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Increase Healthcare Revenue - ProficientRx

How Physician Dispensing Increases Healthcare Revenue

There are many benefits of physician dispensing, one of the most important being an increase in healthcare revenue. Here is what to know.

Physician dispensing enables doctors and other healthcare providers to offer and sell a number of medications at the point of care, rather than simply providing the patient with a prescription and ordering them to take it to the nearest pharmacist.

When competently implemented, a physician dispensing system can greatly improve the reputation of your practice and provide you with an added value proposition to outdo the competition.

In most states, physician dispensing is automatically allowed under strict circumstances, such as whenever a patient requires lifesaving medication, or is struggling with immense pain and needs immediate relief.

But under regular circumstances, in states that allow direct dispensing, physicians and other doctors require permission from the local Board of Pharmacy and must fulfill several other requirements to begin dispensing medication from the comfort of their office. This leads to some questions – such as whether the whole process is ultimately worth the effort, financially and ethically.

The short answer is that it is worth it. Patients with access to direct dispensing services can benefit from improved outcomes, greater guidance from their family doctor, as well as increased convenience and improved medication adherence. For doctors, the most immediate benefit of direct dispensing is increased healthcare revenue.

What is Physician Dispensing?

In the United States, doctors have a limited right to dispense medication. All doctors must follow strict rules when it comes to the prescribing of controlled substances, and even stricter rules when it comes to storing and managing an inventory of controlled medications, especially certain painkillers.

While some states have little to no restrictions on physician dispensing, most other states require doctors to provide additional documentation and pay a certain fee to start dispensing prescription medication from the point of care.

But doing so can have distinct advantages, despite the initial investment to start providing this service. The most obvious benefit is that you can offer patients something invaluable: time. Direct dispensing allows patients to start treatment much sooner than if they would have to procure their meds otherwise, especially when the nearest pharmacy is a long drive away.

Why Bother with Direct Dispensing?

Providing your own patients with medication at the point of care also provides you with the golden opportunity to better explain how their medication should be taken and how it works, while giving patients the opportunity to ask any questions they might have.

Providing such information is a critical part of the pharmacist’s job, but some patients feel uncomfortable asking these questions at the queue and are more likely to address them in the comfort and privacy of a doctor’s office.

Patients won’t just have faster access to their medication – they are also guaranteed the access they need, because you can both prescribe and provide the right drugs to kickstart or continue a patient’s treatment.

When simply prescribing medication, it is entirely up to the patient to go buy and take the meds you have prescribed, and all you can do is inform the pharmacy ahead of time and follow up with either the pharmacist or the patient after the fact.

This can help reduce patient non-adherence, a major healthcare issue that often goes unseen, and contributes to roughly 100,000 deaths per year. Furthermore, there is a profit motive behind offering physician dispensing services, as it increases healthcare revenue.

Physician Dispensing Can Increase Healthcare Revenue

When dispensing medication at the point of care, your practice will have to buy the medication it wishes to stock. You may then sell said medication at a price you are comfortable with.

Physician dispensing solutions don’t just focus on selling prescription drugs – you can stock and provide generic and branded over-the-counter prepackaged medications as well, buying them at wholesale prices and working with patients to figure out the best pricing and compensation plan to complement their treatment.

Common pricing solutions for direct dispensing practices include cash & carry dispensing, which would allow you to stock and resell repackaged medication at prices comparable to what your patients usually pay at a local pharmacy – but with greatly added convenience. This is ideal when working with patients who are uninsured, or otherwise choose to pay out-of-pocket for certain medications.

Physician dispensing is also an excellent option for practices that often take on patients involved in personal injury or worker’s compensation programs. In these cases, you can work with a financial middleman to collect payment on the treatment of patients involved in cases of worker’s compensation or personal injury. Physician dispensing service companies often provide the necessary financial services to manage the direct dispensing needs of workers’ compensation patients.

Should Your Practice Incorporate Physician Dispensing?

If you are looking for an additional way to increase your healthcare revenue while improving your reputation, then physician dispensing is a simple and effective win-win. The only challenge is finding the right partner to work with, in order to implement it properly.

Why Work with Us?

We at Proficient Rx specialize in making direct dispensing as easy as possible and ensure that our clients can provide effective point-of-care dispensing as quickly and simply as possible to help you improve your healthcare revenue.

Our direct dispensing software is purely web-based and HIPAA-compliant, allowing for encrypted and safe record keeping, inventory management, and the direct and automatic reporting and monitoring of controlled substances.

Updates, downloads, and installation troubleshooting issues are done away with, and our program doesn’t require interfacing with any one specific computer at the office. Instead, our clients are free to benefit from the convenience of a safe browser-based backend and can communicate with our live customer service to iron out any issues as soon as they appear.

Our turnkey dispensing solution is available to healthcare providers and practices in states across the country. Give us a call for more information.

Importance of Explaining Medication Education to Patients - ProficientRx

Why Is It Important to Explain Medications to Patients?

Medication education for patients is essential to ensure that they are taking their medication as prescribed. Here are four reasons why explaining medication is crucial to patients.

According to the American Medical Association, one of the reasons patients don’t take their medication is due to a lack of understanding. This means they are not reaching positive health outcomes because they may not understand the how’s and the why’s of your orders.

A visit to your office can be stressful for some patients. They know their time with you is limited so they prepare by picking what they consider to be the most important questions or statements related to their condition.

Unfortunately, not many of these questions are about their medications, leaving patients confused about their instructions.

 

Lack of Medication Education for Patients

The lack of medication education for patients can lead to negative consequences. Here are some facts that may surprise you:

  • Many of your patients will blindly follow your instructions regarding medication, even if they notice new negative symptoms.
  • Many of your patients do not read the printed materials you give them regarding their medication.
  • Many of your patients do not how to pronounce the medication you prescribe; much less understand why they need to take it.
  • Many of your patients do not know what to do if the medicine you prescribe causes a negative interaction.
  • Many of your patients do not understand how taking their medication can improve their health.
  • Many of your patients will stop taking their medications if they have trouble (affordability, pharmacy issues, transportation issues, hard to swallow, etc.).
  • Many of your patients are on multiple medications, and the facts above apply to all of them.

Knowing this, you should be motivated to take the extra time to explain medications to your patients. These are not the only consequences that can happen if patients do not understand. Below are just a few more.

 

Liability and Lawsuits

During a visit with your patient, you tell them to take their medicine three times a day. They don’t write down your instructions and the message on the pill bottle, written by the pharmacist technician, says to take three pills, three times a day.

The patient can’t remember your specific instructions, so they follow those given by the pharmacy. Instead of ingesting three pills a day, they are consuming nine. They experience an overdose that could lead to fatal results.

Guess who may be held liable and sued for malpractice?  You.

Taking extra time to discuss the medication in detail with your patient could have prevented this. The patient would have noticed a discrepancy on the pill bottle and called you for verification before taking the first dose.

This is just one example of a medication error that can cause harm to your patient.

 

Prevent Medication Errors

Medication errors are becoming more common. Pharmacists and technicians may make considerable errors including mistaking a pink-colored blood pressure pill for a pink-colored allergy medicine. The patient gets the wrong medicine and their health suffers.

Without perfect pill separation in packaging, patients can get similar pills mixed up too.

Other medicine errors can include cross-contamination, dosage typos, giving the right medicine to the wrong patient or mixing up doctor orders with patients who have similar names.

These errors happen daily, but they don’t have to if you give your patients better service.

 

Gives Patients Power

The more you know, the better. This is true for patients understanding their medications too. The more knowledge they have about their medication, the better decisions they will make. If they know that if they suddenly stop taking medication, it can cause adverse reactions, they may choose to continue following your instructions.

If patients know the exact benefits of taking their medicine, they may be more likely to follow through with the treatment plan.

Most importantly, providing the most education to patients gives them more power and control over their health. The more invested they become in improving their health, the more success you will see. In the end, improving patient health is the goal of both you and your patients.

 

Improve Patient Health

If you prescribe a blood pressure medicine to treat high blood pressure in your patient, don’t just prescribe it and send the patient home. They may or may not take it, they may take it sporadically, they may take it at the wrong time of day or mix it with other drugs that can cause problems.

None of these will improve patient health.

However, if you prescribe the medication, explain why you chose that specific medication. Tell them how the medicine will improve their blood pressure. Tell them what effects to notice and how long until they appear.

Explain to your patients what side effects are normal and which ones are abnormal. Instruct them on what to do if they have negative side effects, which ones need emergency room help and which ones need a call to your office.

Explain exactly how the medicine works with your body to lower blood pressure. Explain what can happen if they do not take their medicine.

Having all this knowledge helps the patient recognize its importance. They are more likely to take their medicine as prescribed. Both of you will see improved patient health.

 

Changes You Can Make

There are many things you can do as a physician to better explain medications to your patients. You can create videos of yourself offering detailed information about medicine. You can teach your assistants to share medication education with patients, and each time you prescribe a new medicine, have them meet with the patient.

One of the best ways to ensure patients understand medications is to start dispensing medications at the point of care. Meaning, you become the pharmacist and before they are discharged from your appointment, they have their medication.

This eliminates pharmacy errors and give you more time to meet with the patient. Dispensing programs come with multiple safety and educational benefits for patients, equipping you with better information providing tools to help you empower your patients.

The advantages of an in-office dispensing program lead to convenience for patients, better access to your office staff, easier refill systems, and better prescription monitoring capabilities for you.

All these lead to improved patient health.

 

Physician Dispensing Laws by State - ProficientRx

Physician Dispensing Laws by State: What Your Practice Should Know

As a medical practice, it’s important to understand the different physician dispensing laws by state; here is what you should know.

Physician dispensing can be a little complicated to implement without the help of an experienced partner. There are a few requirements to consider, as well as state-specific laws and registrations.

For healthcare practitioners who can make the most of it, a physician dispensing service can be a massive boon for their reputation and bottom line. Practices that implement point-of-care dispensing can make their patients’ lives easier while enjoying an additional source of income. In addition, prescriptions of controlled substances may need to be filed electronically in the near future, which can be significantly simplified through a comprehensive prescribing and dispensing system.

But before you begin integrating an in office dispensing program into your practice, learn what physician dispensing laws by state and requirements you might have to meet first.

Physician Dispensing Laws by State

While physician dispensing is allowed in most states (either in a limited sense or within a broader scope), there are still states that prohibit it. In some states, physicians can dispense medication freely without additional registration unless it is a controlled substance (which may require additional paperwork and licensing).

Each state has its own Board of Pharmacy, as well as specific physician dispensing laws by state. Some states require additional registration before a physician may dispense controlled substances from their practice. This registration is separate from the DEA number every prescribing healthcare professional must have.

Some states further limit what medications a physician may stock and how much they are allowed to stock. There are also state-specific rules and regulations regarding exceptions to the rule, wherein a physician may dispense life-saving medication or a certain amount of pain meds. In some states, only the physician may personally hand out/dispense prescribed medication (meaning a nurse or assistant cannot hand it out, even with the doctor’s permission or supervision).

Understanding State-Specific Laws

A detailed overview of physician dispensing laws by state may be helpful, but keep in mind that these laws are subject to change, particularly during a pandemic. It is in your best interest to review your state’s own legislation and contact your Board of Pharmacy for additional information.

Federal law also plays a role in physician dispensing, namely the Controlled Substances Act. The DEA provides additional information on the Controlled Substances Act for healthcare practitioners. All physicians must comply with state-specific implementation of the federal Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which was developed and intensified due to the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Confused about whether you’re allowed to dispense medications from your office or want to know what you need to get started? Then, visit your Board of Pharmacy and get in touch with us at ProficientRx.com.

Benefits of Physician Dispensing 

When implemented correctly, a direct dispensing or physician dispensing program can:

  • Help patients save time.
  • Cut out the trip to the pharmacy.
  • Reduce time staff spend on coordinating with pharmacies.
  • Reduce patient waiting times.
  • Enable in-house tracking of patient medication history and schedule follow-ups.
  • Reduce potential medication errors from misread prescriptions.
  • Increase patient adherence by making it more convenient to refill prescriptions.
  • And more.

1. Improved Patient Satisfaction

Patient convenience and patient satisfaction are far more than simple vanity statistics. Surprising surveys show that many patients care more about convenient healthcare services than healthcare quality – and while healthcare professionals have a moral obligation to offer the greatest care available, it is useful to understand just how much patients value their time.

Satisfied patients become returning patients and referring patients. They can increase your patient base and allow you to provide better care to an increasing portion of the community. Better patient convenience and satisfaction also translates into a stronger patient-doctor relationship, which certainly plays a role in the effectiveness of care by improving medication and treatment adherence.

2. Better Bottom Line

Direct physician dispensing adds to your practice’s value proposition and provides an additional source of income. Do not underestimate the value of retaining and gaining new patients through an additional service, as well as an improved reputation.

3. Improved Patient Adherence

Medication and treatment adherence are critical issues, especially in patients with chronic health issues. Drastically cutting down on the time they need to spend procuring medication by providing direct dispensing services can help you ensure that your more frequent patients can stick to their medication plan.

You can also directly coordinate with them to find affordable alternatives if they cannot afford their current medication and monitor their adherence more closely.

How Proficient Rx Can Help     

Our services are designed to help practitioners of the healing arts begin dispensing medication in-house as simply and as quickly as possible.

As physician dispensing continues to grow in popularity, both in response to the demand for better access to care during the coronavirus pandemic, and due to the benefits afforded to both patients and healthcare practitioners through physician dispensing, it becomes increasingly important to offer a direct path towards implementing point-of-care dispensing for practices and physicians with no place to start.  

Proficient Rx specializes in easy-to-use, turnkey web-based dispensing systems that help physicians keep track of inventory and dispensing histories, provide e-prescriptions, print customized and legible labels, and easily follow up on patients with recent prescriptions.

Meanwhile, we also help our clients offer telehealth services to their existing and expanding patient base, as well as a growing number of repackaged drugs, both branded and generic, prescription-only and over-the-counter.

As patients continue to look towards the healthcare industry and expect continued improvements in both convenience and price, technology-based solutions such as modern telehealth software, secure e-prescriptions, and a HIPAA-approved inventory and dispensing system can help healthcare practitioners around the country cut down on time wasted and unnecessary costs, while improving their practice’s value proposition, and helping patients refer to a single location for most of their healthcare needs.

Medical Dispensing - Proficient Rx

The History of Medical Dispensing

Medical dispensing creates many benefits for both healthcare facilities and patients, but the term has changed throughout history to what we know today as medication dispensing.

Medical dispensing refers to the ancillary service of a physician prescribing and filling medication orders at the point of care. Meaning, physicians can give patients their prescriptions before they even leave the office.

Dispensing saves patients time and is a great convenience for not only the patient, but for you and your staff.

Medical dispensing is relatively a new process. While pharmacies have been around for centuries, physician dispensing is now gaining popularity and taking the place of pharmacies around the world.

Medical Dispensing Origins

The first pharmacy was established by King James 1 in the 17th Century. This set the tone for how pharmacists and medical professionals would operate from then on.

If a person needed to visit what was then called an apothecary, they would be greeted by a staff member and the medicinal expert at the apothecary would create a product to help heal the patient.

As time went on, the patient would visit a medical professional who would then recommend a treatment for the patient. Up until 1951, pharmacists prescribed medications, except narcotics, themselves.

But with the passing of the Durham-Humphrey Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, pharmacists were required to have a prescription from a physician. After obtaining a prescription, the patient would consult a pharmacist to obtain the recommended medication.

Pharmacists, in the 1980’s, however, were tasked with educating and consulting the patient about their medication. This was set forth in the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act. This placed a very important part of the prescribing process on the pharmacist.

Unfortunately, not all pharmacists go the extra mile to ensure patients are educated.

To be completely sure patients receive the best treatment and education, many physicians are choosing to dispense medications at the point of care. This is what is considered modern medical dispensing.

Medical Dispensing Now

While some accounts date back to the mid-1200s, physician dispensing as we know it now was introduced in the early 1980s. This is when the Federal Drug Administration began allowing repackaging of medications.

Because of the extremely strict regulations repackaging companies must follow, the FDA approved the physician’s ability to prescribe, fill and profit from the distribution of pharmaceuticals in-office.

Repackaging makes your job easy. It also allows you to feel confident your patients’ medicines are protected from cross-contamination or any other errors that regularly take place within pharmacies.

Repackaging Regulations

Repackaged medication simply means a medication is taken from its original packaging that comes straight from the manufacturer, and placed into a smaller, safer and simpler type of packaging. Repackaged medications are often separated into individual doses, making it easy for the patient to keep on track with their medication schedule.

Repackaging steps include environmental testing, labeling, securing controlled substances, and keeping good records throughout the process.

Medicines must be tested at this point to ensure they are of the same quality as they were when created at the manufacturing facility.

Records must include the date of repackaging, prescription name, physician who will be dispensing the medicine, and drug name. The strength of the drug must be listed, as well as the quantity.  These steps must be verified and signed by an authority figure in the repackaging company.

Keeping good records is required. Repackaging companies must keep quality records for at least one year after the date of being repackaged. This process allows all medicines, including controlled substances, to be traced and identified when needed.

Introduction of Electronic Prescribing

When computers began gaining popularity and were made accessible for everyone, pharmacies and doctors were able to take advantage of computerized benefits also. Meaning, medications could be ordered and prescribed online.

This eliminated hand-writing every prescription, cut down on typographical errors and misunderstandings between pharmacists and doctors. Electronic prescribing also created the ability for doctors to prescribe directly to the patient, at the point of care.

General guidelines have been established to ensure patient safety and doctor protection. For instance, the patient’s name, address, date of birth must be printed on labels used with electronic prescriptions. The doctor’s contact information must also be made available on the label.

Furthermore, the label must include dosage and how to consume the dose, strength and preparation, if any.

In-office dispensing software can prevent errors with medicine.

The Process of Medical Dispensing

Today, physicians who dispense medications at the point of care meet with the patient to determine if medication is needed to help them resolve an issue. If they can benefit from medication, the physician can then simply enter the medical information into the dispensing software. The next step is to print the label, adhere the label to the medicine package and distribute to the patient.

Even filling refill prescriptions becomes much easier for you, and using the dispensing software, helps remind your patients when they are due for a refill.

It really is that simple. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure this entire process is consistently successful. You can regularly take part in safety checks with your staff. Provide trainings that keep you and your staff updated on changes to laws and regulations.

The World Health Organization defines good dispensing practices as the way you provide medicine to your patients. Using good practices, you give the right patient the correct medication. The medication is labeled correctly, with all accurate data, including clear instructions for the patient to follow.

Working with an in-office dispensing company is the best way for you to ensure you are compliant and running your practice properly. They do most of the work, allowing you to focus on caring for your patients.

Medical dispensing offers many benefits. One of the most important is that it gives you the ability to track compliance. You have measurable techniques at your finger tips to see whether patients are sticking to their treatment plan and therefore, reaching their treatment goals.

Improving patient health outcomes is the goal of physicians. With the arrival and progression of medical dispensing, that goal is more attainable.

Contact Us Today for Medical Dispensing - Proficient Rx

 

How Physician Medication Dispensing Can Improve Virtual Telehealth Visits - Proficient Rx

How Physician Medication Dispensing Can Improve Virtual Telehealth Visits

Physician medication dispensing has many benefits, one of which being improving the efficiency and patient care during virtual telehealth visits.

Providing comprehensive and qualitative patient care during a pandemic has proven to be a significant challenge. Many healthcare resources have been completely wrapped up in the battle against the virus, sometimes at the cost of care for patients with other health issues, particularly chronic conditions requiring frequent monitoring. 

Many urgent care facilities and physician’s practices have adapted to the current state of things via increased digitalization, leveraging new and existing technologies to continue to advise and see patients without endangering their health. 

Even as we move towards the light at the end of the tunnel, COVID-19 continues to claim lives daily. With the very real dangers of a pandemic fresh on our minds for years to come, we are sure to see some major changes in virtually every industry even after the end of the pandemic. 

Through improved telehealth services, healthcare providers have been able not only to continue to help care for their patients but have begun tapping into the added benefits of increased digitalization in the healthcare industry. The push towards faster and better virtual healthcare has also had its upsides, particularly in terms of patient convenience and safety. 

Yet, many aspects of care cannot be completed virtually. The safe prescription and delivery of medication, for example, may necessitate that patients come in at least once to verify their identity and condition and buy their own medication. 

Some practices have begun leveraging physician medication dispensing as a means to continue to minimize patient risk and increase patient convenience and make it as easy as possible to get medicine during the pandemic without violating the safety measures put in place to avoid medication abuse. 

 

Physician Medication Dispensing and Virtual Telehealth Visits

Physician medication dispensing is the ability to prescribe and sell medication at the point of care. State legislation and a state’s respective Board of Pharmacy dictates whether physician dispensing is allowed in any given state, as well as to what capacity. 

Some states are lenient towards physician dispensing provided there is enough oversight, while others only allow the stocking of regularly used medications and an emergency supply. Other states yet are much more rigid when it comes to managing whether and how physicians dispense drugs. 

Depending on what state you are licensed in and where your practice is based, physician medication dispensing may be an effective way for you to expand patient care and help tackle serious ongoing health issues during the pandemic, such as medication non-adherence

Medication dispensing also works hand-in-hand with telehealth by massively improving patient convenience through a remote, digital solution to the dire risks of exposure for many patients with compromised or weakened immune systems. By integrating hands-off delivery and curbside pickup into a physician dispensing service, urgent care clinics and private practices can operate remotely as much as possible while continuing to provide quality care and medication.   

 

The Importance of Telehealth During COVID-19

The importance of remote healthcare solutions cannot be understated. Within just a few months, the global healthcare industry pivoted and prioritized the integration of a growing suite of remote healthcare products, particularly telehealth software that would allow physicians and other healthcare providers to advise and treat patients via confidential and encrypted video calls and utilize organizational software to keep track of patient medication and schedule necessary follow-ups. 

During the pandemic, healthcare across the globe has been hit with physician shortages, inadequate protective gear, limits to patient care due to lockdowns, not to mention the risk of exposure and infection among medical practitioners and, subsequently, patients. 

Remote solutions have grown rapidly in both availability and viability for many practices. Still, other services are needed to help patients receive the care they need during the second and third waves of the pandemic. 

Alongside digital solutions, making it easier for patients to get the medications they need at the same point of care is crucial. Part of that involves offering contactless ways to acquire medication, such as curbside pickups and scheduled deliveries. 

Physician dispensing also allows healthcare providers to keep better tabs on whether their patients are receiving adequate care and are properly educated on the medication they need to take – from dosage to intake instructions, as well as careful patient medication history reviews to catch and act on contraindications. 

 

Point-of-Care Medication, Curbside Pickups, and Social Distancing 

Point-of-care dispensing can be a valuable tool in a physician’s arsenal for combatting medication non-adherence, helping patients avoid crowded big-box pharmacies or confusing pickup appointments, and promoting social distancing to limit exposure alongside better virtual telehealth services. 

Even as we approach a potential end to the pandemic through the widespread rollout of vaccines, the potential for virtual care cannot be ignored and will only grow in relevance from hereon out. 

Proficient Rx is dedicated to providing patient care solutions for healthcare providers focused on adapting to the new normal.

COVID-19 has seen many practices rapidly adopt digital tools and technologies in response to the growing threat of the virus. The healthcare industry as a whole has embraced digitalization as an essential step in the right direction towards improving patient convenience, curbing the rising costs of healthcare, and addressing some of the issues looming over the American healthcare industry, such as physician shortages and outdated hospital technologies. 

We at Proficient Rx aim to arm our clients with the means to address patient needs in the middle of the pandemic through easy plug-and-play virtual telehealth solutions and a secure HIPAA-compliant web-based dispensing platform to order and keep track of patient medication. 

Through physician dispensing, our clients enjoy the addition of a persuasive value proposition to their practice while expanding their ability to provide care to patients. Start working with Proficient Rx today to integrate virtual telehealth solutions and physician dispensing into your practice and help your patients reap the benefits. 

Contact Us Today for In-Office Dispensing - Proficient Rx

Ancillary Services Medical Urgent Care - Pro Rx

What Ancillary Services Are Best for An Urgent Care?

Ancillary services for medical urgent cares can differentiate your practice from others, in turn improving patient satisfaction and safety, while reducing medication errors.

If you are a physician working in an urgent care center, improving the immediate health of your patients is at the top of your priority list. Your patient-centered practice provides a safe, welcoming, stress-free environment. You provide services after hours and on weekends, offering a much needed convenience to your patients.

Patients can even save money by visiting an urgent care versus an emergency room when their primary care physician’s office is closed.

If you haven’t started already, providing medical ancillary services in your urgent care can set you apart from other urgent care centers. And with every ancillary service you provide, you can expect to receive an increase in revenue.

Providing ancillary services is on the rise in many urgent care centers and most services typically have a strong return on investment, and can significantly improve patient satisfaction.

There are multiple ancillary services that can benefit patients, but not all are beneficial in an urgent care setting. You want to ensure the services you provide are a good fit for both the urgent care and the patients.

Before making choices, it is important to have a good definition of what medical ancillary services are and how they can help you.

 

Medical Ancillary Services Explained

Ancillary services allow you to provide in your practice many of the diagnostic tools you need and also make life easier for your patients.

Services may include providing x-rays, collecting blood and urine samples and their corresponding tests, and a variety of therapies.

To figure out the urgent care ancillary services that meet the needs of your practice, begin considering the many actions you perform during patient visits. Most services can be categorized as either diagnostic, therapeutic or custodial.

These are discussed in further detail below.

 

Diagnostic Ancillary Services

In the past, patients would get orders from a physician who needs tests and images to help make an accurate diagnosis. The patient would then travel to a separate imaging facility or laboratory to receive these services and the doctor would wait for the results. All the while the patient waited on results and further instruction. This could sometimes take days and was not easy on the patient or the doctor.

Fortunately, this is no longer the case. By installing ancillary services for medical diagnostics; laboratory testing, DNA testing, ultrasounds, radiology, and diagnostic imaging can be done on the spot in your urgent care center.

 

Therapeutic Ancillary Services

Physical and occupational therapies are common ancillary services for medical therapeutics. Both can help patients overcome an injury or ailment physically so they can have a better quality of life. The advantages of these rehabilitation therapies can range from helping patients regain strength to helping patients walk again.

Additional therapies include massage, chiropractic, and even speech therapy for patients who need it.

While all of these may not be a good fit for an urgent care, you may want to add one or more that can meet the needs of patients with more specific needs.

For example, if many of the patients you see have sports related injuries like muscle sprains, adding a therapist who specializes in this area can save your patients much time and money seeking help. Or, if many of your patients complain of back pain, having a chiropractor or massage therapist on staff can offer them quick relief.

 

Custodial Ancillary Services

Technically, urgent care centers are considered custodial ancillary services because of the great benefits you provide to caregivers and their loved ones who often need treatment in a timely manner due to an unexpected occurrence.

To improve in this area, simply continue to provide skilled assistance to those in need. You could also provide durable medical equipment that caregivers and patients may not have easy access to in emergencies.

Selling durable medical equipment at the point of care is an advantage for every patient. It’s also an easy way to boost revenue for the urgent care center.

 

Durable Medical Equipment

Patients visit you for many reasons: broken bones, sprained ankles, back pain, and more. After your diagnosis and before their discharge, you can provide your patients with durable medical equipment and supplies that can help in their healing and maintain their functionality.

Wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, canes, blood pressure monitors, blood sugar monitors, bandages, gauze, and safety bars are just a few examples of durable medical equipment and supplies.

You make money by marking up the price of the item to increase your revenue but can keep the cost lower than pharmacies, so your patients benefit also. Your patients will appreciate the convenience of receiving these items at the time of their visit.

Providing durable medical equipment as an ancillary service can lead to an even better service, in-office dispensing.

 

In-Office Dispensing

In-office dispensing means you write a prescription for your patient, and you fill that prescription in your urgent care center at the point of care. The patient leaves your office visit with their prescription in hand.

Many urgent care centers have seen patient satisfaction quickly increase because they can avoid the pharmacy, which can take hours before receiving their medication, and no one likes to go anywhere when they are feeling really sick.

By dispensing medicine at the point of care, you are offering a major benefit to your patients. Plus, dispensing gives you a chance to show the patient how to properly use their medication and why it is important that they take it. This allows you to feel more confident the patient understands your instructions.

When patients understand why they need to take the medication and when it is easy for them to obtain, they follow-through. Meaning, their health outcomes will improve.

In-office dispensing is easy to set up, comes with streamlining software, round the clock technical help, and helps you maintain compliance with state and federal regulations.

 

Conclusion

The best ancillary services for medical urgent cares are the ones that help you keep the patient-centered focus you need. Think about which services your patients use the most. Then think about the services that offer the most benefits for your urgent care center.

Then, go for it. Your patients will thank you for it.

Contact Us for Medication Dispensing In-Office - Proficient Rx

Dispensing Medication - Proficient Rx

Dispensing Medication: 7 Tips to Set Up an Efficient Process

Medication dispensing is a great solution to help you improve your practice and patients overall satisfaction and well-being. Here are 7 tips to set up an efficient process for dispensing medication.

Direct dispensing gives healthcare providers the opportunity to greatly increase their value proposition while offering a critical service to countless patients looking for an alternative to traditional dispensing services due to time constraints, inconvenience, crowded pharmacies, or other barriers to medication. These barriers do not only add to a patient’s potential frustration but can and do actively defer patients from seeking the care they need, contributing to the nationwide problem of medication non-adherence.

By leveraging existing systems to help provide a direct dispensing service, your clinic or practice can further differentiate itself from the competition while providing an important option to patients in need of a better alternative, or simply reduce the barriers to effective care, fight back against non-adherence, and save lives.

However, efficiency and implementation matter. Where direct dispensing can be a great service to improve your reputation and value to the community, it needs to be efficient in doing so. Inefficiency and lack of planning will decrease patient satisfaction, potentially lead to dangerous medication errors, and draw the ire of strict state regulators.

 

Setting Up an Efficient Process for Dispensing Medication: An Overview

Medication needs to be stored, inventory needs to be managed and kept track of, and patient information needs to be carefully protected and referred to when dispensing medication and scheduling follow-ups. The medication itself must be carefully sourced, labelled, and dispensed accordingly.

Patients need to be informed about how and when to use their medication and warned of any dangers or contraindications relevant to them.

Due to different local regulations and logistic considerations, as well as financial constraints, practices need to be careful with what medications they stock, and how much.

There are other simpler considerations as well, such as maintaining a rigorously clean working space, keeping medications apart, always keeping cooled medications within the right temperature conditions, cleaning up spills and messes immediately, avoiding any sort of contaminants in the medication storage area, and stock rotation.

Let’s go over a few simple tips to ensure that your direct dispensing system is safe, convenient, and contributes heavily to the value of your practice.

 

1. Keep the Dispensing Environment in Mind

There are a few things to consider when it comes to safely dispensing medication. These include how the medication is stored and accessed, patient privacy, and personnel safety. One of the benefits of leveraging physician dispensing for your practice is the ability to provide patients with an in-depth primer on their medication and care within a comfortable and private environment, away from the typical open counters of big box retailers and smaller pharmacies.

 

2. Pick a Qualified Dispensing Professional

Physicians can prescribe and dispense medication. It’s important to train your personnel to carefully read and verify a prescription and avoid medication errors.

 

3. Acquire Proper Labeling and Pill Counters 

Repackaged medication,  a computer with an internet connection, and a printer for labels are just some of the capabilities a well-prepared direct dispensing service needs to function safely and smoothly. Automated label printing reduces medication errors and helps patients keep track of their medication and remind themselves on when and how to use it.

 

4. Provide Better Medication Counseling 

One of the most important benefits to direct dispensing is the ability to provide medication-specific information at the point-of-care alongside the medication, and help ensure that a patient understands when, how, and why they should use their medication, as well as provide the chance to answer all questions and ensure that there are no unforeseen or unmentioned contraindications.

 

5. Prioritize Confidentiality and Privacy 

Patients might feel less inclined to share their medical history and important information when given less time and less privacy, such as at a pharmacy counter. By providing in-office dispensing services, physicians and other healthcare professionals can assure their patients that they can safely share whatever they need to in order to receive the best care possible.

 

6. Leverage Computerized Dispensing Systems 

Automated and computerized dispensing systems drastically cut down on errors by automatically keeping track of orders and inventory, printing accurate labels, and saving time.

 

7. Periodically Review and Update Dispensing Standards

Advances in software and hardware mean better and smarter ways to advise patients, count and procure prepackaged medication, and dispense safely. Work with a partner who places a premium on keeping up to date on changes in the digitization of healthcare, and how they might improve your practice.

 

How to Begin Direct Dispensing as a Healthcare Provider

Physician dispensing begins with the right partner. There are a lot of logistics involved in efficiently distributing medication at the point-of-care, and the most important logistical point is figuring out where to best source your medication.

A direct dispensing partner can help you implement a dispensing system into your practice and provide you with the medications you will most likely need to stock, based on your patients and medical specialization.

 

Start with Proficient Rx

Proficient Rx works with healthcare providers to guide them through the process of implementing medication dispensing at the point-of-care through a large selection of FDA- and DEA-approved repackaged branded and generic medication, processed at our own state-of-the-art facilities.

Through our stable, secure, and easy-to-use web-based dispensing platform, we help clinics keep track of  inventory, enable in-office label printing, and help personnel manage and restock necessary medications.

We also help healthcare providers implement contactless medication delivery through curbside pickup, ensuring the safety and satisfaction of patients, and promote telehealth solutions for doctors to continue to advise their patients and provide important medication info personally via video call.

Direct physician dispensing is not available in some states and is generally regulated by a state’s Board of Pharmacy.

Proficient Rx works with clinics all over the country, providing live customer support to licensed healthcare providers of all types looking to implement physician dispensing services into their business, and walking them through the steps necessary to safely obtain and distribute medication from the point-of-care.

Factors in Medication Error

Factors That Increase the Risk of Medication Errors

Understanding the factors that increase the risk of medication errors is essential to help reduce errors.

The Food and Drug Administration estimate 1.3 million injuries are due to medication errors in the United States each year. This means, according to some reports, medication errors are the third leading cause of death in America.

If your patients were to hear of these alarming statistics, they would pay closer attention to the medication you prescribe, and the treatment plan you create. But typically, your patients trust you and simply follow your directions, blindly.

Therefore, it is so important you recognize all the factors that increase the risk of medication errors.

 

Medication Errors Defined

The Food and Drug Administration states that a medication error occurs when you give a patient medication and as a result, they are harmed in some way. They also consider medication errors to be preventable, had more attention been provided by you, the patient, caregiver or the pharmacy.

 

Drug Name Confusion

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices created a list of medications that sound alike. These medications, if confused for one another, can bring harm to the person ingesting them.

For example, clonidine can be easily confused with clonazepam or klonopin. Getting these two confused can create dangerously low blood pressure levels, which can lead to a life or death situation is not corrected right away.

The best way to avoid drug name confusion is to use software technology that can alert you to these similarities, encouraging you to double and triple check your prescription. Software associated with in-office dispensing not only does this, but it also alerts you to any negative interactions with the patient’s other medications.

 

Labeling

Labels are small, yet they are required to show a great deal of information. Everything from the names of both doctor and patient, to name of medication, dose and side effect warnings are listed on a label.

Even if all the information on a label is correct, a patient can misinterpret some of the information, putting them at risk. It’s important to avoid using abbreviations which can be confusing for patients.

If you are prescribing medicine at the point of care, you are most likely using technology that prints the label for you. This makes it so easy for you because you do not have to enter all information every time you prescribe.

The labeling software program will auto-fill much of the information, including your contact information, brand and generic name of medicine, potential side effects, patient information, refill number and dose instructions.

 

Dosage

Everyone makes mistakes. But when mistakes can risk the life of a patient, changes need to be made. This is true when it comes to ensuring the correct dose is understood by the patient. It’s important you double check your prescription and make sure the patient understands the dose you are recommending.

If you want your patient to take 7.5 mcg of a drug, make sure they do not confuse this with 75 mcg. One small decimal point can cause a medication error with negative consequences. This is also an area that could be helped with software technology designed to assist you in catching possible errors.

 

Patient Mix-Up

You are busy, pharmacists are busy, and medical staff in hospitals and nursing homes are busy. Because of this, mistakes are made, like getting patients mixed up and giving them medication that was meant for another patient.

An example is this story, in which a nurse gave a patient a paralytic instead of an antacid, killing the patient. And this is not the only story with a negative ending.

While not all cases are this severe, they can still be damaging.

 

Packaging

Most medicines come in a plastic container with a protective lid. All the pills for the prescription are placed in this same container, as a group. This is fine, except for the patients who have a hard time remembering if they took their medication.

When they can’t remember they have two options: skip their medicine for that day or take a pill with the chance of taking a double dose.

There are packaging options available that prevent medication errors. Prepackaged medicine has enormous benefits for patients and can be individually packed to prevent mistakes.

 

Patient Confusion

When you are discussing treatment plans with your patients, they seem to understand your instructions. Many times, though, they have no clue what you are talking about. Maybe they are too scared to ask questions. Maybe they feel insecure about asking you to repeat something.

So, they leave your office confused. This confusion can lead to patients guessing as to how they are supposed to carry out their treatment plan. Errors are made, and patients suffer.

The best way to avoid patient confusion is to make educating them a priority. If you are dispensing in office, this is easy. The dispensing software you use allows you to print every single bit of information about a medication and a prescription.

Once printed, you can spend time with your patient reviewing the information to ensure they are aware of why it is needed and how to properly consume it.

 

Prevention Tips

Medication errors can be prevented. There are several tips you can follow to make your practice, and your patient, safer. One thing you can do is train your staff to double check everything, from identification of patient to chart notes, to ensure they are correct.

You can also slow down. Yes, you have many patients to see and it seems as if there are not enough hours in the day. However, just taking a few extra minutes with patients to make sure they understand their medical issues and your instructions for treatment, can go a long way in preventing errors.

Utilize the benefits that come with in-office dispensing, which puts you more in control of the medicine your patients receive. Pharmacists are making more errors today than in previous years. Dispensing allows you to monitor your patient throughout the treatment process.

You provide better health care and your patients see greater outcomes, helping you reach your goals as a physician.

 

Direct Physician Dispensing - Proficient Rx

Improving the Efficiency and Safety of Your Practice with Direct Physician Dispensing Systems

Direct physician dispensing systems can improve the efficiency and safety of your healthcare practice. Here’s how.

In 2016, the US population spent $329 billion on prescription medication. Yet studies estimate that a significant portion of medication purchased is never taken by the intended patient – and at the same time, rather large numbers of prescriptions go unfilled.

Patient adherence, or a patient’s ability to stick to the recommended treatment and medication plan, is affected and diminished by several contributing factors including:

  • Medication cost
  • Lack of convenience
  • Forgetfulness
  • Disease-related factors

Measures such as physician dispensing help improve patient adherence, and could massively impact overall public health, as well as help save the estimated 125,000 lives lost annually due to lack of medication adherence.

By leveraging existing technologies and state-specific dispensing rules, physicians and their practices can utilize lightweight web-based dispensing systems to incorporate a unique value proposition for their practice and offer greater convenience to their patients.

 

What is Direct Physician Dispensing?

Physician dispensing solution providers like Proficient Rx, offer web-based software that allows practices to dispense prepackaged medications directly to patients. Healthcare providers keep an inventory of these prepackaged medications which can then be distributed individually to patients based on their needs.

There are multiple benefits to both the healthcare provider, and the patient, when using a web-based dispensing system.

 

Direct Physician Dispensing Systems, Medication Errors, and Efficiency

Medication dispensing systems have reduced the number of medication errors. These medication errors usually take on the form of providing the wrong pill count, or even something more severe, such as the wrong drug altogether.

Indistinct packaging, workplace distractions, or even just simple miscommunication can lead to the wrong dose or drug, which can have disastrous effects. Thankfully, medication errors are incredibly rare to begin with, even in places where manual sorting, pill counting, and dispensing is still the norm.

 

Dispensing Systems, Medication Adherence, and Patient Satisfaction

Beyond medication errors, the more pressing issue is the issue of medication adherence. Miscommunication, literacy issues, lack of willingness to ask questions, forgetfulness, and various disease-specific factors (from low mood to lack of mobility) can lead to patients not refilling prescriptions, or not taking their medication as advised.

In states that allow physician dispensing can not only help improve medication adherence but give patients the chance to ask questions or seek more information within the comforts and privacy of their doctor’s office, rather than the more public pharmacy desk (especially in busy big box pharmacies).

Through direct dispensing, physicians can also assure themselves that their patients are receiving the medication they need to intervene with their disease. Additionally, follow-up calls can be scheduled simply be referring to the dispensing history on the system, helping physicians keep track of what they’ve dispensed, and when they should check with a patient to see how they are doing, whether they have any questions, and whether they have been adhering to their treatment plan properly.

With the pandemic raising concerns regarding safety and social contact, practices can also utilize curbside pickup delivery and other contactless delivery options to ensure that their patients get the medication they need without taking an unnecessary risk.

Direct dispensing also impacts patient satisfaction, which for many patients is even more important from a customer perspective than quality of care.

This may be because patients are already generally satisfied with the quality of their care but are more interested in services that might increase convenience such as shorter wait times, better customer care, and features that save time and provide additional value.

 

Direct Physician Dispensing Systems Help Save Time 

By taking advantage of direct physician dispensing, practices can save the time spent communicating with pharmacies over prescriptions and preparing a patient’s prescription. Patients, in turn, can save themselves a trip to the pharmacy.

Direct dispensing also helps make refills easier and simpler, encouraging patients in need of long-term pharmacological interventions for chronic conditions get the help they need, rather than putting off their refill for too long.

 

The Value Proposition Of Dispensing 

Seeking ways to improve the value proposition of a healthcare practice is important in today’s economy, as many are struggling between burgeoning medication and treatment costs, the impact of the pandemic, and the need for new concepts to attract clients and cover operating expenses.

Direct physician dispensing can be a great way for many smaller urgent care clinics, worker’s compensation clinics, and other healthcare practices to leverage a software solution for a stronger reputation and an improved level of care.

Proficient Rx provides a web-based solution for clinics looking to incorporate a lightweight and efficient direct dispensing system in their practice. At Proficient Rx, our secure and easy-to-use dispensing software does not require lengthy downloads or installation processes, and it takes mere minutes to integrate it with your practice.

Our software keeps track of inventory, can manage auto orders, track patient information, minimize errors through physician dispensing, and massively improve patient satisfaction by cutting down the number of hours you and your staff spend communicating with pharmacies to manage prescriptions and refills, while helping your patients avoid lengthy and unnecessary trips to pharmacies and medication dispensaries.

Our software solution helps us provide you with branded and generic medication repackaged at our FDA- and DEA-approved state-of-the-art facility, and our customer support is ready to help you ease through the transitory period on your way to becoming a fully-fledged dispensing partner.

Contact Us Today for Medication Dispensing Systems - Proficient Rx

Automatic Pill Dispenser Patient Safety - Proficient Rx

Patient Safety With an Automatic Pill Dispenser

 

There are many things you can do to improve patient safety, especially when using an automatic pill dispenser. Learn why it is crucial for any pharmacy.

Patient safety refers to preventing errors when it comes to their overall care provided by you, their doctor. It also means preventing adverse reactions when patients take medications.

Adverse events can happen for a variety of reasons. Your patient may not take their medications according to your instructions. You may fail to make a correct diagnosis or change their medication when needed. You may be negligent in some cases.

Other adverse events can happen when patients fail to tell you all the medications, traditional and alternative, they are taking. Without knowing it, you could be prescribing a medicine that could cause a fatal reaction.

Not only can you and your patients make mistakes, your staff can as well. It is reported that up to half of the medical errors are caused by administrative staff.

There are things you and your staff can do to improve patient safety. One of the best actions is to implement an automatic pill dispenser program in your practice. With this program, you will prescribe and distribute medication to the patient before they are discharged from your office visit.

There are many benefits to using an automatic pill dispenser. Below are the advantages it offers to improving the safety of your patients.

 

Prevents Pharmacy Errors

Pharmacy errors increase each year. Medication errors can include the following:

  • Giving the patient the wrong medication
  • Misreading physician’s orders
  • Giving the patient someone else’s medication
  • Pharmacist authorizing the wrong dose on the medication
  • Pharmacist or pharmacy technician contaminating the medication.

These errors happen, and they happen on a regular basis across the country.

The use of pharmaceutical technicians is also a concern. They are not trained as well to spot errors, prevent cross-contamination and keep up with the enormous demands of todays busy pharmacies.

An automatic pill dispenser can help prevent these errors when you input the information on each prescription that will keep the patient safe.

 

Monitor Patient Follow-Through

Pharmacists do not have to ensure patients are compliant with their medicines. While it would be nice, and ethical, they are not required to do so. They are not even required to report their suspicions or concerns to you when they feel a patient may be abusing their medicine.

Pharmacists do not automatically check to see if a patient is refilling their medicine on time. They are not aware of when patients have stopped taking their medications altogether unless they are prompted to look up their information in the database.

With hundreds of patients being served each day, it is unlikely that they take the time to measure compliance, even if it is important to them.

An automatic pill dispenser allows you direct access to your patients’ files that show whether your patients are calling in for refills on time, too soon, or not enough. Knowing this information can give you insight into why your patient’s health outcomes are improving or getting worse.

 

Provide Better Education

Gaining knowledge about the medicine you have prescribed is key for patients reaching health goals.

Patients blindly trust that you know what is best for them. However, this is not good enough. You must make sure your patients completely understand their medications. They need to understand why you are prescribing the medicine, what health improvements they should expect, what side effects they may encounter, and what to do if they have negative reactions.

With automatic pill dispenser programs, patients can receive demonstrations and assistance in learning how to use medications directly from you, their care provider. This is something they would rarely receive from a pharmacist.

 

Provide the Cleanest Medications

If the medicine you prescribe for a patient is dirty, it can negatively affect your patient. You want the medicines you prescribe to be created in a healthy environment.

Clean rooms help provide this healthy environment during the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals. Clean rooms focus on the air in the facility where drugs are manufactured. If the air is clean, everything else in the facility will be cleaner.

A clean room is defined as the space used to contain an area that needs to be free of particles that could potentially contaminate a product. They are also used to control temperature and pressure.

Cross-contamination can happen at pharmacies.

Germs and bacteria can travel a distance through sneezing and coughing. These germs can land on the preparation table where staff are working, where medicines are placed. Prepackaged medications used with an automatic pill dispenser prevent germs from getting onto medicines.

 

Medicines Arrive from Safe Facilities

There are over 100 steps involved in the production of prepackaged medicines. DEA and FDA guidelines are strictly followed when creating medicines to be used by physicians who are dispensing at point of care.

This means the facility is clean, sterile and well protected. Quality management and quality assurance are top priority.

Manufacturing facilities must do a lot of testing. And then they must test their testing methods. If the way they test the quality of the drugs they produce is not giving them the answers needed, they must improve it.

The building where any drug product will be held, processed or packaged endures strict scrutiny by the FDA. The size and location of the building are just as important as maintenance and operations. They are broken down for inspection purposes as internal and external environments.

The steps taken to ensure the medicine is properly produced can seem extreme to some. However, it should also give comfort to physicians wanting to make sure the medicines they order are prepared safely and securely.

Conclusion

There are many things you can do to improve patient safety, especially when using an automatic pill dispenser. Getting your patients more involved in their own care is one of the most important actions.

Instead of allowing them to trust you without proof, teach them how to ask questions and offer valuable information about their health. Teach them to be their own advocate.

This, combined with you implementing safety tools within your office, that accompany automatic pill dispenser programs, will help you establish a successful treatment plan with your patients.