Category Archives: Blog

In-House Dispensing to Protect Patients from COVID-19 - Proficient Rx

How In-House Dispensing Helps Protect Your Patients

As the world around us is changing due to COVID-19, in-house dispensing is more important than ever.

The novel coronavirus (a disease dubbed “COVID-19” by the WHO) has swept the world and led to stringent lockdowns and quarantine measures in countries on every continent.

One of many different coronaviruses (named such for their shape, which reminds researchers of the sun’s corona), COVID-19 causes severe respiratory symptoms, digestive symptoms and fever. The virus’ incubation period is currently estimated at 2-14 days, with only 1 percent of patients exhibiting symptoms 15 or more days after infection.

How In-House Dispensing Promotes Social Distancing

To combat rising infection rates and ensure that healthcare systems around the world are prepared to deal with a growing number of acutely sick patients, countries are urging their citizens to stay at home as often as they can afford to, and practice social distancing while out in public.

Some countries and regions have implemented stringent lockdown policies to prevent people from leaving their homes without an urgent reason, while other countries are implementing curfews and encouraging frequent handwashing and disinfecting at work.

Many are worried for the health and safety of their families, especially in people with chronic conditions where complications are more likely to occur. In an effort to protect the most vulnerable among us, more physicians should turn towards the practice of in-house dispensing to provide an additional outlet for critical medication, and help those most likely to struggle with the virus further avoid making an extra trip to the pharmacy. Doing so is critical, as the most vulnerable among us need as much time as they can get before treatment becomes necessary.

A spike in infections may cause an overload in countless healthcare systems across the world, as hospitals are limited in the number of patients they can treat within their ICUs. Slowing the spread of the virus will not stop the inevitable, but it will delay it enough to give healthcare systems the time and space needed to treat everyone. Therefore, it is important to practice social distancing, and to flatten the statistical curve.

Access To Needed Medications Remain Crucial 

There is no vaccine or medication on the market meant to combat the novel coronavirus yet, which had been completely unknown to the medical world prior to this winter. While some doctors have reported success in some cases utilizing a variety of existing antiviral drugs, there is no accepted or proven treatment regimen for an infection. Several studies are underway, and several companies have committed countless hours towards a working cure.

But that does not mean that medication isn’t critical for many, especially the most vulnerable to the virus, who rely on medication to combat chronic conditions. However, access to such medication may be compromised in times of lockdown due to transport issues, lack of supply, and fear of infection.

It’s in such cases that in-office doctor dispensing can help physicians provide direct care for their patients without the need to refer them to pharmacies that may be further out of their way.

Protecting At-Risk Patients

Patients who are most at risk are those with pre-existing heart conditions, respiratory issues, asthma, a history of heart disease, and diabetes. Other patients who may be compromised and must continue to fulfill their prescriptions include patients with weakened immune systems due to organ transplants, an autoimmune condition, or an overactive immune system in cases of IBD and other diseases.

The elderly, many of whom struggle with numerous chronic conditions, are also more likely to suffer from complications from an infection with COVID-19.

Retail pharmacies are an important part of the healthcare system, and continue to do an important job of being a hub for medication access – but in times of crisis where patients cannot afford to expose themselves or require the help of a trained medical professional who may better assist them and assuage their fears regarding how the coronavirus may affect their health given their medical history, in-house dispensing will become an important alternative that may save lives.

In-House Dispensing and the Most Vulnerable Among Us 

Continuity of care is increasingly important, especially in uncertain times where those most vulnerable to COVID-19 must remain in contact with their physician and update them as soon as symptoms develop.

Just as we must remind ourselves and those younger and healthier to think of those who are neither, and to stem the spread of this disease through rigorous hygiene and a stay-at-home attitude, it’s important to work towards better ways to care for the most vulnerable by providing safer access to critical medication, including a safe alternative to the public pharmacy. The full scope and consequences of COVID-19 are yet to be explored, but we must prepare for the worst.

Here at Proficient Rx, we aid physicians, specialists, clinics, and hospitals in setting up and getting started with point-of-care and in-house dispensing, giving their patients access to the medication they need right within the comfort of their own office, without the need to check for stock in nearby pharmacies, and redirect patients to outside sources.

Proficient Rx is a provider of FDA-approved repackaged generic, brand, and OTC pharmaceuticals, helping healthcare providers become a one-stop-shop for medical diagnoses and effective pharmacological treatment. We understand the importance of keeping common medications in stock in such times of crisis and aim to help physicians provide their patients with a better service by helping them get easier access to life-saving medication.

Web Based Systems for Dispensing Medication - ProficientRx

Why Do You Want Web Based Systems for Medication Dispensing?

During this time of uncertainty, web based systems for medication dispensing can help healthcare providers effectively dispense and deliver medication to patients.

Medication dispensing may be more crucial now than ever, as today’s ongoing crisis is revealing an increased need for effectively sourced and secure means to dispense medication.  Our existing healthcare system will be inevitably strained as COVID-19 continues to make its path through the world and given stringent ongoing and future lockdown measures and transportation woes, patients will require easier access to lifesaving medication, including prescription drugs for chronic conditions.

However, many clinics and doctors worry about the complications and overhead costs of implementing an effective medication dispensing system within their offices. While it might seem like a sharp increase in responsibilities and management issues, the reality is that there are easy-to-use web based systems for medication dispensing that allow clinics to drastically cut down on the time they spend communicating with pharmacies about patient scripts, while providing clinics with the means to begin dispensing repackaged medication immediately without any overhead costs, ridiculous learning curves, or significant waiting periods.

There are many benefits to picking web solutions for medication dispensing over a desktop application/software. Given the urgency of the crisis we find ourselves in, widespread applicability and ease-of-use constitute as priorities when picking healthcare solutions.

What Sets Web Based Systems Apart?

Web based systems for medication dispensing, like any other web based application, reaps the benefits of being disconnected from the need for specific operating systems, platforms, or hardware. When building a web app, developers do not have to account for the specifications of the machine they must program for, as the application will run on a browser, regardless of what the customer is using to load said browser.

Web based systems almost always require an internet connection (some can offer limited functionality through an offline version) while desktop applications can provide full functionality without the internet, but medication dispensing in general must rely on an effective and responsive internet connection to properly manage requests for additional medication and to dispense medication, the connectivity issue a moot point. This is further reinforced by the fact that a web connection is needed to provide and integrate with EHR.

On the other hand, web based systems provide a host of benefits particularly for physicians and clinics looking to get started on implementing medication dispensing quickly:

No Installation Required and No More Updating

The biggest immediate benefit to using a web based medication dispensing system is that customers must simply log themselves into the web app through their browser, and can immediately access the newest and most reliable version of the system without waiting for any downloads, installations, or updates.

No precious time is wasted downloading and installing weekly or monthly changes, and clinics don’t have to worry about the costs or logistics of downloading and installing new software on multiple machines. Instead, the very same web based dispensing system can be accessed across multiple devices, as long as the physician and their staff save their access information.

Fewer Hardware and Software Compatibility Issues

One of the central benefits of a web based app is that it can be run on nearly any hardware or software that supports the browser the app is being accessed through. For most apps, this even includes mobile devices, as well as older hardware.  Operating systems are also largely irrelevant, as all modern operating systems on phones and computers alike let you run most major web browsers.

This means you do not need to worry about hardware or software compatibility issues, and you don’t need to download or install different applications for Android, iOS, Mac, Linux, and/or Windows. In fact, as mentioned previously, you don’t need to download or install anything.

All Patient Data is Secured

This one is particularly important, due to the strict privacy laws and moral considerations regarding patient data, and the importance of preserving anonymous patient data for the use of life-saving research, while ensuring that patients do not need to fear that their information is being commercialized or used for any malicious or unauthorized purposes.

When entering patient data into a web based medication dispensing system for the purposes of tracking patient medication intake and ensuring the lawful and healthful use of medication, all data is securely stored in the web, where it is encrypted.

Simplified Support and Implementation 

Web based application developers can also provide quick support for customers without needing you to do much on your part – no need to call in an IT guy to troubleshoot software or hardware compatibility issues, firewall problems, or other issues that often might arise on your part.

Through Proficient Rx, your source of repackaged medications and easy-to-use medication dispensing solutions, you can begin distributing medications to your patients as quickly as possible, without a hefty overhead. Our free-based application helps clients immediately implement the systems needed to:

  • Accurately track and dispense life-saving medication
  • Keep an eye on their inventory
  • Better manage their patients’ health

We at Proficient Rx provide FDA-approved repackaged generic, brand, and OTC pharmaceuticals, as well as the means to begin distributing them from the comfort of your own office.

Get in touch with us today to start dispensing medication.


Contact Us Today for Medication Dispensing - ProficientRx

Improve Revenue With Office Dispensing - ProficientRx

Revenue from Dispensing Can Significantly Improve Profitability

Medical practices are seeing a decrease in revenue, but with the introduction of in-office dispensing, you can actually improve profitability.

The reasons for shrinking revenues in medical practices are varied, and each is as equally frustrating as the next – from increasing government regulation to declining reimbursements.

Some of this shrinking can be observed in the declining number of solo physicians, as more and more physicians are moving back into a model of being employed rather than being their own employer, and as a 2019 Medical Economics report revealed:

  • Only 22 percent of survey respondents claimed that their practice was “doing better than a year ago”
  • 52 percent who said it was doing “about the same”
  • 26 percent who “are doing worse”

Ways of improving profitability are in high demand among physicians, and medication dispensing is a particularly attractive option for several different reasons.

Economies of scale are not really something physicians can take advantage of, as they cannot effectively split themselves into several people. However, physicians can employ a variety of tactics for improving profitability, through complementary services and vertical integration. In-office medication dispensing presents a great opportunity to reduce medication non-adherence, improve reputation, ensure better patient outcomes, reduce inconvenience for patients, and create an additional revenue stream for one’s practice.

Why Consider Physician Dispensing for Your Practice? 

In-office medication dispensing is a great option for physicians throughout the country, in states where dispensing physicians are well within their right to do so. While the practice is more common in other countries, it’s been less common in the US, where medication dispensing has been largely the job of the pharmacist.

But studies have shown that patients are comfortable with, and even prefer point-of-care medication dispensing, as it is immediate and convenient. Some of the reasons that physician dispensing is a patient-centered practice include the fact that:

  • It allows them to start their treatment immediately.
  • Their doctor can keep better track of their medication and issue follow-up requests.
  • They can ask private questions in the privacy of their doctor’s office rather than the public counter of a pharmacy.
  • They can save themselves the time and money it might take to go out of their way to the nearest pharmacy at some point during the near future.

In-office dispensing also saves you the trouble of dealing with pharmacy calls for clarification, calling ahead of time to ensure that they’re adequately stocked for a specific prescription, or dealing with wait times.

Physician Dispensing and Medication Adherence

Medication adherence (or, more accurately, the lack thereof) is a serious issue accounting for an estimated 50 percent of treatment failures, 125,000 annual deaths, and a substantial portion of annual hospitalizations in the US. 30 percent of patients do not fill their prescriptions. Described as the accuracy with which a patient adheres to the medication regimen given to them by their physician, medication adherence issues can be blamed on a number of different factors, most notably including rising drug costs, forgetfulness, and inconvenience.

Anything done to tackle the issue can massively improve patient outcomes and save lives. Physician dispensing can improve adherence by helping physicians ensure that their patients get the medication they need with the right dosage, and with a full overview of the patient’s other medications and potential counterindications.

Physicians can also emphasize the importance of adhering to the medication’s instructions and help ensure that their patients fully understand and remember when and how to take their medication, and how much.

Physician Dispensing Can Boost Your Revenue in Other Ways

Physician dispensing can help you boost your practice’s reputation through:

  • Better outcomes
  • Increased efficiency
  • Increased convenience
  • Take on more patients and appointments
  • Better reputation as a practice

This leads to more patients, more revenue, and more social revenue as well. Your reputation as a healthcare practitioner is critical, and directly relevant to the longevity of your practice, as well as your legacy as a professional. While some levy criticism at medication dispensing as a practice that inspires a conflict of interest and leads to over-prescription and predatory practices, medication dispensing improves access to medication, and helps you more directly address the issue of medication adherence by identifying the barriers your patients face.

Important Questions to Consider in Physician Dispensing   

The first obstacle is logistics. To begin dispensing medication, you may have to first ensure that you’re able to do so in your state. Some states require annual fees to allow dispensing. There may be overhead involved in procuring, organizing, and managing your inventory of medication. You may have to deal with DEA audits and other unforeseen costs.

We at Proficient Rx offer such services without any overhead, allowing our clients to focus solely on the cost of the medication itself, by providing DEA and FDA-approved repackaged brand, generic, and over-the-counter medication.

With an easy-to-use web-based service, Proficient Rx can train office staff to begin managing inventory, keep track of sales and receipts, and ensure a clean and properly maintained paper trail. We help our clients stay accredited and deal with the necessary paperwork to begin implementing in-office dispensing and provide live customer support to answer every question you may have.

Putting Patient Convenience First

How To Make Life Easy For Your Patients

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

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

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


Patients Want Convenience

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

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

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


Lower Wait Times, Better Support Staff

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

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

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

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


Timely Follow-Up

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

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


Direct Medication Dispensing

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

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

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


Embrace Change in Medication Dispensing and Healthcare Services

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

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

Improving Medication Adherence

Increasing Medication Adherence

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

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

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

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


What is Medication Adherence? 

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

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

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


Medication Adherence is Critical in Chronic Conditions

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

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

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


Increasing Adherence: What’s in the Way? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


How Direct Dispensing Can Help Physicians Influence Adherence

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

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

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

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


Why You Need Medication At Your Urgent Care

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

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

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

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

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

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


Physician Dispensing for Your Practice

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

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

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


Physician Dispensing Allows for Better Outcomes

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

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


Medication Urgent Clinics Need to Stock

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

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

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

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


Finding the Right Partner

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

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

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

Why Patients Want You To Dispense Directly

Why Patients Want You to Dispense Directly

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

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


Direct Dispensing Can Save Money

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

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

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

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

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


Direct Dispensing Saves Time

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

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


Provides Control Over Patient Education

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

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

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


Direct Dispensing Provides Greater Privacy

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

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


Direct Dispensing Improves Outcomes

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

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

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

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

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

Direct Dispensing

What Are the Requirements to Dispense Medication Directly?

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

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

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


General Requirements

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

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

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


Dispensing Regulations from State to State

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Implementing Direct Dispensing

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

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


Who Benefits from Direct Dispensing? 

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

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

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

In Office Dispensing for Patient Compliance

Why Dispensing in Office is the Best Solution to Patient Compliance

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

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

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

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


What is Patient Compliance?

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

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


What Causes Patient Compliance Problems? 

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

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

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

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


Patient-related Factors

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

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


Condition-related Factors 

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


Therapy-related Factors

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


Health Care System Factors

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


Social/Economic Factors

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


Why In-Office Dispensing?

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

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


Certifications for Dispensing Medications

What Certifications Do I Need For In-Office Dispensing?

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

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


Current State License and DEA Number

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

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

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

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


Meet State Regulations

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

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

Common regulations among states include the following:

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


Bottom Line 

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

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

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