In-office dispensing, or physician dispensing, allows hospitals, private practices, and physicians themselves to dispense medication at the point of care, rather than simply referring patients to the nearest pharmacy.
The effect of in-office dispensing on pediatric practices is primarily threefold. First, it allows for greater patient convenience and creates a stronger patient-doctor bond, or more specifically, a better relationship between doctors and parents.
Second, the opportunity to provide medication at the point of care helps doctors facilitate questions-and-answers, without asking parents to ask these questions at their local big box pharmacy, especially if parents aren’t comfortable or experienced enough to administer certain medication, misunderstand dosages, or need more in-depth and personalized patient education in the privacy of a doctor’s office.
Third, in-office dispensing provides private practices and hospitals with an additional source of revenue at a minimal cost in terms of both implementation and training. Automated turn-key solutions for in-office physician dispensing have greatly simplified the implementation of the practice and have helped make it a seamless part of any practice’s repertoire through online recordkeeping, e-prescriptions, digital orders, digitalized and automated label-printing, and meticulous data management.
What is In-Office Dispensing?
In-office dispensing is the practice of providing prescription and over-the-counter medication at the point of care, usually in the doctor’s office.
In-office dispensing gives patients an alternative to taking a stroll to the pharmacy, which can help improve medication adherence by making it easier to gain access to medication, while providing patients with an opportunity to ask more in-depth questions about their child’s treatment.
In-office dispensing also helps doctors give more direct examples of how to administer treatment, for example by demonstrating the first dose with the patient, and helping parents avoid any potential patient errors.
In-office dispensing is permitted in most states, but it is still regulated, and different states offer different restrictions on the kinds of medication a doctor can stock, how much they can stock, and how they are to dispense it. In most cases, physicians also require eligibility and a special permit from their local Board of Pharmacy to begin selling and dispensing medication at the point of care.
How Does In-Office Dispensing Impact a Pediatric Practice?
In pediatrics, the focus is not just on the patient, but on the patient and their family. It is important to keep in mind that maintaining a healthy relationship with both the parents and the patient themselves can go a long way towards not just helping kids feel more comfortable at a doctor’s office, but also encouraging more positive outcomes. Patient comfort and convenience doesn’t just save time, it can save lives.
The Importance of Patient Education
Kids and parents alike need to know what their medication is for, how it should be used, and (for some curious kids) how it works. In-office patient education helps minimize mistakes and errors, and it ensures that your patients receive the information they need to help treat their child with the best possible judgment.
By making it a point to offer quality patient education with every medication you dispense, you can ensure that you are doing your part to minimize nonadherence.
How In-Office Dispensing Minimizes Medication Errors and Nonadherence
Medication nonadherence is a massive and continuing problem in the American healthcare system. As many as 125,000 preventable deaths per year are caused in part by medication nonadherence. The problem is especially severe – and especially common – among patients with chronic health conditions. As many as 50 percent of people with a chronic condition do not take their medication as prescribed.
Out of the many factors listed for why people cannot or do not adhere to their treatments, a common one is a lack of understanding or knowledge, including worries about side-effects, concerns about dependence, and negative experiences with similar medication.
Better patient education and more time spent talking to a patient and their parents – specifically the parents – can help mitigate and avoid medication nonadherence in pediatrics.
In-Office Dispensing as a Pharmacy Alternative
It is important to clarify that in-office dispensing is only ever an alternative, not a replacement. Your services co-exist with those of any and every pharmacy in your area.
However, your patients’ families might not always have the time or opportunity to get the medication they need in a timely and convenient matter from the nearest pharmacy. Offering an alternative can help provide an important service in your community.
Finding the Right Team
Implementing in-office dispensing can help a physician’s pediatric practice create an additional revenue stream, while simultaneously improving their value proposition as a healthcare provider, expanding their patients’ options for medication procurement, and improving medication adherence and patient education.
However, proper implementation is important.
Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone. A medication dispensing solutions provider like Proficient Rx can take both the guesswork and the legwork out of making in-office medication dispensing work for you, through a state-of-the-art repackaging facility with a wide offering of medical tools as well as branded and generic OTC and prescription medication.
We also offer a web-based turnkey solution for pediatric practices to begin managing and distributing an inventory of prescription medication as soon as possible. Because it is web-based, practices can access the portal from any device, with no installation or updates needed. All information and data regarding patient info and order histories are constantly being updated across all devices through the cloud, with encrypted security and HIPAA-compliant safety measures to protect your practice and your patients.
We help simplify your first steps into in-office dispensing, and allow you to begin leveraging this new feature for your practice within days.