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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.

In Office Dispensing For Your Health Clinic

Why Direct Dispensing is Good for Health Clinics

If you are practicing in a health clinic, you recognize the need for patients to receive quality services based on need, not based on whether they have the right insurance or can pay your fees. You open your doors to patients without conditions.

You have a goal to provide services that are culturally appropriate, provide basic and preventive care. Your clinic most likely provides services that help patients receive your care, including transportation and translators.

You know the needs of the underserved and your focus is to meet those needs medically.

One need you may not have recognized yet is direct dispensing. This is when you provide pharmaceutical services at the point of care, in addition to your regular duties. Put more simply, with direct dispensing, you prescribe and fill your patient’s prescription in your office, allowing your patients to leave with their prescription upon completion of their office visit.

Direct dispensing is good for health clinics for many reasons. Below are just a few.

 

Better Patient and Caregiver Education

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 patients may not even speak the same language as the pharmacy staff.

Your patient refuses a pharmacist consult, even though it is desired. Your patients leave confused and unsure about their medication.

If you are dispensing medicines to your patients, you have the perfect opportunity to provide them with worthwhile information regarding the medicine they are about to take. You can do so in a way that is culturally appropriate.

Some cultures have strict rules when it comes to who cares for your patient. You will need to provide quality education to them as well as the patient.

With the direct dispensing process, you can know for sure that your patients understand your instructions. You can also keep better track of whether your patients follow through with your instructions.

 

Follow Through

You may not be able to force your patients to take their prescriptions, but you can make it easier for them. An in-office dispensing system eliminates the excuse of not being able to get to the pharmacy.

It also allows you the opportunity to check their files to see if they are keeping up with refills. If they have never called in for a refill, they are most likely not taking their medicines.

This gives you a chance to contact the patient before their next appointment to find out why they are not taking their medications.

When you show you care by providing on-site prescriptions and status checkup calls, you are encouraging patients to follow through.

 

Minimizes Errors

Pharmacists make errors. Doctors and every other person in the world make mistakes. However, pharmacies today are overwhelmed with orders. There are usually only one or two pharmacists on staff at a time. This leaves the technicians to do most of the work.

Pharmacies have much work to do in providing good customer service to a diverse population. Our country is filled with many cultures, all with different rules, ideals, values, languages and barriers.

Not all pharmacists speak multiple languages. They aren’t effectively trained to deal with such diversity. For instance, the likelihood of a patient misunderstanding instructions given by a pharmacist is increased due to language barriers. This could lead to misuse of a drug, which could lead to much worse.

By filling prescriptions within your office, your patients can worry less about pharmacist errors and more about getting well.

 

Saves Time

Your patients are busy. Some are working more than one job to provide for their families. Many take personal time from work to see you. Others must schedule rides because they are unable to drive themselves.

The last thing they want to add to their schedules is an unexpected trip to the pharmacy.

Even if the pharmacy is located right down the street from your office, it still takes time. Most of the major pharmacies take an hour to fill a prescription.

When a person is ill, this process is not appealing.

In-office dispensing provides convenience to your patients. It allows them to focus on getting well rather than trying to figure out how to get the medicine they need.

 

Saves Money

With direct dispensing, you will notice a big increase in revenue. Some patients will be able to claim their medication through their insurance company. Others will pay cash. Some will not be able to pay at all.

Because your income increases when you dispense in-office, you can help those patients who can’t afford to pay. You can offer discounted medications to those who qualify.

It’s true that many patients do not go to pharmacies and do not pick up their prescribed medication because they cannot afford it. This means they are not receiving proper care. This means their health is getting worse.

When you control the cost of medication, you can determine which patients can benefit from a discounted medication rate.

 

Improved Health Outcomes

In-office dispensing gives you more access to your patients. You can monitor them from the first visit through follow-up visits. Such access helps you track the progress of your patient’s health and make changes as needed.

Your goal is to see your patients’ health improve. You want to help them feel better and live a higher quality of life.

By dispensing medicine at the point of care, you will be provided with evidence that links directly to your patient’s health.

In conclusion, direct-dispensing has many advantages, especially for a health clinic. All advantages lead to you having a closer relationship with your patients. The more your patients trust you, the more they will take your advice and follow your treatment plan.

Dispensing at the point of care proves to your patients that you have made their health a priority, despite any barriers or obstacles.

Why to Offer Durable Medical Equipment

Why Offer Durable Medical Equipment?

According to research, the durable medical industry is valued at over 42 billion dollars and expected to grow. The specific categories showing the most growth include monitoring and therapeutic devices, mobility devices, and bathroom safety devices and medical furniture, in that order.

Common durable medical equipment includes blood pressure monitoring devices, wheelchairs, canes, safety handles, crutches, and walkers. Other equipment includes toilet seats and special mattresses.

Pumps, nebulizers, oxygen equipment, blood sugar monitoring, and insulin pumps are a few more examples of the hundreds of types of equipment patients can use to help improve their overall health and functioning.

Durable medical equipment is something you can offer at the point of care. There are many benefits to providing this service to your patients, some of which are discussed below.

 

Growth of Home Health Aides and Caregivers

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics report the need for home health aides and caregivers is expected to grow by 13 million in the year 2020, making it one of the fastest growing industries in healthcare.

For you, this means your patients will be depending on someone else to assist in their care.

Home health aides and caregivers often need to use durable medical equipment when providing care. If you can assist them and teach them how to properly use the equipment, your patient’s will benefit.

Dispensing durable medical equipment in your office gives you the chance to provide immediate instruction to both the patient and their aide.

It also means you are saving your patient a lot of time and unnecessary effort.

 

Patient Convenience and Satisfaction

When you prescribe durable medical equipment, your patients must then travel to a pharmacy to retrieve the item. This can take time that your patients have little of, they are busy just as you are.

Also, if your patients are not clear about your instructions, they may find themselves pondering over the many options available to them at the pharmacy. They can get confused and even decide to leave without the equipment they need.

By selling durable medical equipment in your office, your patients can get the exact product they need, with the proper education they need to use the equipment.

You can feel more confident that your patients are following through with your treatment plan. And when they follow through with your plans, they will see improved outcomes.

 

Improved Health Outcomes for Patients

You prescribe medicines and durable medical equipment for a reason, to help your patients live better lives. Providing equipment at the point of care ensures your patients are receiving what they need to make a difference.

You can better track patient improvements if you have more control over how they obtain the equipment they need. For instance, if you tell a patient to track their blood sugars and provide them with a 30-day supply of testing strips, needles and a monitor, then you can monitor their refills.

If they are refilling these items every 30 days, you can assume they are on track with their treatment plan. If your patient never requests a refill, you can assume they are not monitoring as you prescribed.

You can match their use of the equipment with how well they are doing physically. If in a follow-up visit, your patient’s health has gotten worse, you can show them how that may be related to their lack of use of the equipment. Or vice versa.

 

Can Lead to Dispensing Durable Medical Supplies

Durable medical equipment is different that durable medical supplies, but both are equally important to your patients.

Durable medical equipment are products that are reusable, while durable medical supplies are disposable.

Supplies include items such as bandages, testing strips and needles for use with blood sugar monitors, protective gloves, and incontinence products.

They are to be used one time only.

Supplies are small items that can provide your patients a huge convenience if you sell them in-office.

Both durable medical equipment and supplies offer you an opportunity to greatly increase revenue for your practice.

 

Increased Revenue

You deserve an increase in revenue. Your practice deserves it. You work hard to provide employment and benefits for your staff, care for your patients, and a good income for your family.

But it is likely more money would allow you to do even more.

Providing durable medical equipment in-office takes very little cost to establish, yet it brings in a large return.

You can choose to dispense only the medical equipment you prescribe the most. You purchase the items at a wholesale rate. Then you can mark up the item to a cost affordable for your patient but beneficial to your practice.

Not only are you able to make a profit on the item, insurance companies will reimburse you for the items given to a patient.

The software system provided by in-office dispensing companies makes it easy for you to collect money for the items you sell.

 

Ease of Getting Paid

Submitting claims to insurance companies to be reimbursed for your patients’ durable medical equipment costs is easy. In fact, the company you choose to hire to set up your dispensing program can connect you directly to the insurance companies’ claims department.

All your staff will have to do is enter the data and hit the send button.

If your patients choose to pay directly for their equipment, printing an invoice is quick and simple. The software program can even help you track inventory and alert you when it is time to reorder items.

Whether an insurance company, Medicare, or the patient is paying for the product, you will find the process simple.

In conclusion, dispensing durable medical equipment is a great way to help you reach your goals of providing better care and increasing patient satisfaction. It can also streamline office tasks for your staff, making them happier as well.

Benefits like these are invaluable to the success of your practice. It’s great that something as simple as dispensing durable medical equipment can help you receive those benefits.

Educate Patients About Drug Interactions

How to Best Educate Your Patients About Drug Interactions

Most patients are not educated about their medications. They don’t know why they need to take it. They don’t know how to properly take it and they typically have no clue if their medicine will create a negative interaction when taken.

Patients simply trust the instructions given to them by you, their physician. They are not likely to ask questions for a variety of reasons. Some don’t know what questions to ask. Others don’t want to appear dumb, as if they should already know the answer. And still others don’t want to offend you because they know how busy you are and don’t want to interrupt your schedule.

They don’t feel their needs are important enough to ask you to stop what you are doing to provide them with education. But that is exactly what you need to do.

Educating your patients about their medicines and potential drug interactions can protect both you and the patient from danger.

There are specific things you can do to provide the best education to your patients. Some of these are listed below.

 

Educate Yourself

It would be impossible for you to educate your patients about drug interactions if you didn’t learn them first. The more you know, the more you can share.

There are several ways you can educate yourself on medications and their potential interactions. You can attend a conference specifically on this topic. You can attend an online class that teaches you valuable information on drugs and their interactions.

You can meet with pharmaceutical representatives personally or via online programs. You can ask them direct questions about the drugs they develop.

You can also spend time conducting your own research. Review studies that involve the medications you prescribe and analyze the results. Furthermore, take better notes on each of your patients who are prescribed prescription medication.

To take better notes, ask your patients better questions about their experiences when taking their medications. This will give you accurate information to help in creating treatment plans.

 

Teach Your Patients

Your patients believe everything you say. It is rare that patients question your diagnosis. They believe you are the expert in their health. And this is true. You are the expert in their healthcare. So, as the expert, you can teach patients how to better care for themselves, especially when it comes to drug interactions.

Taking a few extra minutes during a patient visit to thoroughly explain medications can be life changing for your patient. When they understand their medications, they are more likely to adhere to their regimen. This means their chances of improved health significantly increase.

 

Provide Patients with Correct Labels

While not much information can go on a medication’s label, you can still provide important information regarding drug interactions. The more control you have over the label information the better.

With in-office dispensing, you are given the highest authority on what is printed on each label. Providing the prescription to your patients at the point of care allows you to print the label in your office. Before printing, your staff can enter all the information you feel is necessary to keep your patients safe and preventing drug interactions.

 

Provide Appropriate Printed Information

When a patient gets their medications from a pharmacist, they are handed a bag with numerous pages of written information stapled to the outside. They are asked quickly by the pharmacy staff if they have questions and sent on their way.

At no time is the printed information reviewed or explained to the patients. When the patient gets home the printed materials are often thrown in the trash. The patients who do choose to look at the information can feel overwhelmed by the technical, medical terminology, graphs and diagrams.

And what about your patients who cannot read?

You can provide individualized printed educational materials for your patients and any caregivers. You can provide information that explains the drug in relation to their diagnosis, as well as any interactions to watch out for.

 

Follow-Up with Your Patients

At the time of their office visit, patients may not have questions regarding their medications. They feel the pressure you have on you to complete an office visit quickly and move on to the next patient. Therefore, your patients are trying to cram in as much knowledge as they can in the little time they have with you.

And, they don’t know what they don’t know. Meaning, if they haven’t taken their medication yet, they don’t know what new symptoms will arise in the next few days or weeks.

Following up with your patients, either through a phone call, patient web portal, or email gives both you and your patient the opportunity to assess possible reactions from the medication you prescribed.

Patients may not even connect their medication to new symptoms. But you can. Instead of waiting months until you see your patient in-office again, you can evaluate their progress and make needed changes early on.

This means your patients do not have to experience unnecessary interactions or negative symptoms for a longer period because you followed up with them soon after their appointment. There are software programs, such as those with in-office dispensing, that can help you schedule and complete follow-ups.

In conclusion, you are the one person who can best educate your patients on potential drug interactions. And you have multiple avenues to do so. Don’t utilize just one way. Instead, take every opportunity to teach your patients about their medicine.

The benefits of doing so far outweigh the risks of not educating them. Medication errors are on the rise, especially at pharmacies. These errors can lead to malpractice lawsuits and most importantly, prevents you from reaching your goal of improving the health and life of your patients.

Education is one of the best ways to prevent medication errors, especially interactions.

Start with the above listed tips on providing education to patients. You can also get creative and develop specialized education activities that meet the needs of your practice and your patients. It will be a win-win for everyone.

Is Dispensing Right For Your Urgent Care

Is Dispensing Right for Your Urgent Care?

If you have an urgent care clinic, then you know you are already providing much needed services to patients. You are offering medical help to those in need during extended evening and weekend hours. You understand that ailments and injuries do not always take place between nine to five each day.

Your patients appreciate the convenience you are providing. You save them money because they no longer must go to the emergency room for help. You save them time that they would normally have to wait if required to see their family doctor.

Because you are already providing excellent services that meets the needs of patients, you may be considering adding an additional benefit. You may be considering in-office dispensing of medications. Meaning, you would be able to prescribe medication at the point of care at the time you see and treat the patient.

Dispensing is becoming more popular among physicians. But is it right for you and your urgent care?

Below are some factors to consider when making your decision.

 

How Much Does It Cost to Start?

The cost to set up an in-office dispensing program is seen as minimal compared to other programs. Depending on the dispensing company you choose to hire, your cost can range from $5,000 to $10,000. Costs will vary, of course, based on the services you choose to add to your program.

This investment offers you an exceptional return on your investment.

 

What is the Return on Investment?

Many physicians and dispensing companies report that with the minimal investment, they can increase their revenue to between $5,000 and $10,000 a month.

The ROI is so high because providing medications at the point of care allow you to make money off every dose you prescribe. Think about all the prescriptions you have written just this week. Now think about making several dollars off each medication.

You can see how attractive in-office dispensing can be.

Plus, it truly helps your patients.

 

How Does it Help Your Patients?

In-office dispensing at your urgent care means patients can receive treatment and medication right away. They no longer must go to the pharmacy and wait long periods for their prescription to be filled. They don’t have to worry about their privacy being violated when the pharmacist loudly calls out their name in front of everyone else waiting on a prescription.

Patients can receive proper education, from you, on the medications they are prescribed. While education should be provided by pharmacists, it rarely happens. They are just too busy.

Patients are just as busy as you are. This convenience will make the more satisfied and more loyal. 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. The software provided connects your billing staff directly with insurance companies. Meaning, all they must do is click the send button on the computer to send a patient claim for reimbursement.

Staff are provided with around the clock tech support from the dispensing company. They are given initial training that is included with the program cost.

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. All other times they click print and adhere the label to the medication container.

 

How Does it Help You?

You must remain in compliance at the federal, state and local levels. In-office dispensing programs help you meet compliance requirements. It is designed to notify you of changes made to compliance laws and help you meet those requirements.

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.

In-office dispensing makes you more money. This is money that you can spend on improvements to your urgent care, adding additional ancillary services, raising salaries or providing perks to both you and your staff.

You work very hard. You deserve to be rewarded with additional revenue that can benefit you, your staff and your family.

 

What is Involved in the Implementation?

Implementation is simple and completed by the dispensing company you hire. Everything from installing the software, setting up the printing capabilities, training your staff and storage of your medications, they will do it for you.

The software programs will be set up and will be individualized to the needs of your urgent care. They will connect you directly to the insurance companies in which you are credentialed. They will help ensure you are not in violation of any regulations.

The only thing you must do is choose which medications to dispense in your facility.

 

Are You Limited on Which Medications You Can Prescribe?

While you are not limited to prescribing certain medications in your urgent care, it is common among physicians to choose the most commonly prescribed to keep on hand. Otherwise you could get overwhelmed with too many options.

You will work with your dispensing company to determine the medicines your patients need the most. You may also want to consider dispensing durable medical equipment and supplies in your urgent care also.

If you patient needs a cane or wheelchair but the pharmacy, or local big box store, is closed, they are out of luck, unless you can provide it at the point of care.

If you are thinking dispensing is right for your urgent care, then it is time to get started.

 

Where Do You Start?

Finding an in-office dispensing company to hire is the one thing that requires a solid decision. Research companies and choose one that is all-inclusive. They should be focused on providing software, tech support, quality packaged medications, and ease of use for you and your staff.

Once you find the right company, everything else will fall into place and your urgent care clinic will begin noticing positive changes in your services and revenue.

Keeping Medical Staff Happy

The Key to Keeping Medical Staff Happy

Your medical staff sees your patients before you do. From checking in with front-office staff to getting vitals taken by your assistants, these are the people who represent you and give your patients an impression of your practice.

Because of this, it is extremely important your medical staff is happy. When they are happy, they show it. Their happiness lets your patients know they are in the right place for help. It makes your patients feel like they will receive good treatment because if the staff is being treated well, so will the patients.

The keys to keeping medical staff happy is not hard to understand and easy to implement. Below are some of these keys that you can start implementing today.

 

Make Them Feel Appreciated

Staff members want to feel appreciated. Sure, you are paying them to work. But in their minds, they are leaving their families, putting off personal responsibilities, and putting your practice before other duties, so that you can be successful.

Letting them know you appreciate them does not mean buying them things or giving them promotions. It simply means saying, “thank you” and “I appreciate your help”. Simple words can change an entire attitude.

 

Give Them Updated Equipment

Staff gets frustrated when their computers are slow or crash when trying to help a patient. It is embarrassing. Copiers that always breakdown, outdated software, and even old telephone services can lead to staff feeling unhappy because they add more time and effort that could be spent on providing patient services.

Spend the time and money to provide your staff with the best technology. For instance, if dispensing in-office, the modern software programs provided make your staff’s job easy. It can take inventory, respond to messages, and send claims efficiently to insurance companies and even print education and labels with just the click of a button.

This will make all your staff very happy.

 

Provide Fun

Many staff spend more time at your office than at their own homes. When do they get to relax and have fun? You can provide some fun for your staff. Bring in a massage therapist to provide ten minute neck massages to your staff.

Have an extended lunch and play games. Start in-house competitions that may seem silly but offer a few laughs. Participate in team volunteering opportunities. Have staff help makeover your office space. Have office meetings outdoors or at a park.

If your office is serious all the time, your staff will not be able to express happiness. The overall mood of your practice is set by you. Make it a place people want to be.

 

Streamline Staff Duties

Some staff members are not really sure what their specific job duties are. They do a little bit of everything. This can be stressful for some staff members, making them feel overwhelmed and unhappy.

To avoid this, provide each staff with their specific job duties and have them stick to their duties. You can also work with agencies that can help you streamline services, like those that come with in-office dispensing.

From the time a patient checks in to providing a prescription to collecting fees and sending claims, the services they provide are created to make it easy for your staff. And the easier the job, the happier the staff, the happier the patient.

 

Individualize Benefits

Each staff member has a different life outside of your office. The benefits they want may not be the same for all staff members. Some may want tuition reimbursement while others want a trip to Disney.

Some staff already has health insurance through a spouse. They don’t need that benefit through your practice. Give them something they do need.

Instead of going with the standard, across the board, benefits, make yours unique. Make them fit the needs and wants of your staff.

Offer unusual benefits, like help paying for a car, help paying off student loan debt, attending conferences, furthering education, help paying their child’s tuition, opening a savings account, or even spa packages.

Ask your staff what they want their benefits to include. Ask them what would make them happier.

 

Invest in Your Staff

Staff wants to feel if you want them to be around for a long time, that they are valuable to the success of the practice. And they are. You should notice just how valuable they are and find ways to show you understand their worth.

Creating a long-term career path with your staff can help. Find out if they want to advance in the practice and then work with them to get there. For instance, if your medical assistant wants to become a nurse someday, help them develop a plan to do that.

Give them reasons to continue working for you once they achieve the goal of being a nurse. Offer incentives for staying with you, or help with their tuition in exchange for service time.

You want your staff to be engaged and invested in making your practice profitable. To do this, you must return the investment so they feel how important they are.

 

Spend Time with Your Staff

Spending time with your staff does not mean hanging out with them after hours or participating in extra-curricular activities when the office is closed. It simply means get to know them on a personal level. Listen to them, hear them and provide open lines of communication.

The more you spend time and get to know your staff, the more you will learn what makes them happy. You will learn what gifts to get them at Christmas and birthdays, gifts that are personal and not generic. You will be able to personalize their work experience.

You may find that some staff need more flexible hours, or that some staff are dealing with hardships. Knowing these things gives you opportunities to show you care and that their happiness is important to you.

In the end, it is you who can make a difference in your staff’s happiness. These are a few simple tips you can start doing today.