If you are practicing in a health clinic, you recognize the need for patients to receive quality services based on need, not based on whether they have the right insurance or can pay your fees. You open your doors to patients without conditions.
You have a goal to provide services that are culturally appropriate, provide basic and preventive care. Your clinic most likely provides services that help patients receive your care, including transportation and translators.
You know the needs of the underserved and your focus is to meet those needs medically.
One need you may not have recognized yet is direct dispensing. This is when you provide pharmaceutical services at the point of care, in addition to your regular duties. Put more simply, with direct dispensing, you prescribe and fill your patient’s prescription in your office, allowing your patients to leave with their prescription upon completion of their office visit.
Direct dispensing is good for health clinics for many reasons. Below are just a few.
Better Patient and Caregiver Education
When your patients go to the pharmacy to fill a prescription, a store clerk hands them their medicine and asks loudly if they need to see a pharmacist to answer any questions they have. Your patients may not even speak the same language as the pharmacy staff.
Your patient refuses a pharmacist consult, even though it is desired. Your patients leave confused and unsure about their medication.
If you are dispensing medicines to your patients, you have the perfect opportunity to provide them with worthwhile information regarding the medicine they are about to take. You can do so in a way that is culturally appropriate.
Some cultures have strict rules when it comes to who cares for your patient. You will need to provide quality education to them as well as the patient.
With the direct dispensing process, you can know for sure that your patients understand your instructions. You can also keep better track of whether your patients follow through with your instructions.
You may not be able to force your patients to take their prescriptions, but you can make it easier for them. An in-office dispensing system eliminates the excuse of not being able to get to the pharmacy.
It also allows you the opportunity to check their files to see if they are keeping up with refills. If they have never called in for a refill, they are most likely not taking their medicines.
This gives you a chance to contact the patient before their next appointment to find out why they are not taking their medications.
When you show you care by providing on-site prescriptions and status checkup calls, you are encouraging patients to follow through.
Pharmacists make errors. Doctors and every other person in the world make mistakes. However, pharmacies today are overwhelmed with orders. There are usually only one or two pharmacists on staff at a time. This leaves the technicians to do most of the work.
Pharmacies have much work to do in providing good customer service to a diverse population. Our country is filled with many cultures, all with different rules, ideals, values, languages and barriers.
Not all pharmacists speak multiple languages. They aren’t effectively trained to deal with such diversity. For instance, the likelihood of a patient misunderstanding instructions given by a pharmacist is increased due to language barriers. This could lead to misuse of a drug, which could lead to much worse.
By filling prescriptions within your office, your patients can worry less about pharmacist errors and more about getting well.
Your patients are busy. Some are working more than one job to provide for their families. Many take personal time from work to see you. Others must schedule rides because they are unable to drive themselves.
The last thing they want to add to their schedules is an unexpected trip to the pharmacy.
Even if the pharmacy is located right down the street from your office, it still takes time. Most of the major pharmacies take an hour to fill a prescription.
When a person is ill, this process is not appealing.
In-office dispensing provides convenience to your patients. It allows them to focus on getting well rather than trying to figure out how to get the medicine they need.
With direct dispensing, you will notice a big increase in revenue. Some patients will be able to claim their medication through their insurance company. Others will pay cash. Some will not be able to pay at all.
Because your income increases when you dispense in-office, you can help those patients who can’t afford to pay. You can offer discounted medications to those who qualify.
It’s true that many patients do not go to pharmacies and do not pick up their prescribed medication because they cannot afford it. This means they are not receiving proper care. This means their health is getting worse.
When you control the cost of medication, you can determine which patients can benefit from a discounted medication rate.
Improved Health Outcomes
In-office dispensing gives you more access to your patients. You can monitor them from the first visit through follow-up visits. Such access helps you track the progress of your patient’s health and make changes as needed.
Your goal is to see your patients’ health improve. You want to help them feel better and live a higher quality of life.
By dispensing medicine at the point of care, you will be provided with evidence that links directly to your patient’s health.
In conclusion, direct-dispensing has many advantages, especially for a health clinic. All advantages lead to you having a closer relationship with your patients. The more your patients trust you, the more they will take your advice and follow your treatment plan.
Dispensing at the point of care proves to your patients that you have made their health a priority, despite any barriers or obstacles.