicians have immediate access to:

• overview of medical care (patient’s health documentation) provided to the patient from other physicians;
• online updated information on medical drugs and their possible interactions;
• current register of insurance company: about 100 thousand people change their health insurance company annually. Only a few of these report the change to their physician in a timely manner. Using the new service, physician will be able to know, on daily basis, whether the patient is still insured at our company;
• information on whether the patient has debt in general health insurance.

Benefits of Online Service

Patients: 

• access to safer therapies, reduced risk of duplicated prescription drugs;
• continuous information on health status, administered medical drugs;
• practical information on prescription (reminders, validity date)
• instantaneous check for drug interactions with recently prescribed drugs.

Physicians: 

• faster work flow, time saved can be dedicated to patient examination;
• access to up-to-date and relevant information on patient’s health status.

Pharmacists: 

• aid in administration of prescriptions. Previously, they had to record all prescriptions into their information systems manually. Only the manually transcribed prescriptions from patients insured in Dôvera represent nearly 900 thousand prescriptions per month;
• electronic prescription that pharmacists can automatically download into their system using a bar code from the prescription.