According to the Center for Disease Control, 2.8 billion drugs were ordered or provided for patients in 2013 and these numbers continue to rise. Of the people visiting a physician, 74% involved drug therapy. In-office prescription dispensing has been gaining ground, but traditional pharmacies still provide the bulk of these medications to people in need.
This means close to three billion prescriptions leave a physician’s office and head straight to a pharmacy per year. The pharmacy fills the prescription and dispenses it to the patient.
This also means millions of patients leave their physician’s office and drive, sometimes many miles, to the nearest pharmacist. Many go to big box pharmacists for the cheaper prices. But this does not give them the best experience.
Better Patient Experience
Patients can sometimes wait hours for their prescription to be filled by a pharmacy. With only a couple of pharmacists on staff, one of the numerous pharmacy technicians are providing service to your patient.
If your patient has a question about his or her prescription, they wait for the pharmacist, who is already bogged down, to speak with them. While pharmacists are excellent at what they do, they just don’t have the time needed to dedicate to each customer.
Many pharmacists are burned out.
It is rare to meet a pharmacist with time on their hands. They are constantly filling the hundreds of orders received throughout a day. If your patient has questions about their medicines, it is unlikely they can receive a private consultation.
Some patients do not feel comfortable asking a pharmacist for help due to the line of people waiting behind them, because they must ask their questions publicly, or because they see their pharmacist as a stranger.
On top of that, pharmacists make more mistakes when filling prescriptions under stress and an overwhelming workload.
This is not the experience you want for your patients.
In-office prescription dispensing can eliminate all these problems and more.
What is In-Office Prescription Dispensing?
In-office prescription dispensing gives you the opportunity to provide your patients with a value-added service. It is simply a mini-pharmacy located right there in your office.
There are different models you can opt for when setting up this system. You can choose a simpler model that allows you to fill the prescriptions. Or, you can choose a larger model that allows you to hire a pharmacist part-time or full-time, or a pharmacy technician, to fill the prescriptions.
The ability to dispense medicines in your practice offers your practice many rewards.
Benefits for the Physician
For you, the physician, in-office prescription dispensing means extra money. By adding a section of your office devoted to prescribing medicines, you can establish another source of income for your practice.
Satisfied patients are a benefit you will notice quickly upon establishing an in office dispensing system. Patients will appreciate your efforts to make their lives easier. You are offering them convenience.
This is a big deal when someone has an illness causing them pain. The last thing they want to do is travel to a different location and wait, feeling sick, for a prescription.
When you provide private, quick, in-office prescription dispensing services to patients, you are likely retaining your patients and giving them reasons not to leave your practice for another.
As a physician, you rely on your patient’s word when determining if they are abusing their medicine in any way. By having an in-office dispensary, you can have a better understanding about your patient’s medicinal routines.
You can see if they are calling in for early refills or not picking up their medicines at all.
The benefits for your patients are just as numerous.
Benefits for the Patient
Your patients take medications based on your professional expertise. They trust you. Because you have direct contact with the pharmaceutical representatives, patients can feel good that you are completely knowledgeable about the medicines they are taking.
Patients may benefit the most by being able to access their medicines in a shorter amount of time. Some of your patients must arrange for transportation, often a difficult and sometimes costly task. In-office prescription dispensing will eliminate this barrier.
Your patients will feel more comfortable talking to a staff they already know, not a stranger at the pharmacy. They will be more likely to ask questions and reveal if they are having any issues with their medicines.
The cost of medicines can be more affordable when dispensed in-office. This is because you can search and find your patients the best deal, making this service very popular.
You are probably thinking this sounds great so far but are wondering if it is difficult to establish. It is not.
Benefits of Getting Help with Set-Up
Believe it or not, adding an in-office prescription dispensing system to your practice is not as difficult as you may think. There are companies who can help you through every step of the process. Or, you can move ahead on your own, following established guidelines.
Making sure it is legal in your state is the most crucial step. Not all states allow doctors to practice in-office prescription dispensing. But if you are allowed, the next step is to simply make sure you meet all the laws and regulations attached to having a dispensary.
Determine which type of insurance policies you need to cover your practice, the size of your inventory, how you will keep records and how the medicines will be dispensed.
Once you are following the regulations, you can begin dispensing. Many choose to use pharmaceutical companies that can provide you with prepackaged medication. This saves you time and effort.
Using a company that specializes in setting up in-office prescription dispensing within a practice offers you great benefits. Specifically, they can provide you with software that can easily process and send claims to insurance companies, credential staff with insurance companies and ensure you are in compliance with the state.
The money you will spend on a company to help with setup is reportedly recouped within six months or less. The space it takes is minimal, there is no need to add on to your facility. The program works great for one physician practices as well as large group practices.
Having in-office prescription dispensing could also be a stepping stone for expanding your practice into several other complementary areas. In the end, it can give you a great start to meeting many of your professional goals.