Can podiatrists prescribe medication? In short, yes. However, there are limits to this. Fortunately, direct mediation dispensing can help.
It is the role of any physician to provide the best possible care for their patients. In doing so, physicians will need to go out of their way to do more than just prescribe and administer medical care. Part of being a good doctor and providing quality care involves:
- Educating and communicating with patients
- Taking their circumstances into consideration
- Taking into account how their situation might affect or limit the efficacy of your prescribed treatment
- Adjusting accordingly to help them achieve the best outcomes
This can be as simple as providing advice for different medication, providing alternative treatments, addressing side effects, or helping patients better remember their treatment plan via follow-up calls, scheduled appointments, and personalized written instructions.
To take it one step further, a physician can provide a greater degree of care through their practice by expanding its functionality with added key features. For many physicians, one of the most effective and powerful ways to have an immediate positive impact on patient care is via in-house dispensing.
In-office dispensing, providing medication at the point of care, allows patients to skip the trip to the pharmacy, and the anxiety that may follow, especially if they’re tasked with finding medication on their own without a formal prescription.
- What if they buy the wrong drug?
- What if they get something similar, but not quite the right product?
- What if they forget the dosage?
- What if they can’t make the trip to begin with?
Dispensing medication at the point of care allows your podiatric practice to drastically improve medication adherence, by working directly with patients to improve their own understanding of the treatment plan and the medication involved, and by providing them the medication itself. From there, you can field and answer questions on the spot – including ones a patient may not want to ask a pharmacist in public, out of a concern for their own privacy, or because they aren’t comfortable voicing their concerns at the teller.
Can Podiatrists Prescribe Medication to Begin With?
Yes, they can. However, there are limits to what medication a podiatrist can dispense at the point of care.
As a medical doctor, a podiatrist has the same power as any other physician to prescribe medication, including medication not directly related to the field of podiatry.
For example, a podiatrist may feel inclined to prescribe their patient something for the chronic post-operative pain. However, they might also simultaneously refer you to a pain clinic, where pain specialists will continue treating your chronic pain and injury, through physical therapy, opioid or non-opioid analgesics, and other treatment modalities that a podiatrist may not be specialized in.
Both physicians and pharmacists, who fill the physician’s prescription, have an ethical obligation to do what is in the best interests of the patient, and to that end, pharmacists can also have the power to refuse to fill or refill a prescription on ethical grounds.
On the other hand, there are plenty of medications where a pharmacist probably won’t bat an eye if it’s been prescribed by a podiatrist – including antifungal medication, antibiotics, topical treatments, and conventional painkillers (both opioid and non-opioid).
Can Podiatrists Prescribe Medication In-Office?
Podiatrists can do more than just prescribe medication, though. All physicians can dispense medication at the point of care under specific circumstances, and state-dependent regulation further limits or defines under which circumstances those dispensing rights might be expanded.
A physician can administer and dispense certain medication in emergency situations or provide certain medications kept in stock at the clinic to patients in need of treatment. Different states have a number of laws on the topic of medication dispensing, including the lawful dispensing of medication under circumstances in which a pharmacist’s services are temporarily unavailable, or until such that medication can be acquired elsewhere.
Some states disallow the further dispensing of medication in a physician’s office, while others (most states) allow physicians to dispense medication, albeit with approval or registration from the local Board of Pharmacy, and a strict cataloguing and management of their medication inventory. The exact legal requirements for medication dispensing differ from state to state.
What is Medication Dispensing?
Medication dispensing is the direct sale of medication at the point of care, between a physician and a patient. It cuts out the pharmacist, which comes with certain risks (the lack of a second opinion on the prescription and dispensing of medication), but also comes with other benefits (it saves time, it can save costs, and it is much more convenient).
Medication dispensing has different requirements in different states, but as a general rule, any physicians dispensing medication must keep a detailed account of what they have in stock, what they have dispensed, to whom, and for what. Patient data is stored and managed, often digitally, and labels may be printed in the offices of the practice itself at the point of sale. These labels must be legible and detailed, and adhere to the strict standards enforced by the FDA.
Why Podiatrists Should Utilize Medication Dispensing
Podiatrists and other physicians can greatly benefit from medication dispensing for two major reasons:
- It benefits the patient
- It benefits the practice
What benefits the practice helps it thrive and break even, and thus continue to better serve the community.
As healthcare expenses rise and as it becomes increasingly difficult to manage a private practice, physicians must find ethical ways to generate revenue while providing greater value in their medical care. They can do just that with podiatric medicine dispensing.
The Benefits of Medication Dispensing for Your Patients
There are three major benefits to patients when dispensing medication at the point of care. These include:
- Patient convenience and satisfaction, helping patients save time and money.
- Improved medication adherence and immediate compliance via point-of-care dispensing.
- Helping patients improve outcomes.
The Benefits of Medication Dispensing for Your Practice
For podiatric practices, the major benefits of dispensing medication are:
- Greatly improved reputation due to the additional value provided by dispensing services.
- An additional revenue stream to help your practice.
- Saving time for both you and your staff.
What a Good Medication Dispensing Plan Looks Like
Medication dispensing is best managed digitally. There are a number of digital solutions to choose from, but the best ones must be safe and secure, easy to use, and reliable.
At Proficient Rx, we provide physicians and private practices with web-based turnkey solutions for medication dispensing, in the form of a HIPAA-compliant secure online portal accessible through any computer, terminal, laptop, or smart device in a physician’s office.
With your credentials, you can access and manage the inventory of your practice, print labels, order new medication, and manage the logistics of dispensing medication from your office.