Category Archives: Blog

Putting Patient Convenience First

How To Make Life Easy For Your Patients

The face and nature of medicine is rapidly shifting. Physicians are expected to work with patients as healthcare providers, rather than taking on an authoritative tone. Digital technology is being leveraged to provide better care, partially through the improved collection and analysis of patient information. The continued development of AI will lead to faster and more accurate diagnoses, better analysis of patient information for more accurate care, fraud detection, and error prevention.

Through the widespread proliferation of the smartphone and advances in incorporating developing technologies like the blockchain into healthcare, patients and providers alike will have easier and faster access to complete patient information through electronic health records, and researchers will have a better data pool to draw from when working on treatments and developing medicines.

Meanwhile, the growth enjoyed by urgent care centers suggests that patients are looking for more convenience and speed in healthcare. Practices and providers must embrace a new kind of customer-oriented experience, where patients place a premium not only on quality care, but ease-of-use. For many clinics and hospitals, a new priority has unfolded: improving the customer experience. To do so, they must leverage existing and unfolding technologies and introduce new training for their staff.

 

Patients Want Convenience

If patient surveys are anything to go by, patients want faster access to medical services, especially in convenient locations. Convenience is the name of the game at the moment, and practices must strive to improve customer experiences without sacrificing quality of care. By making life easier for your patients, you’re giving them reasons to value your practice more than the competition.

On the note of customer care, surveys indicate that there is room for growth in the customer experience department. Patients rarely complain about the quality of their healthcare and rate their physicians highly – but report poor experiences with support staff. Small frustrations fueled by a lack of transparency can drive patients away, even when the medical care they are receiving is great.

Most hospitals and executives understand this, as surveys indicate. But what can practices do to facilitate the transition towards a more pro-consumer experience?

 

Lower Wait Times, Better Support Staff

Patients wait an average of 18 minutes and 13 seconds before they see their physician. Practices know that wait times are frustrating for patients, but it’s unrealistic to try and eliminate wait times entirely. Instead, aim to improve wait times, and make wait times more pleasant by hiring more staff to work the front desk, and making it standard practice for support staff to greet and address patients in a friendly, accommodating fashion.

Changes such as standing up when patients enter, greeting them appropriately, and wishing them a good day when they leave can have a simple yet profound impact on the way patients view your practice. The more welcomed and respected they feel, the less likely they are to be irritated by a few minutes extra wait.

Extra staff means better, streamlined work. The front desk has a lot to do on a busy day – they must accommodate patients, answer calls, and organize schedules. If it’s clear that your front desk is being overwhelmed, hire a helping hand to better divide the work. The faster these tasks are performed, the better. Try to make it a rule of thumb for your staff to be in at least thirty minutes before the first appointment, so everything is setup and ready before the first patient arrives.

Encourage patients to book appointments earlier in the day if they want little to no wait times – the first and second appointments are almost always going to be on-time, with later appointments having to account for the little things that get in the way of work on a daily basis.

 

Timely Follow-Up

Practices today must shift from dispensing medical services simply on a case-by-case episodic basis, and instead move towards fostering long-term continuous relationships with patients. Streamline care by making it easier for yourself to access and review a patient’s EHR through better data management, and focus on improving your own customer care skills, to help patients feel welcomed and truly cared for.

Outside of the office, schedule and send routine follow-up messages along the patient’s preferred method of communication (something you can store alongside their profile within your own database). Timely follow-up and continued correspondence let a patient know that you care, and that you’re available.

 

Direct Medication Dispensing

In-office, or point-of-care dispensing can be an important tool to further introduce customer convenience into your practice. In the states where in-office dispensing is available, practices would do well to leverage this and further set themselves apart from the competition.

By prescribing and dispensing medication at the point-of-care, you save your patients the time and energy it takes to make a trip to the nearest pharmacy, and it gives you the ability to better control and enforce medication adherence, as well as giving them the time and place to ask their questions and educate them about their treatment.

Among the many benefits attributed to direct dispensing, a big one is convenience and immediacy. Most surveyed patients responded that they would prefer direct dispensing to the alternative and enjoy the fact that point-of-care dispensing would allow them to begin their treatment right away.

 

Embrace Change in Medication Dispensing and Healthcare Services

Many practices recognize the need for an improved customer experience. When trying to streamline crucial processes or introduce conveniences like direct dispensing, it helps to partner up with the right solutions provider. The right partner can help practices avoid hefty overhead costs, logistical issues, legal mishaps, and the consequences of poor implementation.

Proficient Rx provides private practices, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare professionals with the means to begin in-office dispensing within a few days, with an easy-to-use web-based dispensing program and access to repackaged brand, generic, and OTC medication. Proficient Rx’s web-based software helps businesses track and manage their inventory, so they’re safely able to oversee when and to whom they’re providing medication in-office.

Improving Medication Adherence

Increasing Medication Adherence

Medication adherence is not a new issue but remains a significant one as we move into a new decade in 2020. Simply put, drugs do nothing for a patient who does not ingest them – and if we cannot ensure that our patients are properly adhering to their advised medication regimen, we cannot properly address their symptoms and treat them.

Medication adherence is neither a simple issue nor a small one, as several different studies have indicated that more than half of people do not take their medication as instructed by their healthcare provider. Consequently, medication nonadherence (a lack of medication adherence) is linked to poor health outcomes, poorer quality of life, and much higher costs for the healthcare system, and the economy in general.

Various products, interventions, and techniques have been developed and devised in an effort to reduce medication nonadherence, but with little success.

It remains difficult to pinpoint what works and what doesn’t, as patients share different reasons for their medication nonadherence, including simple forgetfulness, inability to afford medication, poor memory due to their condition, lack of time, lack of medical literacy, or fear of adverse effects. When working to identify ways to help you increase medication adherence in your patients, it helps to employ strong listening skills, and prepare to utilize a number of potential fixes and interventions.

 

What is Medication Adherence? 

Several definitions have been proposed for this phenomenon, which was first studied in 1968, yet is likely much older. The fact that some patients will not listen to medical advice is a given, but it becomes a serious problem when a significant number of patients do not follow their healthcare provider’s instructions for care.

The WHO offers a concrete definition of adherence: “the extent to which a person’s behavior – taking medication, following a diet, and or executing lifestyle changes – corresponds with the agreed recommendations from a provider.” When a patient displays nonadherence, they are indirectly communicating that they face a significant roadblock preventing them from procuring and/or taking the right medication, in the right dosage, at the right time.

More than even the development of new drugs, the improvement of adherence strongly influences health outcomes for the better. It is, simply put, in every physician’s best interest to do their utmost to maximize adherence in their patients.

 

Medication Adherence is Critical in Chronic Conditions

More so than in other illnesses, a lack of medication adherence is a significant problem in patients with chronic conditions. Currently, roughly 50 percent to 60 percent of all people affected by chronic illnesses display some form of nonadherence, for one reason or another.

Chronic illnesses need to be managed carefully and consistently, and failure to do so can lead to the development of worse symptoms, or rapid deterioration in quality of life and overall health.

Patients with chronic illnesses are often regularly in touch with their primary care providers or the respective specialist who is treating them, yet despite that, many continue to struggle to adhere to the treatment they are given. More needs to be done to ensure that patients with chronic conditions are carefully monitored and interviewed to ensure medication adherence.

 

Increasing Adherence: What’s in the Way? 

To identify the best way to address medication adherence issues, it’s important to understand what stands in the way of adherence for any given patient. There is a litany of reasons why a person refuses to take their medication or stick to the recommended treatment plan, and most of these reasons develop over time. No one simply decides to stop following their doctor’s orders. Getting to that point requires a number of different mental roadblocks, which may contradict advice given by a medical professional.

Research does show that five general factors can explain nonadherence: economic or social challenges, healthcare system related challenges, therapy related challenges, condition related challenges, and patient related challenges.

To further break this down, the first and largely most important roadblock against adherence is treatment cost and socioeconomic condition. Patients who cannot afford their medication will not take it.

Among healthcare systems, factors that influence adherence include the patient-provider relationship, prescriber follow-up, the complication of having multiple providers (and conflicting advice), and the nature of the provision itself (pharmacies that are inconveniently located, waitlists, complications).

Factors related to a patient’s condition can also affect adherence. If the condition is severe enough or if certain characteristics affect adherence (such as mental health issues in cases of schizophrenia and bipolar disease, or memory problems in dementia), interventions must be applied to address these issues directly. The nature of a condition may also affect its treatment. Patients begin to forget taking their medication if their condition is chronic or stop taking it once symptoms subside (despite advice against this).

Patient related factors can be more complex to tackle, as they may require identifying and dispelling a patient’s own views on what is required, as well as their health literacy, and their own motivation regarding self-care. Some patients don’t want to get better.

Therapy related factors relate to nonadherence due to fear of potential adverse drug reactions, or the perceived excessive length of the treatment, or the intimidating number of medications needed to treat the condition. The more complex a therapy, the harder it is for a patient to completely stick to the program.

Each of these factors represents a different roadblock, with its own potential solutions. Physicians need to identify a series of measures that they can implement to better screen patients for potential factors of nonadherence, alongside measures they can take to tackle said factors before they become a problem. Proposed solutions include behavioral intervention (including therapeutic techniques that have proven successful, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy), a better patient-provider relationship, simpler language, measures taken to improve a patient’s health literacy, and direct dispensing (and other means of simplifying the delivery of medication).

 

How Direct Dispensing Can Help Physicians Influence Adherence

Direct dispensing or physician dispensing presents an opportunity to improve medication adherence in most states, where it is an allowed and regulated practice. While physicians traditionally administered and provided medication, that responsibility has largely shifted to pharmacies, while physicians are tasked with prescribing medication instead.

However, systems can be implemented in many clinics and practices to streamline the process and ensure that patients receive the medication they need upfront, without going through a pharmacy to follow-up on a patient’s adherence.

ProficientRx works with physicians and other healthcare professionals to implement an effective system to help practices and clinics begin direct dispensing to their patients. With a responsive customer care team, an easy-to-use web-based service, and the resources to help businesses throughout the country, we at ProficientRx help you get your clinic on track for implementing point-of-care dispensing as quickly as possible, depending on your location and state.

Specializing in repackaged medication, we ensure that our clients are stocked with a responsive and lightweight dispensing program, catering to private practices, care organizations, hospitals, and clinics. With over 50 years of experience, we adhere strictly to every regulatory program in the industry, and always work closely with our clients to ensure that their dispensing services comply with every rule and are up to the latest standards.

 

Why You Need Medication At Your Urgent Care

Why It’s Important to Have Medication on Hand at Your Urgent Care

With an estimated 600 new urgent care clinics opening annually, any physicians managing an urgent care clinic are aware that their segment of the market is growing, and that there is a new demand for faster services among many patients.

Naturally, urgent care has rapidly grown over the past few years as Americans begin demanding these faster services – for when they don’t feel the need to visit a specialist or their primary care physician, and for when they know they aren’t in immediate danger and need a visit to the emergency room. While some might assume that urgent care facilities have been around for quite some time, they are in fact very recent. The first known use of the word occurred in the 1970s, and it wasn’t until 2017 that Merriam-Webster added the term “urgent care” to the dictionary. And clearly, urgent care facilities are fulfilling a very specific demand. Only three percent of patients visiting an urgent care clinic need to be referred to an ER.

As urgent care physicians are well-aware of, cost is another consideration: a visit to the ER can be exceptionally pricy, and in an economy with record-high consumer debt and with one in five Americans possessing absolutely no savings for a major emergency, urgent care clinics provide a more cost-effective alternative for when a problem does not seem to warrant a precautionary visit to the ER.

Many Americans also do not have a primary care provider to begin with. About 17 percent of women and 28 percent of men belong to that demographic, and for many, medical emergencies and problems are rare enough that the pressure to swap from an urgent clinic to primary care just isn’t there. Instead, urgent care provides many with what they’ve always sought: easier, faster, and more convenient care.

With such rising responsibilities and a patient base that seems to grow and insist on the benefits that urgent care provide, it is becoming increasingly important to urgent care clinics to adjust for these expectations and rise up to the occasion. One way to do so is through improving your clinic’s offering, by implementing in-office dispensing.

 

Physician Dispensing for Your Practice

Urgent care clinics are handling about 89 million visits a year, accounting for roughly 29 percent of all primary care visits in the US. That number is slated to grow, and with it comes the need to continue to serve patients dutifully and safely.

While many urgent care clinics are situated near or directly attached to pharmacies, not all have this luxury, and as urgent care clinics continue to balloon in number across the country, the need for a steady and well-stocked inventory of essential medication may grow. Rather than relying on a nearby pharmacy to help provide patient care, another option to help overcome the industry’s growing pains is to consider in-office dispensing.

Through physician dispensing, urgent care physicians can better oversee their patient’s wellbeing, without losing focus on what separates the urgent care clinic from the primary care physician: convenience and speed.

 

Physician Dispensing Allows for Better Outcomes

More than just helping patients fulfill their needs better and faster, physician dispensing can lead to better outcomes. An estimated 20-30 percent of prescriptions simply are not filled, and many do not follow prescribed treatment courses. Failure to adhere to medication is one of the leading causes of poor outcomes in the US, and at times, it is driven by costs, and by a lack of convenience.

By pushing back against nonadherence with in-office dispensing and face-to-face consultation, urgent care clinics can ensure that patients walk away better informed and equipped with medication they can afford to take in the long-term. Better outcomes lead to healthier and happier patients, more recommendations, and more business for your clinic.

 

Medication Urgent Clinics Need to Stock

Urgent care clinics can provide a wide coverage of care, but there are specific kinds of medication that urgent care clinics often need to have in inventory, and others that are not typically carried. When dispensing medication in-office, it’s important to stock antivirals, antibiotics, short-term pain medication, and maintenance meds that can help serve as a one-time solution for patients who otherwise need a prescription refilled by a primary care physician.

As important as a supply of medication is, it’s even more important to be able to refer cases to good specialists and primary care physicians if they need long-term treatment.

Some patients misunderstand the service that an urgent care clinic provides, or the treatment they are in need of is much more long-term than what an urgent care clinic typically provides. And while urgent care clinics can and will fill out prescriptions, and even offer prescription medication in-office, patients will have to visit their own doctors to refill a previous prescription.

Overall, educating patients on the benefits of visiting an urgent care clinic for immediate or unknown concerns but visiting a specialist for chronic issues or known conditions is important. It will save you time and save them plenty of costs.

 

Finding the Right Partner

As urgent care centers continue to play an increasingly vital role in the world of healthcare, it becomes important to partner up with the right people to safely facilitate the transition into in-office dispensing. A dispensing solutions company can help you navigate your way towards fully implementing physician dispensing in your clinic and ensure that you’re providing the best possible service to your patients.

Through our easy-to-use web-based service and quality customer care, we at ProficientRx aim to help urgent care clinics, private practices, and healthcare professionals throughout the US better keep track of their in-house medication, manage and safely secure patient information, and make the most of their physician dispensing rights. Whether brand, generic, or OTC, we ensure our clients are stocked with the right tools to begin in-office dispensing.

ProficientRx helps physicians get started in direct dispensing by providing the means and the system with which to manage it all. We make point-of-care dispensing easy, and help you better provide urgent care to your patients, without worrying about stock and supply or poor data management.

Why Patients Want You To Dispense Directly

Why Patients Want You to Dispense Directly

Direct dispensing aims to provide physicians and other healthcare professionals with the means to better facilitate patient care, by giving their patients a much more convenient avenue for purchasing and receiving their medication. This practice of in-house or point-of-care dispensing, if available in your state, can be one of the best ways to personally tackle the life-threatening issue of patient non-adherence.

Patient non-adherence describes a problem wherein patients do not stick to their treatment plan or medication regimen, for one reason or another. Many of the reasons that inform patient non-adherence can be partially or wholly addressed through direct dispensing. Therefore, it’s often in a patient’s best interest that their physicians have the means to address many of the concerns that contribute to patient non-adherence.

 

Direct Dispensing Can Save Money

A major criticism against direct dispensing would be that it does not address the biggest concern: drug costs. The rising concern of egregious drug costs has made headlines and has proven to often sit at the center of why patients fail to adhere to their medication – it’s simply too expensive to maintain their treatment regimen.

However, with the right approach and pricing, you can see to it that you’re lighter on your patient’s wallet than the alternative of seeking out their medication at the local pharmacy. Not only does getting medication directly at the point-of-care save time, but it can save money, both in the form of transport to a pharmacy as well as the cost of the medication itself.

While there are cases when physicians cannot compete with prices offered by big box pharmacies – especially when those prices range from ‘free’ to mere cents per pill for plenty of generic medication. However, there are cases where physicians can better serve their patients, in an economic sense, by offering a better deal.

This depends on whom the physician relies on for their medication, as well as how patients are insured. For example, patients without insurance can often get better prices through discounted medication from physicians buying medication wholesale for direct dispensing, versus pharmacies. In most cases, the uninsured pay more. Direct dispensing may be a chance to start paying less.

While the circumstances matter here, deciding to start directly dispensing medication to your patients can often help provide them with yet another option for their medication, which can help fight back against patient non-adherence by giving patients the chance to speak with their physicians about medication costs and figure out the best approach, financially-speaking.

 

Direct Dispensing Saves Time

Pharmacy waiting times, queues, and travel time can all eat up an extensive portion of a patient’s schedule, taking up time better spent elsewhere, at work or with the family. Often enough, patients are made to receive their medication at a pharmacy while sick, further putting their health on the line and that of other people by queueing up in public for their medication.

The freedom to choose to skip past that entire ordeal and receive their medication from their own physician can drastically save time, as well as help many patients avoid a considerable inconvenience.

 

Provides Control Over Patient Education

Pharmacists are trained to go through an extensive education to understand and explain the massive variety of drugs and medications that exist today, helping patients differentiate between brand and generic drugs, explain why certain substances require a prescription and others do not despite similar therapeutic effects, and help them avoid medications that might react negatively, making use of a virtual system to help patients avoid picking up medication that impacts their current treatments.

All this can be life-saving work, but errors can be made, and some patients do not choose to receive a full and extensive education regarding their medication while in line at a crowded pharmacy. It can become difficult to concentrate on the instructions of a pharmacist when there are other people in the room, sick and in a hurry as well.

A physician has the benefit of immediately giving a patient a complete overview of how their medication is meant to function, when it should best be taken, and what considerations should be made. They can help educate the patient on potential side effects and adverse reactions that should be reported back to the doctor, and they can take the time to ensure that there are no other drugs in the patient’s regimen that lead to contraindication.

 

Direct Dispensing Provides Greater Privacy

Some patients are keen on ensuring that their health remains entirely private. They take their confidentiality very seriously. However, it can be hard to keep one’s health private when publicly receiving medication from a pharmacist at a crowded pharmacy. You can’t help but overhear what some people are buying while in line, and that can often be both uncomfortable and concerning.

Direct dispensing ensures perfect privacy. Patients can feel free to listen to their physician and can purchase medication without feeling the pressure to perform their business as quickly as possible, to avoid being overheard by others. Through direct dispensing, they can avoid having to accidentally make public which medication they use, if they choose not to do so.

 

Direct Dispensing Improves Outcomes

The bottom line for patients is that direct dispensing provides them with an option. By choosing to dispense medication at the point-of-care, you are not directly competing with pharmacies, or trying to put them out of business. You are, of course, in the business of treating and caring for patients, within the frame of your specialty/clinic.

Opting to begin direct dispensing gives your patients another option when considering where to purchase their medication – and depending on your own pricing, you can often help patients find a better deal through you, saving them both time and money, and helping them stick to their treatment by making it financially feasible to begin with.

By reducing patient non-adherence and making it much more convenient to get treated, you are saving patient lives, improving patient outcomes.

ProficientRx helps physicians and other healthcare professionals set their practices up for direct dispensing by working with them to provide a variety of brand and generic medication, from OTC to prescription meds, alongside other medical products.

ProficientRx also helps practices and clinics setup their direct dispensing system through an easy-to-use web-based service that helps them keep track of inventory and sales, patient information, and ensure that they stay on top of their patient’s treatment plans and keep them informed and healthy. Utilizing ProficientRx to begin directly dispensing at the point-of-care helps patients and healthcare professionals alike.

Direct Dispensing

What Are the Requirements to Dispense Medication Directly?

Direct dispensing of medication through a physician’s practice has become more popular as of late, but it’s still only being employed by a minority of private practices, urgent care clinics, and hospitals. By and large, the more popular way to provide a patient with their medication is by working with a pharmacist – the patient and the pharmacy receive the prescription, and the patient travels to the pharmacy to pick up their medication.

However, this has its drawbacks. For one, it can be difficult to ascertain patient compliance if you aren’t there to see them receive their medication. While pharmacists are responsible for helping patients better understand how their medicine works or why they might need it, circumstances don’t always allow for a comprehensive explanation. And while pharmacies work hard to ensure patients don’t take conflicting meds, it’s easier to check what your patient is taking when you have a better overview of what medication they’re buying.

Direct dispensing can help patients save plenty of time and energy spent visiting the pharmacy, especially when ill or under strict time-constraints. This furthermore boosts patient adherence, reduces overall waiting time and, as a result, helps improve patient outcomes. Implementing direct dispensing is easy, and quite simple – there are generally few requirements in the way, although these differ from state to state. While some states have serious restrictions in place against direct dispensing, most don’t, and some have none.

 

General Requirements

Any prescribing doctor knows that a DEA registration number is needed to begin prescribing drugs covered by schedules 2, 3, 4, and 5 controlled substances. But to sell these drugs, physicians and other medical professionals must typically get in contact with their state’s regulatory body for pharmacies, or the state’s medical boards, and receive permission.

Some states have no such requirements at all. Other states require a more rigorous approach. Depending on the state, registering to dispense medication at the point of care may cost a fee.

Below are important state-to-state details, as per broad specifications. For a more detailed account of which states feature which restrictions and requirements on the topic of direct dispensing, refer to the Prescribing Drug Abuse Policy System’s data, as well as data compiled in a survey by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

 

Dispensing Regulations from State to State

States can be generally split between having no requirements, few requirements, certain restrictions, and total/near total prohibition. The states that have virtually no requirements or no requirements at all include:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Washington, DC
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho (nurses and physician’s assistants cannot dispense medication)
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio (dispensing doctors must obtain a state license to distribute controlled substances)
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Most other states require registration through a state-specific organization, typically the Board of Pharmacy or the local Medical Board. These are usually very simple one-page forms, and there typically isn’t much keeping a reputable physician from obtaining the means to dispense controlled medication from their own office. States that require registration (and a varying number of requirements) include:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas (requires a permit)
  • Florida (requires a $100 fee and registration)
  • Georgia
  • Indiana (requires a pharmacy permit and a $100 fee, nurses and other listed healthcare professionals may apply)
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland (requires a detailed application, a list of requirements, and a $1,050 fee)
  • Mississippi (strict requirements for distributing scheduled drugs)
  • Nevada (licensing is required, and a $300 fee)
  • New Mexico (limited to repackaged medication)
  • North Carolina (annual fee of $75)
  • North Dakota (permitted with extensive requirements)
  • Oregon ($100 annual fee and registration)
  • Utah (very limited, with license)
  • Virginia (requires paid application, price varies between $180 and $240)

States that largely prohibit, completely prohibit, or prohibit direct dispensing with certain exemptions include:

  • Alaska
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Texas

It is simpler to obtain permission to dispense medication in some states than others. Among prohibited states, exemptions exist for patients who require immediate attention, or to greatly limit the supply physicians can dispense at any given time. There are typically fewer requirements in place for the dispensing of non-controlled substances, such as over-the-counter medication.

These rules are subject to change and can be challenged by local organizations and legal action. While they may be accurate at the time of publishing, you can inquire through a state’s official website, or through their Board of Pharmacy or Medical Board.

 

Implementing Direct Dispensing

The implementation of direct dispensing at a physician’s practice or private clinic is made easy through partnership with a dispensing solutions company, such as ProficientRx.

Sourcing the appropriate volume of medication while tracking patient information can be difficult and presents an additional burden to the practice. ProficientRx handles these tasks seamlessly by providing web-based software to help manage the logistics of dispensing medication directly to patients.

 

Who Benefits from Direct Dispensing? 

While the requirements to begin direct dispensing differ from state to state, and can be limited in some states, it’s worth the initial effort. The benefits of direct dispensing are convenience and safety for patients, and additional revenue for healthcare practices. Additionally, the ability to dispense and provide medication at the point-of-care eliminates the need to have a practice’s staff (or primary physician) on-hold with various pharmacies to place prescriptions, instead providing them with the time to otherwise better serve patients.

ProficientRx utilizes an easy-to-use web-based system to help physicians, hospitals, urgent care clinics and private practices carefully monitor patient information, keep track of dispensed medication, plan follow-ups, and more. ProficientRx works with clients to handle any and all practice sizes, and any medication volume. ProficientRx helps clients dispense all controlled substances (schedules II-V), as well as over-the-counter medication, vitamin supplements, and nutraceuticals. Brand and generic.

This dispense system is free of charge, with practices simply covering the cost of medication. Without any overhead, ProficientRx aims to help clients kickstart their in-office, point-of-care dispensing and help their patients immediately avail of the benefits of a comprehensive and well-structured direct dispensing plan.

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.