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Pharmacists want more rapid improvements for Latvia’s e-health system

Although e-prescription system has been improved to be faster and more efficient, pharmacists and residents still find the system inconvenient and buggy, especially when it comes to mistake-riddled prescriptions, as reported by Latvia’s Pharmacists Association.

For the fourth consecutive month doctors in Latvia write prescriptions electronically and residents receive them at pharmacies by showing their identification document – passport or ID card. It should be said that upon launch the system was heavily criticized for its instability and other problems.

Latvia’s Pharmacists Association reported problems to Healthcare Ministry.

In spite of continued efforts to fix the system, it remains unstable: it had suffered eight crashes in March and three in April already.

Last week, there was a meeting involving representatives of the association, Healthcare Ministry and National Health Service.

The ministry admitted that problems reported by pharmacists are justified and real, and promised to fix them. Unfortunately, because adding changes to the system requires organizing a state tender, improvements are expected to come no sooner than autumn this year.

Although the system has been improved, pharmacists and residents still experience problems with improperly written prescriptions, because the system does not have a warning mechanism for the doctor when signing prescriptions.

The association emphasizes that rules require pharmacists to check prescriptions for errors, which requires them to spend a large amount of time in the electronic environment, because information has to be sought in other registers. Problems surface if the doctor does not have a contract signed with the National Health Service or a specific medical institution in regards to writing prescriptions or of the specialist is not allowed to write prescriptions for a specific diagnosis, etc. There have been cases when a doctor wrote a prescription for a patient not registered with the state database and who is not eligible for state-funded prescriptions, pharmacists explain.

Pharmacists invite doctors to pay attention to aforementioned problems and make sure prescriptions include children’s age when it is necessary.

«It is important for medical personnel that assist doctors to know and follow requirements that govern writing prescriptions. It is no less important to coordinate prescriptions over the phone, especially if the doctor delegates writing prescriptions to support personnel. It is not possible to correct a prescription in a pharmacy or send it back to the doctor to be corrected. This forces the patient to go back to their doctor,» specialists say.

At the same time, pharmacists say the time pharmacists and doctors spend dealing with E-health system’s many problems is too large – it takes away time from consultations and patients’ questions.


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