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In Office Dispensing for Patient Compliance

Why Dispensing in Office is the Best Solution to Patient Compliance

In general, it is the norm to get your prescription from your doctor, and your medication from your pharmacist. Pharmacists are trained to fulfill prescriptions, answer patient questions, and guide patients through the instructions that come along with their medication.

However, this process isn’t foolproof. With the potential for human error, poor customer service, lack of access, lack of privacy, and a host of other issues, the traditional model of fulfilling all prescriptions at the local pharmacy can contribute to problems with patient adherence, hindering patients from accessing and taking their medication exactly as prescribed.

In cases where patients require custom medication due to allergies or other complications, pharmacists who specialize in drug compounding become critical to providing a life-saving service by mixing and pressing very specific and tailored medication to suit a patient’s needs.

In most cases, a pharmacist’s job is to provide a patient with prescription medication as per a doctor’s orders, adding an extra step onto a process that can potentially be fulfilled at the point of care. That’s where in-office dispensing becomes an invaluable option for many doctors, giving them the opportunity to keep track of their patient’s medication adherence, and follow up accordingly, while providing an extra source of revenue.

 

What is Patient Compliance?

Patient compliance, sometimes better known as patient adherence or medication adherence, is the accuracy with which a patient sticks to their treatment regimen as per their healthcare provider. There are many barriers in patient compliance, as suggested by the rate at which patients fail to properly adhere to their medication plans. As per the WHO, rates of nonadherence for any mediation or treatment vary wildly, making it a major problem in the management of all diseases and illnesses, causing major strain to the healthcare system, and leading to frequent re-hospitalizations and poor outcomes.

Proper patient compliance or patient adherence doesn’t guarantee good health, but it does imply that a patient is getting their full intended treatment. Eliminating the factors that fuel medication nonadherence is critical when aiming to reduce poor outcomes and save lives.

 

What Causes Patient Compliance Problems? 

Patient compliance is a complex issue, as it involves a series of different factors. When a patient is tasked with buying medication to treat their illness, there are several things to consider.

First, there’s the financial burden of treatment. Can the patient afford their treatment? Or are they likely to skip doses, or halve them?

Then, there’s the human error. Could the pharmacist have provided a patient with the wrong dosage? Could it have been the wrong medication? What about human error on the patient’s part? A sizeable portion of surveyed patients revealed that they simply forget to take their medication, which can seriously impact their health and outcomes.

Other factors include unreported side effects causing patients to stop taking their medication, and more. While many of these issues have been partially addressed by innovations and technology, there is substantial room for improvement. As per a report in the Health Science Journal, the primary factors that inform patient adherence include:

 

Patient-related Factors

These describe physical and mental limitations that impact patient adherence, particularly in the elderly. Solutions offered for such patient-related factors include specialized and tailored reminders, digital solutions such as app-based pill trackers and calendars, and portable pill boxes that are easy to carry around. Other patient-related factors include a lack of knowledge about the medication, as well as the disease, and low motivation.

While it’s a pharmacist’s job to help inform patients, it’s often a patient’s responsibility to ask questions – many patients are potentially uncomfortable consulting a pharmacist on peak hours in a busy pharmacy, without any real privacy or peace, under stressful circumstances and likely illness.

 

Condition-related Factors 

When chronic conditions seem to improve, patients tend to take their medication less often. This is not advised, as a presumed or felt absence of symptoms does not mean that the condition is beaten, or that it is a good idea to stop treatment. It is important to follow up with patients and ensure that they continue taking their medication despite an absence of symptoms, unless an examination can confirm that medication is no longer needed.

 

Therapy-related Factors

These describe factors that hinder patient adherence due to the complexity of the treatment plan, the large number of doses required for treatment, the overall length of the treatment, or treatment plans that largely interfere with a person’s life and are deemed too inconvenient to continue. Another example of a therapy-related factor is when a patient stops taking medication due to side-effects impacting their lifestyle.

 

Health Care System Factors

These factors describe errors and gaps in communication between healthcare providers and patients, either between doctors and patients, pharmacists and patients, or other professionals who are involved in a patient’s treatment. Examples include wrong medication, lack of instructions for use, poor communication regarding the nature of the illness and its medication, lack of regard for a patient’s memory issues or cognitive problems, and more.

 

Social/Economic Factors

It’s easier to adhere to a treatment plan when you are getting help. Patients who cannot afford their medication or who are too busy to stick to their treatments are more likely to struggle with medication nonadherence. A problematic work schedule, lack of resources, and limited or no access to proper healthcare are more common examples of socioeconomic factors.

 

Why In-Office Dispensing?

While there are a variety of different ways to tackle medication nonadherence and patient compliance issues, in-office dispensing represents an opportunity to eliminate the errors and problems associated with pharmacy care, improving patient compliance by adding convenience and providing a safe and quiet space to be fully informed of a disease’s symptoms and nature, and the best treatment going forward.

ProficientRx specializes in helping clinics and other practices set up in-office dispensing, to enable the best possible service at the point-of-care. With an emphasis on helping healthcare professionals transition seamlessly into providing a vast collection of different medicines, ProficientRx also provides injection kids, durable medical equipment, and much more. Through a web-based dispensing system software, ProficientRx seeks to help minimize the complexity of in-office dispensing by making data management as simple as possible, making it easy to keep track of patient records, print labels for medication, and more. We pride ourselves on providing a superior service.

 

Certifications for Dispensing Medications

What Certifications Do I Need For In-Office Dispensing?

In-office dispensing can be the gateway towards greater convenience for patients, and increased revenue for clinics and healthcare providers. Through in-office dispensing, physicians and other healthcare professionals gain the ability to better track their patient’s prescriptions, help them commit to their medication regimen, and thus ensure better patient outcomes.

However, depending on the state they practice in, physicians and other professionals may face a series of hurdles before they can begin dispensing medication at the point of care. Different states require different certifications, registrations, and/or licenses.

 

Current State License and DEA Number

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that there are clear state-based limitations on what doctors can and cannot do when it comes to prescribing and selling medication.

Some states restrict direct dispensing by nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other healthcare professionals. Other state-specific limitations also exist.

In most states, certain rules and regulations exist to limit who can utilize in-office direct dispensing. These rules can differ from state to state, with a few common regulations:

  • A DEA number that is address specific to the clinic medications will be dispensed from is mandatory to distribute scheduled drugs.
  • Valid and updated medical credentials are mandatory.
  • A state-specific license for distributing prescription drugs may be required.
  • Approval from a state Board of Pharmacy, or Medical Board may be required.

 

Meet State Regulations

Most medication dispensing programs are regulated at the state level. Each state has their own set of rules and guidelines to follow. Currently there are just a handful of states that do not allow physicians to fulfill medications in-office, or heavily restrict in-office dispensing, only clearing it in cases of emergency or when the nearest pharmacy is unreasonably far away.

Other states allow practitioners to prescribe medication at the point of care, if they meet all requirements. These requirements differ from state to state.

Common regulations among states include the following:

  • State-issued controlled substance dispensing license is required for those of you who wish to dispense Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) scheduled drugs.
  • Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant credentials must be updated if you plan for them to dispense medication, which is predicated on whether your state allows this to begin with.
  • In addition to meeting these regulations, states may also require you to meet with the Board of Pharmacy for approval.

 

Bottom Line 

To directly dispense medication, a physician must have current credentials. But after certifications and licenses, there is no overhead save for the cost of medication. Through the right partner and supplier, physicians and other healthcare professionals can begin dispensing medication as soon as possible.

Here at Proficient Rx, we supply physicians with tools to help facilitate the management and sale of prescription medication. This can help you keep track of your patients’ medication adherence and minimize the inconvenience of acquiring medication elsewhere.

Proficient Rx specializes in providing physicians and healthcare professionals with the means and the resources to dispense their own medication. Through software dedicated to keeping track of inventory, dates, and patient prescriptions, to medication prepackaged and ready for sale, Proficient Rx aims to help doctors begin point-of-care dispensing in order to improve convenience for patients and improve revenue for doctors.

 

Is Dispensing Right For Your Urgent Care

Urgent Care Dispensing: Is It Right For You?

Urgent care clinics provide a critical service, and the demand for this service is on the rise. With more and more urgent care centers working to provide swift and accessible care, maximizing convenience and efficiency is important for maintaining competitiveness, and providing a high standard of care.

Patients love the convenience and accessibility of urgent care centers, and they are a great alternative to a pricey ER visit; but, unlike hospitals that have a pharmacy, only about half of the country’s urgent care centers have the ability to dispense the needed medication directly to their patients before they leave for home. Without a means of directly dispensing prescription medication and some forms of emergency care, many urgent care clinics are at a disadvantage in a highly competitive market.

 

How Much Does It Cost to Get Started?

Urgent care clinics partnering with Proficient Rx need not worry about upfront costs or any substantial overhead. Getting started is kept simple and unobtrusive. Incorporating direct dispensing through Proficient Rx is a seamless process.

This way, they can focus entirely on providing direct and valuable care to their patients, saving both time and potentially saving them money. Healthcare can be expensive and cutting out the middleman is one way to help patients cut on costs.

 

Does Direct Dispensing Provide Additional Revenue?

The investment for direct dispensing, or point of care dispensing, is very low in the case of urgent care clinics. The return on investment is entirely up to the clinic in question. There is plenty of additional revenue in providing generic, Brand, and OTC medication as well as other pharmaceuticals at fair prices. Programs like Proficient Rx help you grow your revenue and greatly improve patient convenience.

 

How Does it Help Your Patients?

The immediate benefits of direct dispensing are clear. In-office dispensing at your urgent care clinic means patients can receive their treatment and medication right away. This does away with the additional costs, time constraints, and privacy issues that plague trying to fulfill new prescriptions at the nearest pharmacy. The most important point here, however, is time. Urgent care clinics specialize in providing ambulatory care – time is of the essence and should not be wasted. The faster a patient can receive proper treatment, the better.

Via point of care dispensing, patients can also receive proper education, from you, on what they have been prescribed. Adhering to a treatment regimen is critical for proper care, and lack of medication adherence is a preventable issue that causes over 125,000 deaths a year.

Patients are just as busy as you are. Cutting out inconveniences and eliminating inefficiency can both save lives and create loyal customers. It can also make your staff happier.

 

How Does it Help Your Staff?

In-office dispensing programs streamline work for your urgent care staff and make their jobs easier.

Inventory, refills, patient reminders, scheduling, and more are all done automatically, through the dispensing software. Even the labeling of medications comes pre-designed so that all your staff must do is enter the patient information one time. In-office staff are provided with all the training and support needed to successfully fulfill prescriptions. This streamlined process helps your clinic take on more patients and be of greater service to the community.

 

What About Compliance?

When providing critical care and medication, compliance is key. There are regulations set in place to benefit and protect patients, and only by adhering to these standards may you provide certain medication at the point of care. In-office dispensing programs help you meet compliance requirements. It is designed to notify you of changes made to compliance laws and adjust accordingly.

The dispensing company works with you to make sure the medications you prescribe are in-stock, and traceable. This applies to both controlled and non-controlled substances.

 

What Are the Limitations?

Urgent care clinics are not limited in what medication they can offer, but it is entirely up to you to decide what to stock, and how much. Priorities are important when stocking medication for urgent care, as it is unrealistic to keep absolutely everything in stock. That’s where further assistance from your dispensing partner can go a long way to eliminating potential roadblocks to proper patient care.

You can work with your dispensing company to determine the medicines your patients need the most.

 

Where Do You Start?

It all begins with the right partnership. Finding the right company to help you source and provide medication for your patients is critical, and it’s important to have the right system in place to help track each sale.

Here at Proficient Rx, we specialize in helping physicians and other healthcare professionals implement comprehensive in-office direct dispensing systems to help healthcare professionals better serve their patients and provide the best possible care. For at the end of the day, we believe that access to needed medication should be convenient and affordable.

 

In Office Dispensing Instead of Pharmacy

Why In-Office Dispensing Instead of the Pharmacy?

Prescribing and filling prescriptions at the point of care is becoming more popular among physicians and healthcare practices. Many physicians and health systems implement in-office dispensing into their practice because of the potential for extra revenue. While in-office dispensing rules and logistics differ from state to state, it’s inarguably profitable but there’s much more to it than shrewd business tactics.

In-office dispensing provides a variety of benefits to patients as well, from convenience to confidentiality. By working with their patients directly, physicians and healthcare practices can ensure a better quality of service, and save lives – all while building an additional revenue stream.

 

Medication Compliance

Pharmacists don’t always have a full view of the bigger picture. On any given day, a pharmacy may be tasked with fulfilling well over five hundred prescriptions – knowing each patient’s full history becomes an impossibility.

Without full knowledge of a patient’s treatment, a pharmacist cannot adequately advise patients on their treatment or medication, which can be especially risky for patients who are forced to purchase medication from several different pharmacies with no understanding of potentially adverse drug interactions.

In some cases, patients do not get the information they need because they are never prompted to ask for it. In other cases, it’s a conscious decision made to minimize time spent at the pharmacy and return home while sick or unwell.

 

Convenience

In-office dispensing can be a lot more convenient for your patients. Time is the most critical factor here. While many practices are located near or even beside a pharmacy, that is no guarantee that your patient is going to get the medication they need in a timely manner. The experience of getting your first prescription fulfilled can be mired by long lines, long waiting periods, and the general discomfort of waiting for your medication alongside a host of other irate strangers.

With just a few clicks, prescriptions are entered, labels are printed and adhered, and the patient is headed home to recover. This takes on average two minutes or less, saving staff and patients several hours of their precious time.

 

Confidentiality

Dispensing medications in-office can help strengthen the relationship between physicians and patients, especially due to confidentiality and enforced privacy. Patients understand that their health and healthcare is confidential information – yet at times, trying to have a prescription fulfilled in a public pharmacy can be very contradictory to that idea. In-office direct dispensing restores a patient’s trust in their right to privacy, by having their prescriptions fulfilled within the same practice or office.

There are no confidential or protected spaces in pharmacies. Those who do choose to speak with a pharmacist are forced to whisper, and then made to feel rushed, as they are sharing the room with many others who have been waiting in line long enough. Through in-office direct dispensing, you provide an additional layer of security.

 

Within the Comfort of Your Office

Patients are less likely to be thoroughly informed about the medication they are being prescribed while at the Pharmacy.,. In-office dispensing allows you to oversee your patient’s education and personally ensure that they are well aware of how their medication works, when to take it, how often to take it, and when to come back for a refill.

Proficient Rx works with healthcare professionals so you can provide your patients with the best possible service. Simply put, we help you better serve your patients, and earn more while doing so.

 

How Direct Dispensing Helps Patients

5 Ways Direct Dispensing Will Help Your Patients

Direct dispensing describes the process by which a physician or healthcare clinic prescribes and fulfills prescription medication directly to their patients, rather than simply writing a prescription to be fulfilled at a nearby pharmacy. This avoids the steps of sending a patient to the pharmacy, instead directly providing the medicine in-office.

Research has shown that medication adherence can be improved through educational intervention at pharmacies, but only if kept up consistently. In-office direct dispensing provides doctors with an opportunity to educate their patients themselves, and this practice has been steadily on the rise. With medication non-adherence leading to approximately 125,000 deaths a year, it’s critical to find effective solutions.

 

#1 – Direct Dispensing Saves Time

Your patients are busy. Many take personal time from work to see you. Others must schedule rides because they are unable to drive themselves. Most medical professionals are aware that it is difficult to convince many patients to regularly schedule their needed appointments and any follow-up visits.

Even if the pharmacy is located right down the street from your office or in the same building, time is still a factor. Most major pharmacies take an hour to fill a prescription. Some patients do not have the time – others do but are likely frustrated by this process, especially when they are ill.

Even when not ill, it is an inconvenience that some might deem unnecessary – to the point that they might even skip taking their medication altogether. Physicians are already aware that there are enough obstacles on the path to proper medication adherence – why add more? By removing inconvenience, you are helping patients better adhere to their treatment.

 

#2 – Direct Dispensing Allows for Follow Through

You cannot force your patients to be compliant, but eliminating inconveniences can make it easier for them to adhere to their medication regimen. As previously noted, in-office dispensing system eliminates the excuse of not being able to get to the pharmacy.

Additionally, it also allows you to check their records to see if they are keeping up with refills. If they have never called in for a refill, they are most likely not continuing to take their medication. This gives you a chance to contact the patient before their next appointment to find out why.

By providing in-office prescriptions and status checkup calls, you are encouraging patients to follow through.

 

#3 – Direct Dispensing Minimizes Errors

It is estimated that one to five percent of prescriptions are fulfilled with an error. As workloads increase, pharmacies today can be overwhelmed with orders, and that kind of pressure contributes to mistakes.

While they are still rare, these mistakes can do major damage to a patient’s health, and even cost lives. By doing the work yourself, you are in control of factors that were previously uncontrollable, further minimizing errors and saving more lives.

 

 

#4 – Direct Dispensing Helps Educate Patients

When your patients go to the pharmacy to fill a prescription, a store clerk hands them their medicine and asks loudly if they need to see a pharmacist to answer any questions they have. Your patient looks at the pharmacist in the back of the room who is obviously behind schedule and shakes their head no. Or perhaps, they simply are not comfortable speaking to a pharmacist behind the counter, while waiting in line, during a busy day.

More often than not, patients simply refuse consultation – even when they need it. They are given a stack of papers to read through and sent on their way. Many patients do not understand what their medication does, or why they really need it. Most critically, however, they might not understand when to take their medication, or what other substances and medicines to avoid. This can lead to life-threatening situations avoided by a very simple and rudimentary consultation.

At other times, patients simply cannot afford their medication. Through in-office direct dispensing, you can better care for your patients by helping them navigate the healthcare system and get the care they need.

If you offer in-office direct dispensing of medicines to your patients, you have the perfect opportunity to provide them with worthwhile information regarding the medicine they are about to take. They can find out if the medicine you prescribed interacts with other medications. They can also be taught when to take their medicine, how to take it and for how long.

 

#5 – Direct Dispensing Ensures Confidentiality

Waiting in line to hear your name called at a pharmacy can be anxiety-inducing. And if it is over the intercom, it can be quite embarrassing. People do not really want other customers to know who they are. It’s likely that they’re already annoyed, tired, and ill.

In-office dispensing systems make confidentiality a priority, in conjunction with convenience. As a physician, you are already following privacy guidelines strictly. Adding a service such as this is simply an extension of those guidelines, helping your patients ensure that their conditions and care are entirely confidential.

There will not be a lengthy line of people waiting behind or in front of your patients. There will never be any privacy violations, accidental or not. Your interactions are protected and kept private, and your patients can feel at ease knowing their healthcare is not at danger of being overheard.

 

A Final Thought on Direct Dispensing

The best way to truly take note of the benefits of direct dispensing is by going through the process of buying prescription medication, step by step. Notice how often patients try to cut corners or avoid what they deem an unnecessary hassle.

Take note of how pharmacies provide information to their customers about the drugs they are taking. Once you learn what your patients experience at the pharmacy, you can be more confident in your decision to provide in-office medicine dispensing.

Proficient Rx is the nation’s leader in facilitating direct dispensing between physicians and their patients. We work with our physicians to streamline the process of prescribing medication, helping them ensure that their patients are getting the exact medication and dosages they need.

With our easy-to-use dispensing software, doctors can keep track of their in-office dispensing and take advantage of the freedoms afforded through planned, controlled, and efficient direct dispensing.

 

What Ancillary Services Are Best for An Urgent Care - Pro Rx

What Ancillary Services Are Best for An Urgent Care?

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 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 ancillary services are and how they can help you.

 

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 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; 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 considered to be therapeutic. 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 an urgent care are the ones that help you keep the patient-centered focus you need. Think about which services are used by your patients 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.

Improve the Quality of Your Care

How to Ensure Quality Patient Care in Your Practice

When defining quality patient care, the healthcare industry says this is giving a patient what they need at the time of their need. It also means providing services at a cost the patient can afford, in a space that is safe and confidential.

Quality patient care also refers to finding ways to get the patient to get involved in their own treatment. This can mean making lifestyle changes to support your treatment plan and following through with your treatment plan.

The World Health Organization further adds that quality patient care improves the health of the patient and does not discriminate based on race, age, sex or any other characteristic.

Knowing the definition of quality patient care is just a beginning step. Below are additional steps you can take to ensure quality patient care in your practice.

 

Become Patient-Centered

Quality patient care can be improved by making your services patient-centered. Take a look at your services from the perspective of your patients. From the moment they enter your office, what experience does your patient have?

Evaluate everything from the waiting room environment, wait times, communication while waiting, interactions with staff and satisfaction after meeting with you. If improvements need to be made to make the patient happier, don’t waste time changing.

 

Improve Safety of Patients

Safety in quality patient care means making sure the services you provide to help a patient do not cause them harm. There are several patient-centered tips you can incorporate to improve safety. Allowing patients to have access to their clinical data, including the notes you write.

Patients can review their own information and may notice information that could improve their patient care. They may notice they forgot to give you important health information. They may notice an error that could lead to unsafe care.

Errors happen. Pharmacy errors are increasing daily and patients are being negatively affected. If a patient is given the wrong medication, or the right medication but at the wrong dose, the consequences can be fatal.

One way to avoid these types of errors is to dispense medications at the point of care. Meaning, you provide the prescribed medicine to your patients before they leave your office the day of their appointment. This eliminates the pharmacy and the potential errors, making your patients safer.

 

Become More Effective

Effective quality patient care means you provide the services that have advantages that far outweigh any disadvantages. Any patient that needs a service should receive it. It also means avoiding providing services to those who do not need treatment. Don’t overtreat and don’t undertreat.

There are strategies you can implement to provide more effective quality care to patients. For starters, improve your diagnostic skills and technology. The top reason for malpractice claims is due to diagnostic error. Get what you need, training and technology, to help you improve patient evaluation. The better you can assess a patient, the more accurate your diagnosis will be.

Provide the best treatment planning experience by gaining options for care. Make treatment plans individual to the patient since no two patients are the same.

Meet the needs of your staff. The better equipped your staff, the better they can do a good job. They will also be more satisfied and have a happier attitude, which can also influence the patient-centered experience.

Meeting the needs of your patients is easier when you begin dispensing in-office. The software provided streamlines staff duties, simplifying and organizing their duties, from check-in and check-out, to entering stats, to recording notes.

Finally, it’s important that patient care does not end when they are discharged from their visit. Follow-up with patients on an on-going basis to see how they are progressing.

 

Reduce Waiting Time

As a physician, you may think quality patient care only refers to the services you provide in your office. But there are other aspects to care of patients that can hinder or enhance their experience. The amount of time the patient must wait to see you is one of these factors.

If you cannot reduce the waiting time by much, then improve the waiting experience for the patient. Make sure they are greeted when they enter your office. Your staff should update them on their wait time frequently and engage them when possible.

Provide luxuries for your patients like television, reading materials, and play areas for children. Provide coffee and refreshments.

Make the patient feel special while they are waiting.

 

Improve Efficiency

Efficiency refers to avoiding waste. This can be waste of supplies, resources, money and time. To improve efficiency in your practice, make sure the staff you hire are doing the jobs best fit for them. Don’t assign an administrative task to a registered nurse, for example. Delegate duties based on the strengths of your staff.

You can also find ways to streamline administrative tasks to avoid too much paperwork. Use software, such as the programs that come with in-office dispensing programs, that reduce paperwork and make the jobs of your front office staff much easier. From one system, staff and patients can communicate better.

Dispensing at the point of care is one more way to become more efficient and increase patient satisfaction. It can also help you become more equitable in your services.

 

Become More Equitable

Becoming more equitable in patient quality care means that you provide services to all patients in need of care. You don’t make them wait for services. It also means you provide services in their primary language, respectful of different cultures.

Becoming more equitable means you serve all patients, underprivileged to privileged. It means the type of insurance they have, or how they pay, is not a factor in providing good care to someone in need.

In conclusion, these are steps you can start improving today so that you are ensuring quality patient care in your practice.

Your goal is to improve the lives of patients. It makes sense you would want to become more equitable, efficient, safe, convenient and patient-centered.

Importance of Explaining Medication

Why Is It Important to Explain Medications 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. 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 are making 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 become medication educators 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.

 

Improving Patient Safety

How Can You Improve Patient Safety Through Dispensing?

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 in-office dispensing 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 in-office dispensing. Below are the advantages it offers to improving the safety of your patients.

 

Prevents Pharmacy Errors

Pharmacy errors are increasing 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 busy pharmacies today.

In-office dispensing can help prevent these errors 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 they take the time to measure compliance, even if it is important to them.

Dispensing 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.

They 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 doctor dispensing, 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 in-office dispensing 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.

In conclusion, there are many things you can do to improve patient safety, especially when using in-office dispensing. 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 in-office dispensing programs, will help you establish a successful treatment plan with your patients.

Repackaging Medications Standards

Quality Standards for Repackaged Medication

When a company does everything it can to make sure a product or drug is in top quality condition, they have quality standards.  They put the drug through processes and experiments to make sure errors are non-existent.

This is good news for you and your practice. It gives you the confidence you need to reassure your patients that they will not be harmed.

There are multiple quality standards involved to ensure safety for patients. Below are more details on some of these standards.

 

Standards to Prevent Counterfeiting

Counterfeiting mostly happens online, when unethical manufacturers try to pass on illegal forms of medication to consumers. This is a serious crime with severe penalties that will be enforced by the Federal Drug Administration.

Counterfeit drugs usually have the wrong ingredients or the wrong doses of the right ingredients. Both are dangerous for patients.

Repackaged medications undergo quality standards that prevent counterfeiting.

Drugs are registered, making it many times harder for counterfeit criminals to manufacture and deal the product.

 

Standards for Compliance

Both the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Federal Drug Administration have regulations and quality standards that repackaging companies must follow.

If repackaging companies fail to adhere to the regulations, they are warned, inspected and eventually shut down and prevented from operating. Repackaging companies are expected to provide documentation and visual proof that all regulations are being met.

The World Health Organization sets forth dispensing guidelines that must be followed by the physician and practice staff. Repackaging companies make it easy for doctors to comply with these guidelines, which cover the entire process from writing the prescription to handing medicine to the patient.

 

Standards for Closure

The containers used at the repackaging company must prove to be better than the original container from the manufacturer.

The new containers must abide by moisture, light, vapors, and sealant regulations.

Repackaging companies are experts in containers and the standards set forth for protecting medicine.

 

Environmental Standards

Repackaging facilities must follow strict guidelines when it comes to keeping their environment clean. Pharmacies are not held to the standards repackaging facilities are required to follow. From room temperature to how often and with what counters are cleaned.

In addition to these measures, quality standards of repackaging facilities include security tactics including cameras and personnel. Monitoring is controlled with the use of state-of-the-art computerized technology.

Sanitation Standards

Any facility that will receive, store, repackage, warehouse and handle medicines must follow specific regulations.

Every area of the facility must be clean and orderly and free of any type of infestation from rodents or insects. Waste must be properly disposed of according to regulations. It shall never be allowed to collect in any one area.

Facility owners must take into consideration that no eating or drinking takes place where medications are processed or packaged. If a staff member violates these rules, they will be reprimanded.

Proper maintenance of the exterior of the facility are just as important as the interior. The grounds must be cared for so that insects and rodents do not breed and find housing near the facility. Storage of pallets and trash must be done properly to avoid attracting animals of any kind.

Staff need to be trained in how to handle pest control. Meaning, they must consider any chemicals they choose to use to prevent or get rid of pests. These chemicals can interfere with the repackaging process if not used according to regulations.

All repackaging facilities must have an area designated for quarantine of medicines that are damaged, outdated, or contaminated in any way. Their disposal process must also be strictly adhered to so cross-contamination is avoided.

Quarantine of original packaging materials and secondary containers that are no longer useful, as well as any misbranded pharmaceuticals, must be disposed of according to the law.

 

Employee Standards

One staff member could disrupt an entire process and create violations if they are not on board with understanding the importance of following regulations.

Training is provided to all staff, no matter what their duties. They are trained in how to keep the facility clean, how to properly handle and dispose of contaminated medication, and how to report errors in the manufacturing process.

Trained supervisors are responsible for making sure the rest of the staff follow guidelines. This includes making cleanliness of the facility and the staff a top priority. Staff must learn how to wash hands properly to dealing with their own illnesses such as the flu, learning when to call off sick.

 

Material Standards

There are numerous standards to be met when it comes to repackaging materials. From labeling to temperature, package materials must comply or not be used at all.

Companies use the best materials to protect drugs while also keeping the cost reduced. They ensure both primary and secondary packaging meets the standards set forth by governmental agencies.

 

Clean Rooms

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.

For repackaging medication, temperature, humidity and air pressure are all crucial factors and must be heavily monitored. Using a clean room is essential. If you find the repackaging company you work with is not using a clean room, it is time to switch to one who does.

Your patients can be affected by any type of facility contamination, even it is with the smallest particles. Therefore, repackaging companies take extra steps to follow classification guidelines.

In conclusion, you will find the practices of repackaging companies far outweigh the practices of a pharmacy. Knowing this may entice you to begin in-office dispensing repackaged medication, one of the best ways to ensure patient safety, while also improving long-term health outcomes.