It’s important to know that in-office doctor dispensing puts patient care first. Let’s take a look at the reasons below.
In-office direct dispensing allows private practices, community clinics, urgent care facilities, and hospitals alike to provide patients with direct access to certain medication without a trip to the pharmacist.
In practice, this means patients spend less time and get easier access to treatment, while providing patients with the opportunity to learn more about their treatment plan and medication instructions at the point-of-care. In-office doctor dispensing puts patient care first by improving patient medication adherence, improving patient convenience, and providing greater access to care within the community.
What is In-Office Doctor Dispensing?
In-office doctor dispensing, physician dispensing, or direct dispensing is a regulated form of medication dispensing wherein a physician provides medication to their patients at the point-of-care, including prescription refills.
Most states allow direct dispensing, although there are often a few state-specific barriers, such as obtaining an additional license or paying a registration fee to the local Board of Pharmacy.
Direct dispensing used to be the norm before pharmacies became ubiquitous. Over time, the role of the primary physician became restricted to diagnosing and recommending treatment, while the role of the pharmacist was interpreting and fulfilling prescriptions, advising patients throughout the process. Direct dispensing has become more popular in recent years, and regulations around physician dispensing have changed to allow this alternative dispensing model to grow.
Direct dispensing helps patients who feel uncomfortable discussing their medical questions at the pharmacy explore an alternative drug distribution method through their physician, while simultaneously cutting out the need for an additional trip to the pharmacy for patients who live in more remote areas, where the nearest pharmacy might be out of way from the doctor’s office. Other benefits of direct dispensing include:
1. In-Office Dispensing Respects a Patient’s Time
The most obvious benefit of in-office dispensing is that patients save themselves the additional trip to the pharmacy. This has its own pros and cons. In a post-pandemic world, many patients – especially those with chronic conditions that require long-running prescription refills – would prefer to minimize their risk of infection.
E-prescriptions, optional curbside pickup, and select delivery options have made it easier to gain access to both prescription and over the counter (OTC) medication during and after COVID. For patients who want to continue to spend as little time as possible waiting in line for their medication, direct dispensing becomes a valuable and attractive alternative to a trip to the pharmacy.
In addition to improving patient convenience through shorter wait times and less to-and-fro travel, direct dispensing can also be a boon to the doctor’s office, eliminating the need to coordinate with pharmacies to ensure that a patient’s drug is in stock, which can bring with it its own host of wait times and inconveniences for the next patient.
2. In-Office Dispensing Improves Patient Medication Adherence
Medication nonadherence is a silent killer in the United States. An estimated 125,000 preventable deaths occur annually because of nonadherence to treatment plans, and many contributing factors have been identified.
These include patient-related barriers (such as denial, alternate belief systems, or lack of motivation), treatment-related barriers (cost, time, inconvenience, complexity, fear of side effects), and other barriers (poor patient-doctor relationship).
Direct dispensing can help address multiple barriers to better medication adherence, by providing greater opportunities to improve the doctor-patient relationship, addressing side-effect worries and treatment complexity, reducing cost, time, and inconvenience, and addressing lack of motivation or forgetfulness through scheduled follow-ups.
3. Better Patient Convenience Means Better Patient Care
Many of the benefits that can be attributed to direct dispensing feed into greater patient convenience. But more than just saving time and money, patient convenience is a metric directly related quality patient care.
Not only do many patients currently value increased convenience in healthcare over greater quality of care, but the boons of convenience and the impact of good service on a patient’s relationship with their healthcare provider can affect their healthcare.
A patient convenience defined by additional choice and freedom in care – such as the opportunity to choose direct dispensing over pharmacy dispensing – is good for the patient, and for the balance sheet alike.
4. In-Office Doctor Dispensing Improves Patient Privacy
The ability to dispense at the point-of-care allows physicians to encourage patients to ask questions in the privacy of the doctor’s office, which is a privilege some big box pharmacies cannot provide on a busy day. For patients who might feel stigmatized by their condition, privacy becomes a crucial boon.
This extra privacy helps patients feel more comfortable and can help improve patient medication adherence while providing the opportunity to ask more questions about both the treatment process and this specific medication.
Lack of understanding or knowledge can be a major contributing factor in medication nonadherence – as can cost. The privacy of a doctor’s office may help embolden patients to approach the topic of cost and find reasonable alternatives to expensive or unaffordable medication.
Finding the Right Dispensing Partner
In addition to state-specific registration fees, requirements, regulations, and restrictions, implementing and managing a direct dispensing service requires an accredited and reputable source of wholesale medication, strict drug inventory recordkeeping, a secure database for patient information, and much more. It can be a complicated path to start on alone.
This is why most hospitals and private practices implement direct dispensing through a partner company that specializes in enabling in-office dispensing through the distribution of repackaged prescription and OTC medication.
Proficient Rx is a nationwide manufacturer and distributor of pharmaceutical products, providing repackaged branded and generic prescription and OTC medication to eligible practices and hospitals throughout the country. At Proficient Rx, we utilize a state-of-the-art repackaging facility to produce and deliver orders to medical professionals, community clinics, urgent care facilities, and hospitals alike.
Our direct dispensing offer helps healthcare providers implement point-of-care medication dispensing with no hassle and minimal training, utilizing our turnkey web-based dispensing platform. Our platform can be accessed and managed through any in-office web interface, from tablets to computers, utilizing your individualized credentials. Through our software, healthcare providers can manage orders and inventory, schedule follow-ups, review patient information, and maintain an accurate record for state and federal regulatory bodies.
Proficient Rx is a veteran-owned business with over 50 years of combined experience in creating and distributing pharmaceutical products. Let us work with you to bring affordable and convenient access to medication and healthcare to your community.