Dispensing medicine directly to your patients can provide a variety of benefits to both your practice, and your patients. Here’s what to know.
Medication dispensing is an important service for many practices, and their respective patients.
By giving patients the option to purchase medication at the point of care, doctors can provide personalized patient education, answer questions on medication intake and usage, and provide much needed convenience and savings in a time when healthcare costs are up, and patients are looking for more customer service and satisfaction in medicine.
Understanding how medicine dispensing works is important to fully grasp the scope of how implementing direct dispensing can change your practice for the better.
Dispensing Medicine: The Basics
Medicine dispensing or medication dispensing is different from providing a prescription for medication. While doctors can write prescriptions, there are state limits to what a doctor may sell or dispense from the comfort of their office without additional qualifications.
In most cases, a physician or healthcare practitioner can get in touch with the local Board of Pharmacy to work out the registration requirements to begin dispensing medication from their office. Very few states outright ban direct dispensing from a doctor’s office, and there are different rules depending on whether the medication dispensed is a controlled substance or not. Visit your local Board of Pharmacy’s website to find out whether direct dispensing is allowed in your state.
While legal in most states, there are limitations on what kind of medication a doctor can dispense, even with the approval of the state Board of Pharmacy. There are also annual costs, administrative costs, and new responsibilities – particularly with tracking and managing inventory and keeping tabs on patient medication.
So, why would it be worth the hassle and cost of its implementation? Because at the end of the day, the benefits do heavily outweigh the negatives for most practices.
Dispensing Medicine Provides Greater Patient Satisfaction
The first and simplest selling point is that it makes life easier for patients – and that makes patients happier. Research shows that patient satisfaction is an incredibly important metric for having a good patient-doctor relationship.
It isn’t enough to simply provide good care. Patients want a healthcare professional they can confide in, talk to, and expect great customer service from. While most doctors would argue that they certainly aren’t in the customer service field, the retailization of healthcare cannot be ignored, nor can it be stalled. Your private practice is competing in the free market, and value proposition is crucial. What can you bring to the table that another doctor might not?
Direct Dispensing Improves Patient Convenience
By providing medicine at the point of care, a patient can save the time it would otherwise take them to drive to a pharmacy.
Furthermore, they avoid the hassle of waiting in line at the pharmacy to get their medication.
While pharmacists serve as an additional source of information for patients seeking help on understanding their treatment, and also serve to catch a doctor’s mistakes (such as missing any contraindications), some patients might not feel comfortable discussing their medical condition or the need for their prescription outside of the comfort of their doctor’s office, especially if the pharmacy is crowded.
It should also be noted that, while rare, pharmacy errors can and do occur, and the consequences for them can be harrowing.
All this adds up to patient convenience and safety. Patients currently value convenience over care – not to say that they want bad care, but that most patients are happy with the quality of care they receive from their healthcare professional and wish for a greater investment in convenience.
The great thing is that dispensing medicine directly does not just improve patient convenience – it also helps make things easier for your practice, as well. You can cut down on time spent trying to communicate with pharmacies and get an idea of what they stock.
By working with the right direct dispensing partner, you also massively reduce the hassles commonly associated with administrating and managing your own dispensing services. Plus, you gain access to a new source of revenue.
Medicine Dispensing Is a Great Source of Revenue
With rising healthcare costs and administrative difficulties, finding ways to keep practices profitable and continue to better serve the community is important.
Direct dispensing of medicines helps physicians and other healthcare practitioners explore a new source of revenue for their services, while providing patients with greater access to alternative sources of medication, and potential savings. It’s a win-win.
Direct Dispensing Reduces Medication Nonadherence
Medication nonadherence plays a role in as many as 100,000 preventable deaths a year, and affects up to 50 percent of patients with chronic health issues and regular prescription refills to a significant degree.
Factors that influence nonadherence include:
- Lack of information for patients
- Lack of motivation to seek treatment or recurring treatment
- Side effects
- Time lost
- Poor doctor-patient relationship
- And more
Many of these can be addressed through better face-to-face care and telehealth improvements, as well as direct dispensing and other, more convenient forms of drug dispensing for patients who struggle to stick to their treatment plans.
Direct dispensing also helps physicians further address the possible barriers of care that lead to nonadherence in their patients, and help them achieve better outcomes.
Direct Dispensing Improves Patient Outcomes
Through improved patient adherence, greater convenience, and better, more immediate care, dispensing medicine directly can lead to direct improvements in patient outcomes. A systematic review on drug dispensing showed that greater access to medications and their rational use promoted better health.
Direct dispensing can be a great value add for your business. However, proper implementation is crucial. A digital solution works best, especially with the guidance of an experienced partner in the field.
At Proficient Rx, we help private practices, urgent care clinics, and hospitals implement medicine dispensing services through an easy, turn-key web-based solution. Our HIPAA-compliant online portal allows healthcare professionals to easily log in and manage patient information, review inventory, order new medication, print labels on demand, and carefully keep track of their dispensing history.
Our software is web-based, which means it can be accessed through any secure device in the office, with zero installation time or on-site maintenance. We also offer live support for our clients, to answer all your questions. Give us a call to find out more.