In today’s world, digitalization and automation are ubiquitous and different countries have different strategies for implementing information technology in health care. In Belgium, these plans include the dematerialization of prescriptions, following the implementation of a system of electronic prescribing. In the light of these changes, we studied the attitudes of patients toward a paperless prescription. We collected the opinions of 273 patients by survey. Older people, or people with more complex medical needs, expressed a clear desire to keep receiving a paper version of the prescription. Younger people foresaw practical advantages, and expressed a willingness to buy prescription-only medicines online. Knowledge about the planned changes was, however, limited. Privacy and autonomy issues were expressed by a large fraction of people. The problem of what happens when a third person wants to pick up medicines for a patient, a frequent occurrence, was often mentioned. We conclude that, at present, patients have inadequate knowledge and understanding about the planned changes. In light of these considerations and the recent technical problems encountered by the system, we feel that an updated risk/benefit analysis of the planned policy is urgently needed.
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