“If you want to continue receiving medical prescription numbers (Nre)”, the electronic recipeon your mobile phone via SMS or e-mail confirm the service”. This is the message addressed to citizens in Lombardy, as part of an information campaign launched in recent weeks by the Region. Since yesterday, many citizens have been rushing to confirm the service, worried about a stringent deadline. In particular through the electronic health record website, one of the channels made available by E from Palazzo Lombardia they wanted to point out that “from May 1st there will be no interruption in the service for sending dematerialized medical prescriptions for those who have not yet confirmed this choice through the channels made available by the Lombardy Region”.

Until April 29, “50% of citizens with an active profile” had “confirmed the service” and the Region underlines that there is still time to do so. “The electronic health record notification service (FSE) – Palazzo Lombardia announced in recent weeks – has been updated, offering citizens the possibility of making more choices and selecting the channel on which they prefer to receive them (text message or e-mail). For this reason, in the ‘User Profile’ section a new graphic interface has been introduced to communicate to citizens how to confirm/join the service. With this update, even citizens who have already taken advantage of the possibility of receiving the electronic prescription number (Nre) on their mobile phones in order to keep it must confirm their interest in keeping the service active”.

“The citizens of Lombardy – he explains the regional councilor for Welfare, Guido Bertolaso – they still have a large period of time to make the choice on how to receive electronic prescriptions. The information campaign on this topic, which began two months ago and which involves ATS, general practitioners and pharmacies, will continue until participation is maximum”.

How to confirm the electronic prescription service

To confirm their interest in keeping the service active, according to a note and the poster released by the Region, citizens can use one of the channels made available: online, by accessing the ‘Profile and Settings’ section of the health file, selecting ‘Notifications’ and then the ‘Recipes’ item, choosing to send SMS or e-mail; at the offices, choice and revocation of the relevant Asst; by the general practitioner/pediatrician of free choice; in the pharmacy; on the ESF App.

Bertolaso ​​reassures: “No deadline, there’s no need to rush”

“The electronic prescription number (Nre) is a system created during Covid to alleviate the enormous difficulties that every citizen experienced in order to have a prescription” and “serves to make the purchase of medicines provided for by the National Health Service easier. Now with this system everything is much more simplified”, compared to “operations that require more time, travel, or other difficulties”. “We thought it appropriate to carry it forward, without interrupting the habits that some citizens may have. It is about improving the effectiveness and functionality of an essential service and we had indicated this date of the end of April” by which to express confirmation and the choice of the service method, “which was not a mandatory date: it was simply an incentive” to complete the procedure, “because even 50% of those who had the possibility to do so had already signed up”. But “there is no interruption, there is no final date beyond which this proceeding ends”. So “there is no need to rush.” To point it out the Welfare councilor of the Lombardy Region Guido Bertolasospeaking to ‘Tgr’ Lombardia.

The service that allows the digital sending of the electronic prescription code “has evidently been appreciated by those who have been able to use it – highlighted Bertolaso ​​- Let us therefore move forward with the possibility of activating this procedure through the chosen criteria: it can be forward online, going to the family doctor, going to the pharmacy, making the acceptances for this method which are now standardized and to which we are all accustomed. There are two parallel channels, the traditional one and the new one which provides the possibility of using these new technologies that are provided to us. We must take advantage of them.” In view of the indicative date of April 30, however, many Lombards have flocked to the health file website to confirm the service. The effect was that of a slowdown of the portal, presumably due to the peak in traffic linked to these operations.

There was a great demand, confirmed the councilor, and “large requests always create problems for these IT systems”, when “in certain moments we clog up the access methods”. “We are used to it, it happens and will happen again in the future, because we want there to be a great participation of all citizens. We will also try to organize ourselves to avoid inconvenience for what may be the next initiatives and there will be many which will concern the improvement of all the health services that we intend to create”. In the meantime, however, the invitation is not to rush. There is still time and the procedure can still be done for “weeks, for a few more months. Then within the year we would like to close this procedure and therefore follow one path or another, but this will not happen in the next few days” .

Why is it necessary to confirm the NRE? “Because fortunately we have left the Covid emergency behind us – Bertolaso ​​remarked – and those exemptions that were granted precisely because of an emergency have ceased to exist. Now fortunately we are back in a normal regime and therefore we must follow those that were the foreseen procedures”.

Boom in access to the Lombard electronic file

Then a trip to the electronic health record website in Lombardy. Despite the Region’s reassurances, many citizens who had not yet done so rushed in the last few hours to carry out the procedure for choosing the method of digitally sending the number of prescriptions (Nre), without the need for a paper reminder, generating a peak of traffic on the portal, one of the channels available for confirming the service. Result: slowdowns in operations on the website, according to reports from many Lombards, although it was still possible to complete the procedures.

What happens today, April 30th? In reality, the experts explain, the issue of the deadline is not there, in the sense that it is not a peremptory deadline. The one reported is an indicative deadline that had been inserted in the information screen to give people an idea of ​​a time margin within which to complete the operation, confirmed by the Region.

The possibility of receiving the electronic prescription code on your mobile phone or via email was introduced during the Covid emergency, but with the latest measures it has been made permanent. The operation requested in Lombardy, as part of the renewal of the health record notification service, is necessary to collect a sort of consent (since it concerns personal data) regarding the methods of the service that you wish to activate and therefore sanction this transition to a structural system. This latter step obviously affects the entire national territory. The electronic prescription was in fact first extended until the end of 2024, before being definitively transformed.

Family doctors in Milan: “No communication to us”

“In reality, in our studies, everything is proceeding regularly. We have not recorded any concerns from patients in recent days, but we have not had much information either: no communication from Ats regarding Milan. We are waiting to receive it, obviously, because we are absolutely available to collaborate and, above all, to help our patients. We are waiting.” So at Adnkronos Salute Anna Pozzi, provincial secretary of the general practitioners of Fimmg Milanexplains, from the observatory of the family doctors’ clinics, the ‘rush’ of many Lombard citizens to confirm their ‘yes’ to receiving the electronic prescription either via email or mobile phone.

“During Covid, due to the emergency – continues Pozzi – the possibility, as throughout the country, of sending prescriptions online proved fundamental for chronic patients who must constantly repeat prescriptions. Recently communications in the press have warned that the citizen had to validate the service through the appropriate channels: online, in the ‘Choice and Revocation’ offices of Ats, in the pharmacy or, we have read, from family doctors, but at the moment we have not received, I repeat, any communication”.

The impression of the union representative “is that the clients, up to now, have not given any weight to the matter, because the service works – specifies Pozzi – and it has worked. On a practical level, we will probably have some inconvenience in the future if they don’t leave the prescriptions and the patients who have not done so will have to hurry up to comply.” Also because “the electronic prescription is now essential – he underlines – and avoids many inconveniences for the chronic patient. The problem is, in fact, fundamentally linked to the chronic conditions that today affect a vast range of patients. If I have to prescribe an antibiotic, it is obvious that I will have to visit the patient and, in that case, the problem of sending it online does not arise. But for the chronic patient who has continuous therapy, it is an indispensable service – concludes Pozzi – to be able to have the code on the phone to collect the medicine”.