In-office drug dispensing services help private practices, hospitals, and urgent care clinics rededicate themselves to patient care in a new way, minimizing well-known risk factors such as doctor shopping and treatment nonadherence, providing a greater quality of care, introducing alternatives within the community to other well-known medication providers, while acquiring a sustainable new revenue stream for the business.
However, it isn’t always easy to implement an in-office drug dispensing service. There are certain hoops to jump through, and local as well as state regulations and restrictions to consider. Understanding and weighing all the pros and cons is necessary for any practice looking to implement in-office drug dispensing services. Let’s explore the benefits of in-office drug dispensing together.
How Does In-Office Drug Dispensing Work?
Physician dispensing, or in-office drug dispensing, is the regulated practice of stocking and selling over the counter (OTC) and prescription medication at the point of care.
In addition to certain cases of ambulatory care, emergency supplies, and samples, physicians who are licensed to provide drug dispensing services – by the local Board of Pharmacy and state law – may offer patients an alternative to pharmacy services by buying and receiving the medication they need.
There are multiple reasons why physician dispensing is growing in popularity. Among other benefits, physician dispensing helps take pressure off pharmacies, help doctors improve and deepen patient-doctor relationships, reduce medication nonadherence caused by a variety of factors, offer greater opportunities for private one-on-one patient education, make it easier for doctors to ensure that patients have access to the medication they have been prescribed, and helps provide private practices, community care facilities, and hospitals alike arrange an additional revenue stream, without disincentivizing pharmacy visits or online drug delivery.
Patients with a doctor who offers in-office drug dispensing have the option to say no, or work with their doctor to find an alternative. Cost is a common risk factor for treatment nonadherence, and every effort made to help patients get the care they need can minimize negative outcomes and preventable deaths. For patients who cannot visit the nearest pharmacy due to time constraints, mobility issues, or other personal risk factors, physician dispensing also serves as a potential life-saving alternative, in addition to mail deliveries. In-office drug dispensing can also help reduce doctor shopping.
What is Doctor Shopping?
Doctor shopping is another term for seeking out multiple different physicians and healthcare providers for various, sometimes for negative reasons. These might include obtaining multiple prescriptions for the same drug or seeking different doctors until they get the diagnosis they want.
In most cases, doctor shopping simply refers to seeking a second, third, or fourth opinion, or visiting multiple different healthcare professionals for the same instance of illness due to changes in schedule and location – someone who might be on the road a lot and isn’t feeling well could understandably see a variety of medical professionals with the same medical.
But when expressed negatively, doctor shopping often refers to the practice of “shopping around” for different providers to rack up prescriptions and prescription drugs for illicit, non-medical use.
The reasons in-office drug dispensing can help reduce doctor shopping are largely related to the screening processes required for patient safety, and the strict adherence with which physicians must follow these processes to continue dispensing medication at the point-of-care.
In-office drug dispensing allows physicians to flag and report the suspicious use of prescription medication or scheduled drugs, track ongoing drug prescriptions to look out for red flags and ongoing medical signs of substance use, and limit the one-time supply of prescription medication, ensuring patients only receive repackaged drugs that are tailored to their specific dosage needs.
In-Office Drug Dispensing and Medication Nonadherence
Another benefit to physician dispensing is the ability to minimize causes of medication nonadherence, which refers to patients not sticking to their respective treatment plans, skipping doses, taking too much or too little, forgetting or not purchasing their prescribed medication, and experiencing complications or negative outcomes due to nonadherence to a physician’s directions.
In-office drug dispensing can help improve patient-doctor relationships and offer much greater opportunities for thorough patient education and the elimination of potential factors that often contribute to nonadherence, from prohibitive costs and financial worries to a lack of understanding of the treatment process or the illness itself, or better follow up appointments and reminder systems.
Working With Professionals
Implementing in-office, point of care drug dispensing requires a transition plan. There are safety and privacy concerns, drug storage issues, strict inventory requirements, regulatory requirements, inspection plans, and staff training to consider. Working with a partner specializing in in-office drug dispensing can help prepare you and your practice for the introduction and application of point-of-care physician dispensing.
With the help of Proficient Rx, your practice will be able to implement digitalized drug dispensing in a matter of days. Our turnkey web-based dispensing solution makes safely managing patient information and drug inventory as simple as possible, while offering the ability to place orders for our repackaging and distribution sites, print labels in your office, and schedule follow ups for patients with refilled or ongoing prescriptions to minimize patient nonadherence and combat doctor shopping.
Our clients get access to hard copy and online records to rigorously follow the supply chain of their order and keep all necessary documentation at hand for state and federal regulatory bodies, like the FDA and DEA. Our state-of-the-art repackaging facilities are NABP accredited and licensed by 45 separate state Boards of Pharmacy, and we help clients and practices of all shapes and sizes.
By working with Proficient Rx, you are teaming up with an experienced and veteran-owned business, partnered with dozens of pharmaceutical manufacturers for generic and branded over-the-counter and prescription medications, dedicated to helping improve healthcare conditions for patients nationwide by offering better options for medication dispensing, combatting medication nonadherence, and making it as easy as possible for practices to improve patient outcomes, improve patient care, and cater to the needs of their communities.