Electronic recipes, yet another misunderstanding: we are talking about the digital memo. And there is no need to rejoice

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Electronic recipes, yet another misunderstanding: we are talking about the digital memo. And there is no reason to be happy

Yet another misunderstanding media coverage, probably born out of the desire to once again attack the Meloni government in digital matters, this time it concerns the dreaded abolition of the electronic medical prescription: the alarm was raised by various trade associations, but the reality seems to be quite different.

The government has never really said that it wants to eliminate the “dematerialized prescription” (it would be more correct to use the term “electronic prescription” or “digital medical prescription”) which remains (obviously) in force according to the recent ministerial regulations on the matter starting from inter-ministerial decree of 2 November 2011, but rather the raison d'être of a dangerous practice is being questionedadopted in the emergency period of the Covid, i.e. the sending of the so-called dematerialized memo by the competent doctors, managed through unreliable protocols and which therefore jeopardize the health data of the citizens concerned.

In the time of the Covid in fact, it was thought well to avoid the paper delivery of this memo for the patient, but to give the possibility of delivering it in digital form, therefore electronically. Here the Legislator (or rather, the Department of Civil Protection) has indulged, providing the possibility for the prescriber to release the entire memo in dematerialized form (and not only – and more correctly – the simple prescription number electronic) via sms, WhatsApp and even attached to e-mail messages. All systems that are notoriously unsafe and should be avoided in case of sending rather delicate information, because they contain health data.

It's worth remembering that email protocols are comparable to sending a paper postcard. And WhatsApp itself, although it allows encrypted sending, is in the hands of a foreign provider…

Here we are not questioning the dematerialized recipe, which is by now structural for the Ssn and has for some time provided the possibility for the prescriber, using a specific IT application, to fill in the documentation (once on paper) through the Health Card System(TS), transmitting the data of the electronic prescriptions to the Central Reception System (SAC or, if the system is regional, SAR), which registers the same information required by the red paper prescription in the system, making it available to doctors and pharmacies. It is good to remember, therefore, that patients had already received a simple (paper) reminder from their doctor for some time to show to their pharmacy so that they could receive the drug even if the TS system had problems: all dematerialized (except the memo), guaranteed in IT security through controlled access and rather simple in its implementation.

The practice adopted in the Covid emergency has added the element of electronic sending of the memo as well , but through channels to be considered unreliable in terms of security, putting our fundamental rights and freedoms at risk.

I therefore believe (and hope) that the only intentions of the government are only to allow the system to evolve further by avoiding the delivery of these memos through unreliable telematic channels. Digital documents, moreover, should never be transmitted as attachments, but only made accessible to interested parties (in this case doctors, pharmacies and patients). If the TS system is safe and stable then let's trust itto it with confidence and we guarantee controlled access to everyone, especially assisted persons, who should be able to access the SAC directly to consult and download their electronic prescriptions (and not just the related more or less dematerialized memos). This possibility has already been foreseen since 2020, but has never been realised.

If the intention is to finally implement these forecasts, as I believe, then it is a correct< intention. /strong>and I dare say the obvious one is to strengthen the system by no longer allowing such sending of health information over unsafe telematic channels, also because it is in line with the (rightly strict) recommendations on digital health of the Guarantor for the protection of personal data (and we should forcefully ask the government to go ahead with its prosecution).

However, the now inevitable path would seem to be that of the umpteenth one-year extension (in the usual Milleproroghe decree) for the digital reminder . On the other hand, this is the Italy of continuous extensions, which prefers to continue to indulge in consolidated practices, frightened by the media fuss, rather than relying on the compass of logic. There is no reason to rejoice, therefore: we will continue to rely on unsafe systems without instead working on a unitary system that is reliable and secure, as the one that supports our digital health should already be. Only in this way will we finally be able to “emerge” not from the pandemic, but from the backwardness that characterizes our country system.