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Ancillary Services Medical Urgent Care - Pro Rx

What Ancillary Services Are Best for An Urgent Care?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Medical Ancillary Services Explained

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

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

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

These are discussed in further detail below.

 

Diagnostic Ancillary Services

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

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

 

Therapeutic Ancillary Services

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

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

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

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

 

Custodial Ancillary Services

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

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

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

 

Durable Medical Equipment

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

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

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

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

 

In-Office Dispensing

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

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

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

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

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

 

Conclusion

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

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

Contact Us for Medication Dispensing In-Office - Proficient Rx

Dispensing Medication - Proficient Rx

Dispensing Medication: 7 Tips to Set Up an Efficient Process

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

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

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

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

 

Setting Up an Efficient Process for Dispensing Medication: An Overview

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

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

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

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

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

 

1. Keep the Dispensing Environment in Mind

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

 

2. Pick a Qualified Dispensing Professional

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

 

3. Acquire Proper Labeling and Pill Counters 

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

 

4. Provide Better Medication Counseling 

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

 

5. Prioritize Confidentiality and Privacy 

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

 

6. Leverage Computerized Dispensing Systems 

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

 

7. Periodically Review and Update Dispensing Standards

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

 

How to Begin Direct Dispensing as a Healthcare Provider

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

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

 

Start with Proficient Rx

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

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

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

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

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

Factors in Medication Error

Factors That Increase the Risk of Medication Errors

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

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

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

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

 

Medication Errors Defined

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

 

Drug Name Confusion

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

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

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

 

Labeling

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

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

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

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

 

Dosage

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

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

 

Patient Mix-Up

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

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

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

 

Packaging

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

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

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

 

Patient Confusion

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

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

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

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

 

Prevention Tips

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

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

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

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

 

Direct Physician Dispensing - Proficient Rx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What is Direct Physician Dispensing?

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

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

 

Direct Physician Dispensing Systems, Medication Errors, and Efficiency

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

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

 

Dispensing Systems, Medication Adherence, and Patient Satisfaction

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Direct Physician Dispensing Systems Help Save Time 

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

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

 

The Value Proposition Of Dispensing 

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Us Today for Medication Dispensing Systems - Proficient Rx

Automatic Pill Dispenser Patient Safety - Proficient Rx

Patient Safety With an Automatic Pill Dispenser

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Prevents Pharmacy Errors

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

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

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

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

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

 

Monitor Patient Follow-Through

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

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

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

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

 

Provide Better Education

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

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

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

 

Provide the Cleanest Medications

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

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

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

Cross-contamination can happen at pharmacies.

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

 

Medicines Arrive from Safe Facilities

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

In-House Dispensing Benefits During COVID-19 - Proficient Rx

In-house Dispensing Is More Important Than Ever, Here’s Why

The United States healthcare system has been increasingly overwhelmed in the past year due to COVID-19, making in-house dispensing more important than ever.

With pharmacies and hospitals overwhelmed by long lines, endless phone calls, and the logistics of storing and administering millions of vaccines over the coming weeks, many Americans are rightly worried about the impact such a rollout might have on our healthcare system.

At a time when those most affected by illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease have already been struggling with an incredibly difficult year, the coming few weeks are sure to intensify fears and anxieties around getting safe and reliable care for a myriad of conditions.

In-house dispensing solutions will be more important than ever as a means to help take the pressure off traditional medication suppliers, such as pharmacies and grocery stores, improve medication adherence at a critical juncture in the pandemic, and help protect the most vulnerable and at-risk in our population get the medicine they need. Let’s discuss some of the reasons point-of-care in-office dispensing will play an increasing role in 2021.

 

COVID Scares Can Lead to a Limited Stock

Local flareups in cases may lead to a limited stock of crucial over the counter and prescription medication in pharmacies and grocery stores, leaving some with a drastically reduced supply at home. This is especially dangerous for individuals who rely on a steady supply of prescription medication to manage their disease, including anti-hypertensive drugs, antibiotics, or even SSRIs.

Robust in-house dispensing capabilities allow local physicians to maintain a healthy supply of common over the counter and prescription medication for patients who either cannot risk large crowds during COVID scares or are otherwise disadvantaged and cannot be the first in line to stock up on medication they need to survive, due to long travel times or incapacity.

Assuring your patients that you can help provide them with medication without risking the trip to the next pharmacy or facing potential crowds can also help improve doctor-patient relationships and build a robust reputation within your community for patients who value an often-safer alternative.

 

Pharmacies and Grocery Stores Mean Larger Crowds

Some patients are naturally less inclined to follow medication directives, either due to their illness itself (as is the case in many illnesses with depressive symptoms, or associated stigma), due to distance and other circumstances, or perhaps due to the hassle and time cost.

With the pandemic, these patients have even less of a reason to go out of their way to fulfill a prescription – often to their detriment – especially if they can’t risk getting stuck in line, for medical or scheduling reasons. Helping patients avoid lines and crowds can ultimately help save lives.

While many apothecaries, pharmacies, and grocery stores mandate and enforce social distancing rules and mask wearing, they cannot always control behavior around the premises.

 

In-House Dispensing Is Convenient, Fast and Safe

While some patients are seeking a better alternative given current circumstances, others will benefit from properly implemented in-house dispensing due to its efficiency and potential for improving patient adherence.

A patient is much more likely to stick to their treatment plan when personally advised at the point of care and are given the opportunity to ask further questions they might not feel comfortable asking in a public pharmacy.

The added convenience of providing medication at the point of care can help encourage patients to come back and makes tracking patient adherence and medication use and scheduling follow up appointments much easier, especially through an in-house dispensing software.

If patients experience adverse drug effects as a result of a new prescription or unmentioned counterindication after receiving medication through an in-house dispensing service, they are more likely to contact the physician dispensing company for advice or help than contact an emergency room.

This can not only lead to a lower medical bill down the line but can potentially save both the doctor and patient time, as the dispensing physician may have a much better and immediate idea of what’s going on.

In addition, in-house dispensing services can be simplified and streamlined to make the individualized packaging and printing of labels as easy and fast as possible, meaning almost no additional time spent preparing the medication for each patient, and countless hours saved otherwise calling pharmacies ahead of time to establish availability, double check on unfilled prescriptions, and manually track patient adherence.

Clinics can also leverage simple curbside pickup protocols to ensure maximum safety when preparing and dispensing medication for patients who are most at-risk during the pandemic, further minimizing loss of life and offering a crucial service.

 

Implementing In-House Dispensing Safely and Effectively 

There are different state rules for in-house dispensing. Each state’s board of pharmacy has a different set of policies on the matter. Some states restrict which substances physicians may dispense, what amounts they may be limited to, and under what circumstances these rules may change.

However, only a handful of states outright prohibit in-house dispensing, and with the right partner, you can often leverage the benefits of direct dispensing in your state to:

  • Better serve your patients
  • Reduce their risk of infection
  • Do your part to provide relief for overwhelmed pharmacies and grocery stores.

The trick is finding that right partner. We at Proficient Rx specialize in providing access to individualized and customized brand and generic medication through our state-of-the-art FDA- and DEA-approved repackaging facility, and our free-of-charge web-based direct dispensing software, greatly simplifying inventory management and in-house dispensing logistics.

We offer different medical products and services aimed to help clinics and practices serve their patients throughout the pandemic, including vital PPE and telehealth solutions. At Proficient Rx, we also offer live customer support, answering all your questions and walking you through the minutes-long implementation process for our dispensing software.

Properly implemented in-house dispensing can help save lives and simultaneously equip you with a definitive value proposition.

Contact Us Today for In-Office Dispensing - Proficient Rx

Drug Classification Schedule - ProficientRx

Understanding Drug Classification Schedules

Drug classification schedules are important for ensuring medications are used as directed. Prepackaged medication can help improve patient safety and quality control of controlled substances.

As a physician, you will likely, or have already, prescribed medications that fall under a drug classification schedule. These classification schedules were created by the Government, around 1970, when they realized there was a major drug epidemic going on in the United States.

The Drug Enforcement Administration was tasked with classifying all dangerous drugs into five different schedules.

 

How is a Drug Evaluated for Scheduling?

Evaluating a drug for scheduling is not an easy job. There are many factors that help determine just how dangerous a drug can be and which schedule it should fall under.

One factor focuses on whether the drug has a potential for abuse. Another factor is safety and third, how addictive the drug may be. Finally, they determine if the drug has any medical applications.

Once evaluated, drugs are placed into schedules, starting from 1, or the worst, to schedule 5, the least problematic.

 

Schedule 1 Drug Classification

Schedule 1 drug classification means the drug in question is very dangerous and, in some cases, can be fatal. It means the drug has a high potential for abuse and addiction and it does not have a medical application.

One of the drugs that fall under schedule 1 is marijuana. There are many fighting to take marijuana, or cannabis, out of schedule 1 simply because marijuana is showing that it can be beneficial in treating illnesses.

This is the reason several states have legalized it for medical use. Some have even legalized it for recreational use.

On the federal level, however, it is still considered a schedule 1 substance and if caught with it, can bring considerable consequences.

The drugs that fall under schedule 1, other than marijuana, include heroin, LSD, Peyote, MDMA, GHB, ecstasy, psilocybin, synthetic marijuana, Quaaludes, Khat, and Bath Salts.

Schedule 1 drugs can lead to serious consequences when abused. Aside from fines and jail time, they can do bodily damage and can even be fatal.

 

Schedule 2

Drugs listed in this category are considered to have a high risk for physical and mental dependence, leading to addiction and abuse. Narcotics such as morphine, opium, codeine, and hydrocodone.

Narcotics can be stimulants and relaxants. They all fall under schedule two drug classification. For instance, schedule two stimulants include cocaine, amphetamine and methamphetamine. Non-stimulating narcotics include methadone, hydromorphone, Demerol, oxycodone, oxycontin, and fentanyl.

This classification of drugs can lead to severe addictive tendencies which can lead to respiratory problems and even death.

 

Schedule 3

The potential for abuse and addiction with schedule 3 drugs are less than that of schedule one and two. In fact, schedule 3 chemicals have a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.

Drugs in this classification Xanax, Klonipin and Soma. Also included are valium, Ativan and Restoril. Vicodin is also on this list, if the dose is less than 15 milligrams, and less than 90 milligrams of codeine.

Other drugs associated with schedule 3 classification include anabolic steroids, testosterone and ketamine.

With this schedule, dosage becomes a determinant. The lower the dose, the less damage it can do.

 

Schedule 4

Schedule 4 drugs are not considered as dangerous, with less potential for physical and psychological dependence. While these drugs can also appear in other schedules, the dosage provides the difference as to why some are more harmful than others.

All the schedule 4 drugs are at the lowest doses. The drugs are Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin and Ambien.

The legal penalties are much smaller than the higher scheduled drug classifications but can still include both jail time and hefty fines, if someone is caught having them illegally in their possession.

 

Schedule 5

Drugs in this classification have very limited amounts of narcotics and are typically used for preparations of medicines to address issues such as analgesic purposes.

Drugs such as anti-diarrheal, anti-tussive and minor pain medicines are examples. Specifically, cough medicines with less than 200 milligrams of codeine, Lomotil, Lyrica, moto fen, and parapectolin.

Abuse of these medicines can still occur and can lead to legal problems. However, the potential for physical or psychological dependence is extremely low.

 

Dispensing Controlled Substances

You can dispense schedule II through V class of drugs only and you must follow all Drug Enforcement Administration rules strictly.

Each schedule of drugs has specific and detailed prescription filling regulations.

A schedule II drugs classification include morphine and amphetamines. Physicians cannot fax or email prescriptions. Schedule II prescriptions are only valid for 90 days. They cannot be refilled and are limited to a 30-day supply.

Schedule III drugs are valid for 180 days or up to five refills. A maximum of 30-day supply. This class of drugs can be faxed but not emailed.

Schedule IV and V drugs can be faxed and given orally. You may dispense up to a 90-day supply for drugs that fall under this category. These are also valid for 180 days or up to five refills.

Repackaged medicines are the best way to dispense controlled substances to your patients. Repackaging of narcotics and other controlled substances has very strict quality control processes. Controlled substances are coded and labeled. Meaning, they are traceable all the way back to the manufacturer.

This provides you and your patients with the reassurance that if a medication is stolen or misused, it can be tracked to verify where the medicine originated and for whom or what it was intended.

Because of the many quality control processes of repackaging facilities, you can feel confident prescribing repackaged medication to your patients because they go above and beyond ordinary standards.

Governments have established programs called the prescription drug monitoring program to help physicians verify whether or not a patient has been listed as an abuser of certain drugs. This monitoring system has been a terrific way to prevent patients from doctor shopping.

If you want to dispense controlled substances, there are many rules and regulations you must follow. But providing this type of service to your patients is well worth the efforts needed to implement the program.

 

Physician Medication for Patients - Proficient Rx

7 Benefits of Physician Medication Packaging

Physician medication packaging services buy medication in bulk from pharmaceutical companies, and then repackage it to accommodate individual practices, urgent care clinics, worker compensation clinics, and other healthcare providers. 

These repackaged medications cater to the per-patient needs of each respective healthcare provider by providing much greater safety, accuracy, drug efficacy, and trackability than standard packaging.

At Proficient Rx, we offer state-of-the-art packaging, labeling and  bottling capabilities, with custom-built production software for faster turnaround times on urgent offers, and a wide variety of packaging options, the latest in automated tablet-counting technology, and precision labeling.

 

Why Medication Repackaging is Becoming the Norm 

As healthcare costs rise and patients continue to demand better customer experiences from their healthcare providers, both cost efficiency and convenience are becoming top priorities for many practices – at no cost to quality. This is an incredibly tall order, and medication repackaging services play a central role in fulfilling it.

These services not only simplify the process of individualizing medication orders through fully-automated and semi-automated sorting and bottling, but through the production of convenience kits, through informative and individualized point-of-care label printing, inventory and patient management software, as well as repackaging practices designed to maximize the longevity and efficacy of medication to reduce the drug waste that occurs in bulk sale and storage.

On the patient level, individualized packaging helps greatly improve treatment adherence  and enable point-of-care dispensing (alongside better medication instructions), makes it easier to track individual kits and maintain a clear overview of drug inventory, and cuts out a lot of time spent prepping dosages and counting pills for kits.

 

Physician Medication Packaging Reduces Drug Waste 

Excessive drug waste is a serious problem. Unused medication can lose its efficacy and be disposed improperly by patients, opening the door to abuse, accidental poisonings, and a massive impact on the environment – and in turn, the ecology of our cities and regions.

Drugs commonly disposed through sewage or household waste can pose a threat because of common medication such as painkillers and antibiotics on plants and animals, and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Another important step to reducing the impact of improper drug disposal is through drug take-back programs and physician-based drug collection kiosks.

Furthermore, drug waste presents a serious economic issue, as it often means pharmacies and physicians end up stocking more than they can sell, and taking steps to reduce drug waste by ensuring that physicians gain access to repackaged medication that properly reflects patient demand can help physicians greatly reduce the costs associated with unused medication, and proper medication disposal.

 

Medication Packaging Minimizes Prep Time

By referring to medication packaging services, physicians and practices can reduce the time usually needed to prepare patient doses, allowing practice staff to focus on better processing patients and further reducing wait times.

Being time efficient is a huge boon in the healthcare provider industry, as patients prefer shorter wait times and value healthcare providers that spend a greater amount of time on improving their customer service.

 

Medication Packaging Reduces Dispensing Errors

Medication packaging services utilize state-of-the-art semi-automated and fully automated processes to count and package medication, leaving no room for human error.

Dispensing errors are fortunately rare but can be devastating when they do occur. An automated system ensures that physicians can concentrate on providing the best care possible while leaving the system to package and provide the right medication in a sterile and safe environment and print the appropriate label in-office.

 

Physician Medication Packaging Helps Organize Inventories

By collaborating with a medication packaging service, physicians can better track their purchases and sales, keep an updated overview of their inventory, easily and automatically schedule restocking.

 

Medication Repackaging Makes It Easier to Track Controlled Substances

The safe disposal of controlled substances after expiration is crucial. Repackaged medication is carefully tracked and labeled with a corresponding code to verify a patient’s prescription and can be safely disposed of at the same place it’s repackaged.

 

Repackaged Medication Remains Viable, Sanitary, and Safe Longer

Prepackaged medication is prepared in a sterile environment in packaging specially sealed to maximize longevity and ensure that drugs remain viable for as long as possible, taking into account light exposure, moisture, vapors, and sealant compatibility.

Different drugs require different packaging to ensure viability, and Proficient Rx utilizes state-of-the-art technology to automate the repackaging process and eliminate the risk of contamination or spoilage. Repackaged medication is often better sealed and contained than the original packaging from the drug manufacturer. This further helps reduce drug waste by ensuring that individual packaged medications last longer.

 

Physician Medication Packaging Improves Patient Convenience 

Patient convenience is an important metric for a healthcare provider’s success. While a physician should never sacrifice quality of care, surveys show that most patients care more about convenience. Leveraging this by providing both better care and more convenience and put you at a great advantage vis-à-vis the competition.

Patient-specific physician medication packaging improves patient convenience by providing tailored prepackaged kits corresponding with a patient’s needs, through in-office dispensing – meaning patients get the medication they need without paying for pills they won’t use, and without the inconvenience of visiting a pharmacy for their medication instead.

Proficient Rx specializes in repackaging medication and providing direct dispensing solutions to urgent care practices, workers compensation clinics, and other healthcare providers.

Our in-office dispensing software is web-based, secure, and HIPAA-compliant, enabling physicians to expand their telehealth services and provide their patients with the benefits of point-of-care dispensing via in-office label printing, easy and intuitive drug inventory management, and medication tracking, all through a program that can be interfaced through any secure office computer without a lengthy installation process.

Our repackaging and labeling services are in strict compliance with FDA and cGMP regulations, and we are licensed to handle Schedule II-V controlled substances. We also help our clients manage, track, and dispose of controlled substances that have lost their efficacy safely, and provide a variety of prepackaged kits (including injection kits, DNA kits, and more).

Contact us today to find out how our medication packaging and dispensing services can help your practice improve patient convenience, while bolstering your revenue.

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Medication Reconciliation - Proficient Rx

3 Examples of Medication Reconciliation Best Practices

Medication reconciliation is an important aspect of managing a medical facility. These 3 best practices can help improve efficiency of your office.

Every doctor’s office, hospital and medical facility knows, or should know, the importance of medication reconciliation in preventing adverse drug events. There is a lot that has been said and that continues to be said about the issue, but a lot of it lacks actionable advice. To that end, here are three best practices that could benefit your office.

1. Doctor and Patient Medication Reviews

Medication reviews should be a must once a year, especially with older patients, but does not happen in many places. Office managers or lead doctors should figure out ways to establish reviews that work best with their office/system. For example, is there already an official patient safety program in place that could incorporate medication reviews? What percentage of patients is tech savvy and uses email?

A mailing (or email) can go to patients’ homes with paperwork on medication for patients to bring to the next visit. It would basically comprise a list of medications, including vitamins and supplements, dosages, and so on. This approach bestows the gift of time so that patients (and/or their caregivers) are able to think and make adjustments for a few days rather than answer unexpected questions during a doctor’s appointment. It is a gift of time for busy doctors as well.

Another factor to consider is when to do the reviews. If they are at least once a year, should the general office practice be to do them every five patient visits? After every hospitalization? Should the office encourage annual physicals that include medication reviews?

Information to discuss during the reviews (and on pre-meeting mailings) needs to include:

  • A list and review of everything, with vitamins and supplements included
  • Frequency of each dosage
  • Methods of taking the medications (orally, etc.)
  • The dosage amounts
  • A discussion and printout of potential side effects and behavioral changes

Accuracy matters a lot in the answers, which is why all correspondence and discussion should explain the rationale behind the review. Statements such as, “Honesty is important here. If you haven’t been taking your medication as often as you should, or you’ve been taking it too often, please let me know. You would be far from alone, and I just want to make sure we are on the same page. No judgments.”

Offices should also have a system to track how their efforts are going. For instance, if the first-year goal is to have 35 percent of patients undergo review meetings, how many did occur? What was the patient feedback on these? Are there particular doctors who tend to skip the meetings, and what can be done to address that?

2. Medication Tracking Systems

When patients get hospitalized, are prescribed new medications and released, their primary care physicians may not always know. Likewise, upon hospitalization, a patient may not be able to immediately (or at all) supply a list of medications, method of administration, dosages and so on.

One solution to medication reconciliation is a proactive medication tracking system. Doctors’ offices can make them standard, for example, by giving patients a basic form to keep in their medical records and that they take to all appointments, meetings, hospitalizations and so on. For younger patients, an app may be easier—or even a simple email file (or file on the cloud) that lets patients make and track changes right from their smartphones. Depending on the level of tech, it is also possible for the system to sync with the doctor’s office. The tracking system should have space for a patient to note how he or she felt after a dosage change or medication change.

3. In-Office Medication System

Many medication errors—and medication reconciliation errors—occur because too many people get involved in a case. An in-office medication dispensing system enables you to dispense medication inside your office so patients don’t have to head to the pharmacy. Proficient RX offers an in-office dispensing service for a wide spectrum of medications, including antihistamines, NSAIDs, antibiotics, injectables, anti-anxiety, and muscle relaxants.

Your office gets another point of contact with the patient to increase convenience and reduce errors. Nothing gets lost in translation from the doctor to the pharmacist, and it is even possible that many of your patients would be getting all of their medications from you. All of the information would be on file.

With people living longer and babies surviving (and thriving) like they never could before, medication upon medication is a fact of life for many Americans. Medication reconciliation is even more important, and every doctor’s office should have a process for it.

Learn More about our in office dispensing services or contact us today to determine how we can best meet your needs!

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Physician Dispensing Company - Proficient Rx

What to Look for In A Physician Dispensing Company

There are many benefits to partnering with a physician dispensing company, but what should you look for in these companies? How do you know which company is right for you?

Physician dispensing or in-office dispensing can be a boon to patient satisfaction and a clinic’s growth and revenue, representing both a useful marketing tool for capturing the interest of patients who would rather avoid making additional trips to the pharmacy, and a way to improve patient-physician relationships and greatly impact the concerning issue of medication adherence.

Figuring out what your practice might need to get started as soon as possible can be a complicated process all on its own. Then there’s the trouble of sourcing and regularly stocking medication, printing labels, tracking patient prescriptions and follow-up information, and doing it all in a way that’s both safe and compliant with state and federal law.

This is where physician dispensing companies become an invaluable resource for any healthcare provider considering direct dispensing. A reputable and experienced medication dispensing company will work you through the steps locally required to begin dispensing at the point-of-care, help you determine what medication to stock, and often outfit your practice with a software solution for tracking inventory, sales, and more.

 

Why Bother with Physician Dispensing? 

Doctor dispensing is a particularly valuable service during a pandemic, as it helps healthcare providers minimize patient risk by helping them source their medication in the same spot where they receive their care, and by providing an alternative to the pharmacy for refilling prescriptions.

Even outside of the context of an ongoing public health crisis, doctor dispensing has a marked effect on both patient adherence and patient satisfaction, two metrics that can greatly improve a practice’s reputation and save patient lives.

While regularly stocking and managing an inventory of medications might seem like a substantial drain on practice time and resources, it doesn’t have to be with the right partner. Through repackaged medication and smart pricing, most practices can make a humble profit while offering a service that is both a benefit to the practice and its patients, and it’s neither costly nor time-consuming to implement.

 

Finding the Right Physician Dispensing Company to Partner With

When setting up in-office dispensing, you will want the following qualities in any potential partner:

 

1. Responsive, User-Friendly, and Intuitive Software

When working with a physician dispensing company, it’s important that you have a reliable, intuitive, and automated way to order, manage, track, and dispense your inventory.

Good dispensing software will automate as much of the process as possible, minimizing human errors by:

    • Ensuring that every prescription is tracked and accounted for
    • Organizing and keeping records automatically
    • Making it easier for physicians to go over their patient information and schedule follow-ups with patients to improve medication adherence and provide another opportunity for patient education
    • Quickly retrieve summaries of their patients’ respective prescription and medication histories

 

2. Web-Based and Secure Service

Your doctor dispensing company should be utilizing web-based systems. Web-based dispensing systems don’t require tedious installation, are easily scalable across platforms and devices, and are much easier to integrate with other systems. These systems remove a lot of maintenance headaches and completely eliminate the need to regularly download and install updates or patches (as these are rolled out automatically). Because of this, they take a lot of the hassle out of utilizing a software service by simplifying the implementation process as much as possible.

Security is also important, especially when handling sensitive information like medical data. Web-based systems will store information online, keeping it safe and encrypted while letting healthcare providers easily manage, order, and track medication in just a few clicks, without ever having to download anything.

 

3. Swift and Effective Live Customer Support

With critical services like medication dispensing and HIPAA-compliant high-quality telehealth, having access to reliable customer support is essential. You want a partner with a reputation for helping clients sort issues out before they evolve into greater problems, and help with every important step towards full implementation; from employee training to basic troubleshooting.

Furthermore, each state’s Board of Pharmacy may have different regulations and requirements surrounding direct dispensing, and these may change. Keeping up to date on changes and new requirements important.

 

4. A Stellar Reputation

Reputation is important when picking a physician dispensing company to partner with. Dispensing prepackaged medication can be a great ancillary revenue stream for any private practice, but you want a partner with a stellar reputation and a history of providing top-quality services to healthcare providers.

Currently, only a fraction of healthcare providers and practices are leveraging these services to their benefit. Picking up on the trend early can help you distinguish yourself from other healthcare providers and grow your patient base.

At Proficient Rx, our top priorities are patient convenience and affordability while ensuring full compliance. We find that helping our clients cater to these points not only provides a substantial boost in satisfaction and reputation, but allows for a steady stream of additional revenue, and positively impacts patient-physician relationships.

Our simple in-office dispensing software is web-based and intuitive, allowing healthcare providers to immediately take advantage of the benefits of point-of-care dispensing without a lengthy course or installation process.

We also offer extensive and live support to address any questions as fast as possible, and help you keep your inventory stocked. Through our FDA– and DEA-approved repackaged brand and generic medication, we aim to serve the needs of nearly any healthcare provider, especially urgent care clinics, worker’s comp clinics, private practices, and on-site employee health services. Contact us to learn more about how your clinic could leverage physician dispensing to improve patient satisfaction.

 

Contact Us Today for Direct Dispensing and Telehealth Services - Proficient Rx