Medical practices are seeing a decrease in revenue, but with the introduction of in-office dispensing, you can actually improve profitability.
The reasons for shrinking revenues in medical practices are varied, and each is as equally frustrating as the next – from increasing government regulation to declining reimbursements.
Some of this shrinking can be observed in the declining number of solo physicians, as more and more physicians are moving back into a model of being employed rather than being their own employer, and as a 2019 Medical Economics report revealed:
- Only 22 percent of survey respondents claimed that their practice was “doing better than a year ago”
- 52 percent who said it was doing “about the same”
- 26 percent who “are doing worse”
Ways of improving profitability are in high demand among physicians, and medication dispensing is a particularly attractive option for several different reasons.
Economies of scale are not really something physicians can take advantage of, as they cannot effectively split themselves into several people. However, physicians can employ a variety of tactics for improving profitability, through complementary services and vertical integration. In-office medication dispensing presents a great opportunity to reduce medication non-adherence, improve reputation, ensure better patient outcomes, reduce inconvenience for patients, and create an additional revenue stream for one’s practice.
Why Consider Physician Dispensing for Your Practice?
In-office medication dispensing is a great option for physicians throughout the country, in states where dispensing physicians are well within their right to do so. While the practice is more common in other countries, it’s been less common in the US, where medication dispensing has been largely the job of the pharmacist.
But studies have shown that patients are comfortable with, and even prefer point-of-care medication dispensing, as it is immediate and convenient. Some of the reasons that physician dispensing is a patient-centered practice include the fact that:
- It allows them to start their treatment immediately.
- Their doctor can keep better track of their medication and issue follow-up requests.
- They can ask private questions in the privacy of their doctor’s office rather than the public counter of a pharmacy.
- They can save themselves the time and money it might take to go out of their way to the nearest pharmacy at some point during the near future.
In-office dispensing also saves you the trouble of dealing with pharmacy calls for clarification, calling ahead of time to ensure that they’re adequately stocked for a specific prescription, or dealing with wait times.
Physician Dispensing and Medication Adherence
Medication adherence (or, more accurately, the lack thereof) is a serious issue accounting for an estimated 50 percent of treatment failures, 125,000 annual deaths, and a substantial portion of annual hospitalizations in the US. 30 percent of patients do not fill their prescriptions. Described as the accuracy with which a patient adheres to the medication regimen given to them by their physician, medication adherence issues can be blamed on a number of different factors, most notably including rising drug costs, forgetfulness, and inconvenience.
Anything done to tackle the issue can massively improve patient outcomes and save lives. Physician dispensing can improve adherence by helping physicians ensure that their patients get the medication they need with the right dosage, and with a full overview of the patient’s other medications and potential counterindications.
Physicians can also emphasize the importance of adhering to the medication’s instructions and help ensure that their patients fully understand and remember when and how to take their medication, and how much.
Physician Dispensing Can Boost Your Revenue in Other Ways
Physician dispensing can help you boost your practice’s reputation through:
- Better outcomes
- Increased efficiency
- Increased convenience
- Take on more patients and appointments
- Better reputation as a practice
This leads to more patients, more revenue, and more social revenue as well. Your reputation as a healthcare practitioner is critical, and directly relevant to the longevity of your practice, as well as your legacy as a professional. While some levy criticism at medication dispensing as a practice that inspires a conflict of interest and leads to over-prescription and predatory practices, medication dispensing improves access to medication, and helps you more directly address the issue of medication adherence by identifying the barriers your patients face.
Important Questions to Consider in Physician Dispensing
The first obstacle is logistics. To begin dispensing medication, you may have to first ensure that you’re able to do so in your state. Some states require annual fees to allow dispensing. There may be overhead involved in procuring, organizing, and managing your inventory of medication. You may have to deal with DEA audits and other unforeseen costs.
We at Proficient Rx offer such services without any overhead, allowing our clients to focus solely on the cost of the medication itself, by providing DEA and FDA-approved repackaged brand, generic, and over-the-counter medication.
With an easy-to-use web-based service, Proficient Rx can train office staff to begin managing inventory, keep track of sales and receipts, and ensure a clean and properly maintained paper trail. We help our clients stay accredited and deal with the necessary paperwork to begin implementing in-office dispensing and provide live customer support to answer every question you may have.