Category Archives: Blog

Educate Patients About Drug Interactions

How to Best Educate Your Patients About Drug Interactions

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

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

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

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

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

 

Educate Yourself

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

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

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

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

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

 

Teach Your Patients

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

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

 

Provide Patients with Correct Labels

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

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

 

Provide Appropriate Printed Information

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

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

And what about your patients who cannot read?

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

 

Follow-Up with Your Patients

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Dispensing Right For Your Urgent Care

Is Dispensing Right for Your Urgent Care?

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

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

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

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

Below are some factors to consider when making your decision.

 

How Much Does It Cost to Start?

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

This investment offers you an exceptional return on your investment.

 

What is the Return on Investment?

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

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

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

Plus, it truly helps your patients.

 

How Does it Help Your Patients?

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

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

Patients are just as busy as you are. This convenience will make the more satisfied and more loyal. It can also make your staff happier.

 

How Does it Help Your Staff?

In-office dispensing programs streamline work for your urgent care staff and make their jobs easier. The software provided connects your billing staff directly with insurance companies. Meaning, all they must do is click the send button on the computer to send a patient claim for reimbursement.

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

Inventory, refills, patient reminders, scheduling and more are all done automatically, through the dispensing software. Even the labeling of medications comes pre-designed so that all your staff must do is enter the patient information one time. All other times they click print and adhere the label to the medication container.

 

How Does it Help You?

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

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

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

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

 

What is Involved in the Implementation?

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

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

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

 

Are You Limited on Which Medications You Can Prescribe?

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

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

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

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

 

Where Do You Start?

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

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

Keeping Medical Staff Happy

The Key to Keeping Medical Staff Happy

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

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

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

 

Make Them Feel Appreciated

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

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

 

Give Them Updated Equipment

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

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

This will make all your staff very happy.

 

Provide Fun

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

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

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

 

Streamline Staff Duties

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

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

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

 

Individualize Benefits

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

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

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

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

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

 

Invest in Your Staff

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

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

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

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

 

Spend Time with Your Staff

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

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

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

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

Improving Medication Quality Control Through Repackaging

Maintaining Quality Control in Re-Packaged Medications

Repackaged medicines are pills, liquids, powders or any other type of medicine that has been transported from a packaging facility to a repackaging facility. Once received, the repackaging staff will remove the medicine from its original packaging and sort the medicine into a safer, more quality controlled packaging.

The goal of repackaging is to increase the safety of medications before they are delivered to patients. This allows you to have more confidence in the medicine you prescribe. It also further protects you and your patients from medication errors that could lead to damage to patients and lawsuits for you.

Let’s take a closer look at what it means for the repackaging company to have strict quality control. Then we can look at what you can do to maintain that level of quality control in your practice.

 

Quality Control Defined

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

Both manufacturers and packagers take extra steps to maintain this quality with each drug, making consistency a reality within a drug class.

Quality control involves all the actions a company takes to make sure medicines are pure, safe and compliant with all laws and regulations.

 

Quality Control at the Repackaging Facility

Repackaged medications undergo quality control processes that prevent counterfeiting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

 

FDA Requirements for Quality Control

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) sets forth Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) that all laboratories must follow to ensure safety when dealing with pharmaceuticals. These are the minimum requirements to pass inspection.

Equipment refers to any instrument used in the manufacturing of a drug product. This can include computers, processors, sorters and anything else in which the drug comes in contact. Every single piece of equipment must be inspected to ensure consumer safety.

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.

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

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

 

What You Should Do

With both unit-dosing and multiple-dosing packaging, regulations must be met before distributed to you or your patients.

The containers used must be damage free, even from minor damages that consumers may not even notice.  Containers must maintain protection from light that can reduce the effectiveness of medicine. It must also protect from temperature damage when stored correctly.

Make sure containers keep the medicine dry, stay sealed, yet also be easy to open by the patient.

Ensure containers have specific labeling information. The label must state accurate drug names, dosage, instructions, and who to contact in case of emergency. The manufacturer information should also be included.

You should place additional information to include your practice contact information, date of dispensing and any other warnings for the client.

Keeping good records is required. Records must include the date of repackaging, prescription name, physician who will be dispensing the medicine, and drug name. The strength of the drug must be listed, as well as the quantity.

The software used in repackaging must constantly be modernized to create the most efficient processes.

All parts of the production process must be set up to offer the fastest times with computerized controls that are developed to count tablets, sort, package, seal and label.

Everything is not about computers, software and equipment. The staff that are present, must abide by strict regulations too.

Personnel must undergo training, environmental safety and what to do in case of accidents or contamination issues. They must know how to keep the room clean with the implementation of steps established to avoid contamination, from changing air filters to monitoring air flow.

 

Where to Go for Help

Partnering with an in-office dispensing company is best. Trying to maintain quality control on your own can be difficult. And who would you turn to when you have questions or concerns?

Dispensing companies not only ensure you remain compliant, they can also connect you with the best repackaging company. They can also provide you with the most modern software technology and offer tech support around the clock.

They make it easy for you to provide quality controlled repackaged medicine to your patients, without the fear of errors.

 

What Patients Look for In A Medical Practice

What Do Patients Look for in a Medical Practice?

When patients seek your help, they have expectations about how their visit will go. Their expectations are set by previous experiences, what others are saying about you, and what you say about yourself through marketing.

You may think the cost of your visit is what drives patients to see you. But this is not the case for many. Patients are willing to pay more for a doctor who meets all their needs and expectations.

Therefore, you must start thinking more about your patients’ experiences while at your office and less about the things that don’t matter as much.

Learning what your patients are looking for will help you improve your medical practice. Below are a few of the things patients want to experience when they visit your office.

 

Patients Want to Feel Important

Everyone wants to feel important, especially patients when they are coming to you during a vulnerable time. They feel their issue is important because it is happening to them, in real time. You and your staff should feel the same way.

Even if you know your patient’s issue is less urgent than someone else’s, you need to avoid devaluing their reason for seeking treatment.

From the moment they walk in the door, to the time they exit, patients want to feel like you care about them, and that you appreciate them choosing you as their doctor.

 

Patients Want You to Be Human

You make mistakes. You are human. Show that side of you to your patients so than can know you are transparent and not trying to come across as the expert who never falters.

Patients will trust you a lot more if you can admit when you do wrong or when you don’t know the answer to something. If you tell them you will find the answer, they will remain happy. Patients would much rather wait on a good answer than be given a misdiagnosis or treatment that doesn’t work because it was based on your guess.

Admit when you are wrong or when you don’t have an answer. Be honest with your patients. Avoid making your patients feel as if they are being duped. In doing so, you can avoid a lot of anger and even legal issues.

 

Patients Want You to Actively Listen

Do you enter an office visit, keep you head in a patient’s chart or in a computer typing notes throughout their visit? If so, stop. These actions show your patient you are just trying to rush through their appointment and that you don’t really care about what they are saying.

To actively listen to your patients, sit down next to them. Look them in the eye and pay attention. Use reflection to show you hear what they are saying. Take notes after the visit. You can schedule in extra time between appointments to type notes.

Spend more than ten minutes with a patient. The time you spend with them reflects how interested you are in them. Patients notice this and will eventually leave your practice.

 

Patients Want Convenience

Patients are busy, just as you are. They have families and jobs, both of which they left to make a trip to your office for help. You have no idea the stress your patients are under.

Providing patients with conveniences such as in-office dispensing increases patient satisfaction and loyalty to your practice.

Dispensing medications and durable medical equipment are two of the conveniences your patients will appreciate. It saves them time and money, and their health outcomes will improve.

They can leave your office with a filled prescription and return to their busy lives without the need to travel and wait at a pharmacy. This convenience makes patients very happy.

 

Patients Want You to Provide Ancillary Services

Patients want you to be a one-stop-shop.  While they know you cannot deliver all the services they need, the more you can offer the better.

Ancillary services are a great way to increase your revenue, even tripling it in some cases with minimal efforts on your end. These can include in-office dispensing, laboratory testing, urgent care, and even diagnostic imaging.

With these services, your patients are given extra time to get back to their many other responsibilities, and less time in waiting rooms.

 

Patients Want Respect

It’s likely you do not know much about your patients. Some are uneducated, while others have Ph.Ds. Some show up disheveled and some show up neatly dressed. Some patients speak English and others don’t. Do you treat them the same?

Every patient you see should be given equal amounts of time, care and respect.

Respect starts in the waiting room. Patients don’t mind waiting longer if they are treated with respect. Have a staff member wait on them in the waiting room. Get them a blanket if they are cold. Get them a drink if they are thirsty.

Meeting their basic needs is much more appreciated by patients than getting in and out of your office in under a half hour.

Communicating with patients is another way to show respect. Frequently update them on their wait time, explain delays, and have staff “check on them” often. This shows respect and caring, and patients will be appreciative.

 

Patients Want to Be Educated

Your patients want to know everything you can teach them about their condition. They want you to provide this education because you are the expert in their minds. They believe what you say. They trust you and will follow your orders completely if you explain them in detail.

Patients are more likely to follow through with medication and treatment plans if you explain to them the advantages and disadvantages of following a plan.

In conclusion, without your patients, you would have no practice. So why not give your patients what they are looking for, so you never have to worry about losing patients. Give them respect, convenience, comfortable environments, education and value.

The more your office is patient-centered, the better results you will see.

Increasing Patient Safety from Medication Mistakes

Increasing Patient Safety from Medication Mistakes

There are many horror stories involving patients making errors when taking their medications. In fact, medication errors are becoming more common today.

Pharmacists are making their own set of errors when filling a prescription. Drugs that look alike but have completely different effects have been accidentally given to patients. Cross-contamination due to unclean compounding areas exist.

Pharmacists have even given the wrong medication to the wrong patient. Maybe they had similar names, maybe they didn’t. These accidents are happening.

Aside from pharmacist mistakes, patients are making their own errors. These are errors that are preventable. With just a small amount of education, patients could have better control over their medicine intake and make fewer errors, potentially saving their lives.

 

Medication Errors Made by Patients

You may think your patients hear everything you say during your office visit. You may think they will read the label on the prescription bottle before taking their medicine. You may even think patients will automatically connect new symptoms to a medication interaction or side effect.

You are wrong.

Patients are often nervous and feel rushed during your visit with them. This prevents them from asking questions regarding their prescription. They may even feel shame for not understanding your instructions the first time.

When they go to the pharmacist to pick up a prescription, they feel even less comfortable asking for guidance. Instead, they are focused on not angering the line of people behind them, also waiting for a prescription.

So, they deny the opportunity to talk with a pharmacist, grab their medication, and head home. While literature is often stapled to the outside of the prescription bag, it is rare that patients read this information.

Some of your patients are not good readers to begin with. Some do not understand the clinical language used in the brochures. Some just don’t want to read it.

All of this leads to patient errors when taking medication. Some miss doses and some take too many doses. Some do not store their medication properly. They forget to refrigerate liquid medicines, or they keep their pills in their car which has a temperature over 100 degrees in the summer.

Any such errors can affect how well the medication will work. Meaning, a patient’s health will not improve if they are not taking the medication the right way.

Many of these errors can be avoided with a few simple actions.

Keep reading to learn ways to increase patient safety by avoiding medication mistakes.

 

Educate Patients

Educating your patients is one of the top ways to help them prevent having a medication error. It only takes you a few extra minutes to explain a prescription to your patients. This few minutes could save them from a life-threatening event.

Educating your patients does not mean teaching a class for a semester and grading them on their abilities to adapt.

Educating means taking an extra ten minutes at the time of the office visit to provide your patient with correct information on taking medication. It means you teach your patients about positive and negative side effects they may experience, what to do if they have negative side effects, potential drug interactions and who to call in case of emergency.

Educating patients also means you discuss medication storage, expiration dates, refills, overdosing, under-dosing, when to take medication, how to take it, and even medication tracking.

 

Consider In-Office Dispensing

Dispensing medicine from the point of care offers so many benefits to the patient, including increasing patient safety and avoiding medication errors.

In-office dispensing means you are the pharmacist. You prescribe and fill a patient’s medicine in your office, and they leave with a filled prescription. Not only does this cut out the pharmacy, where mistakes are made daily, but it allows you more time with your patients.

You have more control over how your patients are following your treatment plan. In-office dispensing programs come equipped with many safety measures.

 

Choose the Right Medication Packaging

The safest way to give a patient a prescription is when the medication is separated and individually packaged, so each day the patient will punch out the pill to be taken. If the pill has already been taken for the day, the patient will easily see this because the pouch will be empty.

There is no guessing and taking too many or too few pills in one day is eliminated.

Blister packs are a popular packaging used with in-office dispensing. They have shown to offer great benefits and patient satisfaction, as well as preventing errors.

Packaging like this comes with proper labeling.

 

Provide Better Labeling

There is a lot of information that needs to go on such a small package. Getting the right information on the label is imperative to helping patients avoid medication mistakes.

Labels should include your contact information, expiration and refill dates, and specific instructions. Labels should not state, “take twice daily”. This can be too general, and patients may take too pills at once.

Instead, it could read, “Take one pill at breakfast with food and take one pill at night right before you go to bed.”  The more details you can give your patients, the safer they will be.

 

Follow-Up with Your Patients Often

Many doctors will see a patient, prescribe a new medicine and won’t see them again for a month or even six months. A lot can happen during this time apart, especially with medication.

Follow-up with your patients within a week of starting them on a new medicine. Have one of your staff contact them and question them on any new symptoms they are experiencing, whether they have seen improvements, had interactions, and are still taking the medicine as prescribed.

Sometimes patients quit taking their medicine altogether when they don’t understand it. By following up with them, you can help patients stay on track with their treatment plan goals.

Ultimately, your goal is to improve the life of your patients the best you can. Increasing their safety from medication mistakes is one way you can reach this goal.

 

Inviting Medical Office & Practice

What Makes for an Inviting Office or Medical Practice?

Your office and medical practice can be part of a decision made by patients as to whether they want to choose you as their physician.

There are many factors your patients are considering when they visit your office. Any one of these factors can make a patient feel uncomfortable, or comfortable. Your goal is to maintain patient loyalty.

Patient loyalty can offer you benefits. One, you can treat the patient long-term, developing a healthy relationship, giving you inclusive insight into their health so you can properly treat them. This allows you to help them reap the benefits of a good treatment plan and improved outcomes.

Two, patient loyalty offers you consistent revenue. You do not have to market your services as often because satisfied patients will keep you as their physician, and they will spread the word about your fantastic service.

One major way to achieve this level of patient loyalty is to have an inviting office and overall positive experience while in your medical practice. Below are steps you can take to create this type of environment.

 

Cleanliness

Patients visit your office for treatment, knowing they may encounter other sick people. What they don’t want to see is a sick environment. The cleaner the rooms, the better. Patients want to feel as if every room, from the waiting room to the exam room, is sterile.

One way to maintain cleanliness in your office is to create a frequent schedule of checking every room and fixing any problems immediately when necessary. Allow patients to see how you are providing sanitary spaces. They will appreciate your efforts.

 

Room Design

If your office is decorated with outdated décor, patients will not be impressed. They may think if you don’t care enough about updating your furniture and wall décor, you may not care about providing them with the highest quality of services.

Televisions, check-in stations, posters, information pamphlets, and even furniture should be modern, in great working condition, and attractive.

Promote positive health so your patients can feel as if their outcomes will improve.

 

Room Layout and Provisions

Patients want to feel comfortable while waiting for your visit. In the waiting room, don’t place a kid’s play area next to adults who are sick. Have a separate area in the room where parents can take their children and avoid disturbing those who are ill.

Separate sick and well check patients. Provide free coffee or water. Have recent magazines available. If using a television, make sure the channels are positive and make the patients feel happy. Don’t play network news stations who only offer negative stories.

Keep a monitor that shows an estimated time of when the patient will be seen. Provide them with the basic information and they can avoid interrupting your staff for answers.

 

Streamline Your Staff

The more streamlined your office, the more comfortable your patients. Using software, like that used by in-office dispensing physicians, are created to help streamline all activities of your staff.

Happy staff equals happy patients. Your front-office staff are the first representatives of your practice seen by patients. If that first impression is negative, it is less likely the patient will return. Furthermore, they may even spread the word that your staff caused a negative experience for them.

This can be avoided by implementing software that can make work easier for your staff. From medical billing to appointment setting to reminder calls, the software can do it all.

 

Make Your Patients Feel Special

Making patients feel special is one of the easiest things to do. Simply acknowledge their presence, know their names, and show an interest. Don’t treat them like they are just another dollar earned for you.

Hire a liaison who can communicate with patients from the time they walk in the door to when they leave. The liaison can direct them to the right check-in spot, serve them coffee or water, and keep them informed of wait times. And because some patients are extremely nervous when waiting in your office, a liaison can sit with them and distract them from their anxiety.

Furthermore, liaisons can help patients complete necessary paperwork so your front-office staff can prepare the patient file you desire.

 

Show Empathy

Patients want to feel as if you truly care about them. Unfortunately, most patients feel like their doctors do not care. This is because most physicians only spend a few minutes with patients.

Patients have feelings. When you treat them in less than ten minutes, they feel as if you did not take the time to hear them or treat them properly.

Patients are nervous when they visit you. They are scared that their issue will not be resolved, that they will forget to ask the right questions due to having limited time with you, and that they will leave your office feeling worse than when they arrived.

You can change this by slowing down and spending quality time with patients. Find ways to ease your patients’ nerves. When you do not appear rushed, they will not feel rushed. Look up from your computer or clipboard and look into your patients’ eyes.

This will make your patients feel you care.

In conclusion, to make your office more inviting, avoid treating your patients like they are part of a herd. Make them feel special by engaging with them personally. Your patients are the only reason you have a job. It is important to make them feel valued.

An inviting environment starts from the moment the patient opens the doors to your office and does not end until they have checked out with your staff and left the building.

Become a patient for a day. Walk in their shoes through every room and every process within your medical practice. Take note of the things that need improvement and then follow through with them.

Most importantly, provide services to satisfy patients that provide convenience, safety and higher health outcomes. Services like in-office dispensing, which offer many benefits at each stage of the patient visit.

In Office dispensing Education

How In-Office Dispensing Allows You to Educate Patients on Drug Interactions

Drug interactions happen daily across the United States.

An interaction can happen in many ways. The pharmacist may mistake the doctor’s prescription for a drug that sounds or looks like the one being prescribed. Pharmacists have also been known to accidentally cross-contaminate medications, especially when the compounding table is not as clean as it should be.

Interactions can also happen when patients make the errors. For instance, some patients may take a double dose of their medicine in one day simply because they could not remember if they had already taken a dose.

Or, patients may skip doses for the same reason. Patients can also confuse drugs that sound and look alike.

In-office dispensing prevents many dangerous drug interactions. One of the main ways is because it allows you to educate your patients. Below are some of the ways you can spend time educating patients on their medications.

 

Education at the Time of Appointment

If you are dispensing at the point of care, you can spend more quality time with patients. During their medical visit, when you decide to prescribe a medication or change a prescription, you can explain your actions right then.

Even ten more minutes spent educating a patient gives you enough time to explain to them why you are prescribing, what you are prescribing, what it looks like, what the medicine will do to the body and their ailment, what side effects to expect and of course, how to avoid interactions.

 

Education When Filling and Dispensing the Medication

Before patients leave your office, they will see you or your staff one last time, to pick up their prescribed medication. It is at this time they can ask additional questions about their medication. Asking questions is not something they do at a pharmacy.

Pharmacies provide a cold and less than private environment. Confidentiality is compromised and patients are already tired of waiting for their prescription to be filled, which can take an hour or more at some pharmacies.

Your staff can educate patients about medication instructions, uses, interactions and what to do if they experience any trouble with the drugs. Reviewing this information with patients is extremely important. Many find it difficult to take in all your information during a single visit.

Patients know you are rushed, and they are often too nervous to ask lengthy questions. Too many times, patients leave your office confused, leading to errors in how they take their medications and potential drug interactions.

 

Literature Given with Medication

It is always best to educate patients using multiple formats. You have already verbally educated them, your staff has followed up with them, and now you can give them paper materials that clearly define the medicine you have prescribed.

This type of literature should be attached to the packaging that holds the medicine you prescribe.

In-office dispensing programs are equipped with computer software programs that automatically print this literature for you when you fill a prescription. The information is pre-formatted into the software program by its creators.

All you must do is press print and the literature is ready to distribute to patients. Printed materials will educate patients on everything from potential side effects, expected benefits, when and how to consume the drug, to the chemical makeup and classification of the drug itself.

 

Medication Packaging Provides Important Information

With in-office dispensing, medicines are prepackaged. This means they are taken out of the container the manufacturer provided and repackaged into a safer container. Packaging used in dispensing are created to prevent drug interactions.

Pills are typically packaged individually and labeled with a date, so the patient does not have to guess whether they have taken their daily dose or not. Blister packs are often used, making it easier for patients.

Packaging not only helps keep your patient organized in how they take their medicines, it also provides them with an extra layer of education about potential interactions and what to do if they feel there is a problem.

 

Makes It Easier for Caregivers

Many of your patients have caregivers helping them take their medications each day. Whether friends, family or paid caregivers, they need to be educated just as much as the patient when it comes to drug interactions.

With in-office dispensing, you can meet personally with caregivers and take the same steps of educating them in person as you did with other patients. With just a few extra minutes of providing valuable knowledge, you could be saving a life.

In-office dispensing allows you to help caregivers know the signs and symptoms to look for when it comes to drug interactions. You can also teach them, through personal instruction and printed literature, how to avoid accidental medical errors.

If you patient has a caregiver, it is important you give the message directly to the caregiver. Otherwise, the original message could be lost or changed by the time the patient is able to relay it to the caregiver. In-office dispensing allows you to work directly with the caregiver, offering you a bit more security.

 

Education at the Time of Refills

Patients will need refills if they are taking their prescriptions according to your orders. When they call for a refill, this is a prime opportunity for your staff to further educate the patient on interactions. Your staff can gather valuable information to see if they have had any interactions and if so, did they follow your plan for help.

You and your staff know the right questions to ask to get the answers you need to evaluate their knowledge on drug interactions. Patients will not automatically know what to tell you. Some may not even recognize symptoms as an interaction.

This makes it so important that you provide this information to them before something goes wrong, and to prevent something from going wrong.

The more you education your patients, the more documentation you have to protect you and your practice from any malpractice. Education is proof you have done everything you can to protect your patients.

Durable Medical Equipment

How Stocking Durable Medical Equipment Can Help Your Practice

As a physician, you are constantly evaluating the needs of your patients and making recommendations for treatments that can better their health. Some patients are treated with medication, while others can be treated with physical therapy. There are still other patients that may need durable medical equipment.

In fact, durable medical equipment is a 42 billion dollar market, according to research. Millions of patients are benefiting from the use of equipment either in their daily lives or for temporary use to help them recover from an ailment.

To understand how stocking, them can help your practice, it is first important to learn what items qualify as durable medical equipment.

 

Durable Medical Equipment Defined

Some of your patients will present with medical conditions, illnesses or injuries that require special, therapeutic equipment to help them function or recover. This equipment is what is known as durable medical equipment.

There are many categories of durable medical equipment. Equipment must be used for a medical condition and must be prescribed by you. They cannot be prescribed for comfort or convenience reasons, nor can they be prescribed for non-medical reasons.

Examples of items that fall into this category include wheelchairs, canes, walkers, and ventilators. Other examples are scooters, medical beds, bath chairs and prostheses.

Durable medical equipment is used on a long-term basis by the patient, unlike durable medical supplies, which can be confused at times.

Curable medical supplies are items prescribed by you also, but they are to be used once and thrown away. Bandages, gloves and blood sugar tests are good examples.

Your practice can benefit from selling both supplies and equipment. Keep reading below to find out specific ways they can help your practice.

 

Increased Revenue

Some doctors are seeing an increase in income each month between $5,000 and $25,000.

Not all patients will have great insurance that pays 100 percent of all costs for durable medical equipment. In fact, many insurance companies require patients to purchase their own supplies and equipment.

As you know, many of your patients will not be able to afford to pay for the supplies and equipment you prescribe. This is when renting durable medical equipment can be a huge advantage. Renting allows your patients to benefit from the use of the supplies and equipment you order.

It also means you can benefit financially multiple times with just one piece of equipment.

 

Patient Satisfaction

Patients are looking for convenient, quick services that offer long-term relief. If you are not dispensing durable medical equipment at the point of care, patients are forced to travel to a pharmacy. This can take a lot of time that patients could be spending on something more productive.

By allowing patients to leave your office with their durable medical equipment saves them time, money and energy. This will be a huge blessing to your patients, and they will reward you by becoming loyal, lifetime patients.

Your practice will benefit from this because you will be able to truly get to know your patients over a longer period, giving you more information to add to their treatment plans.

You won’t need to worry about recruiting new patients because your satisfied patients will tell everyone they know how your practice has improved. This will lead to an increase in referrals and an increase in revenue.

 

Improved Clinical Outcomes

You would think that improving clinical outcomes would decrease your revenue. If everyone you see gets well, then they don’t need to see you and you can’t earn money from treating them. The opposite is true, however.

When you offer durable medical equipment in your office, you take more control over your patient’s health outcomes. When you are more involved with these outcomes, the better their health. People start to take notice that you are the doctor who helps their patients succeed.

This increase leads to an increase in patient numbers. The more patients requesting your services, the more you can expand your services to include additional ancillary services, such as a nurse practitioner, medicine dispensing and much more, all of which bring in more money for your office.

 

Insurance Fee Collection is Easier

Insurance companies, especially Medicare and Medicaid, pay for durable medical equipment if they are proven to be needed for a medical reason. They can only be obtained with a prescription from a physician.

Providing quality durable medical equipment can make billing easy when you work with specific companies who include software with their services. This software comes with tech support, inventory assistance and it is connected directly with insurance companies.

This means all you must do is enter the information and hit the submit button. The claims are sent directly to the claims department of the insurance company that carries your patient. This means you receive payments from the insurance companies much faster and with fewer errors.

 

Leads to Offering Other Ancillary Services

Ancillary services are proving to be worth exploring for physicians who are interested in adding a revenue stream to their practice. Prescribing durable medical equipment is an area that is on the rise, with more and more patients benefiting from use.

Medical supplies compliment the sales of medical equipment. But this is just one other ancillary service that can bring in more money for your practice, as well as more recognition, more patients and more streamlined services.

Additional ancillary services include providing urgent care services or maintaining office hours after the regular nine to five hours. You may also want to invest in providing laboratory services such as collecting blood, DNA and paternity testing, and x-rays.

In conclusion, stocking and dispensing durable medical equipment offers your practice positive opportunities. Most important of all is the opportunity to give your patients what they need at the point of care, saving them time and money.

The best way to improve your practice is to improve the patient experience. Happy patients’ equal happy practice. Dispensing durable medical equipment is just one of many ways to make this happen.

Dispensing prepackaged medication

Dispense Medication Directly to Increase Patient Compliance

When discussing patient compliance, physicians refer to this as how well a patient follows your medical advice. This can mean how well they follow your advice when taking medication, or it can mean how well they follow your advice in using medical equipment and supplies, therapies, exercises and even self-care.

Your patient’s compliance shows you whether they are motivated to follow the treatment plan you have created to improve their health. Unfortunately, reports show that many patients, as many as 75%, are non-compliant in one way or another.

There are many reasons for non-compliance, and not all of them are on purpose, rather they are accidental. Some of the reasons include the need to take multiple prescriptions throughout the day, lifestyle difficulties, confusion over whether they have already taken medication, and sometimes they simply forget.

Other reasons for non-compliance can relate to difficulty ingesting medicine and lack of patient education and awareness leads to them not knowing the importance of taking medication. Side effects of drugs can also be a factor, while others simply hate going to the pharmacy and waiting on a prescription.

Non-compliance can lead to serious health problems. It’s important you do what you can to make sure your patients adhere to your treatment plan.

Dispensing medication is the top way you can help resolve non-compliance issues within your practice, helping your patients enjoy improved health outcomes.

Keep reading to find out how dispensing medication directly increases patient compliance.

 

Ensures Patients Receive Their Medication

Because many patients do not like going to the pharmacy, they may skip picking up their prescription altogether. They may even lie to you, telling you they have been taking them as prescribed, even though their health has not improved.

You have no way of knowing if your patients are taking their medications unless you prescribe them directly at the point of care. Dispensing gives you reassurance they have the medication needed to improve their own health and give you the opportunity to implement compliance reminders through your portal, phone calls, emails and even texts.

Furthermore, you can give your patients awareness on the importance of following their treatment plan.

 

Patients Understand the Importance of Compliance

Patients are typically told what to do and because they trust you, most of them follow your instructions. Some patients, however, need more than just an order. They need an understanding of why they need the medication and how it will benefit them.

If they do not understand their medicine, including everything from side effects to benefits, patients are more likely to stop taking their medication. It is when you take the time to educate the patient on their need for treatment, that they begin to take it seriously.

A pamphlet or brochure stapled to their prescription bag is not good enough. And asking them if they have questions is not appropriate. Your patients do not know what questions to ask.

It is up to you to make sure they have a clear understanding of their medication and with dispensing, you are given the opportunity to provide this service.

 

Easy to Understand Instructions

The simpler it is for a patient, the more likely they are to comply. This is especially true for instructions.

When you dispense directly to the patient, you stock medications in your office that are most commonly used among your patients. These medications arrive at your office in prepackaged containers. Prepackaging medication has many advantages for both you and the patient.

The labeling on each package contains simple to understand instructions. It tells the patient when to take the medication and each pill is individually packaged and dated so there is no confusion for the patient.

The patient has no problem remembering if they took their medication. If there is a pill still in the package matching the date, they will know to take their medicine. Instructions can also include time of day, potential side effects, and contact information if they need help.

 

Medication Matched with Patient Needs

Not every patient can handle swallowing multiple pills a day. Swallowing may be difficult for some who have smaller airways or struggle with taking pills or capsules. In addition, some patients struggle with opening and closing certain containers that hold their medication.

With dispensing, you can order medication and packaging based on individual needs of your patients. If your patient cannot swallow pills, you may choose to dispense their medicine in liquid or chewable forms.

If your patients find it hard to open or close the typical medication bottles, prepackaged medication sometimes provides simple to use blister packs. The patient will then only have to punch out the pill they need for that day.

 

Improves Caregivers Abilities

Some of your patients require caregivers to help them stay on track with treatment advice. This means they help them attend therapy sessions, help them use medical devices and supplies and help them take prescribed medication.

When caregivers are given tools to make their job easier, the patients are more compliant.

Dispensing directly allows you to provide education and awareness to both the patient and the caregiver. This means the caregivers receive your advice in-person rather than from the patient who may have forgotten part of your message.

Dispensing also gives caregivers a direct link to your office when they have urgent questions that are not considered emergencies, but still need to be answered.

 

Individualized Treatment

Patients do not want to feel like they are just part of a herd, given the same treatment as the person before and after them. They know their symptoms are not the same as others. They want you to acknowledge this too.

Dispensing directly lets your patients know you are treating them personally, based on their needs and not giving them a generalized plan of action. When patients feel you are engaged in their treatment, they will engage in their treatment.

Once they become engaged, their health will improve. This can happen with the help of a direct dispensing model.