The United States healthcare system has been increasingly overwhelmed in the past year due to COVID-19, making in-house dispensing more important than ever.
With pharmacies and hospitals overwhelmed by long lines, endless phone calls, and the logistics of storing and administering millions of vaccines over the coming weeks, many Americans are rightly worried about the impact such a rollout might have on our healthcare system.
At a time when those most affected by illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease have already been struggling with an incredibly difficult year, the coming few weeks are sure to intensify fears and anxieties around getting safe and reliable care for a myriad of conditions.
In-house dispensing solutions will be more important than ever as a means to help take the pressure off traditional medication suppliers, such as pharmacies and grocery stores, improve medication adherence at a critical juncture in the pandemic, and help protect the most vulnerable and at-risk in our population get the medicine they need. Let’s discuss some of the reasons point-of-care in-office dispensing will play an increasing role in 2021.
COVID Scares Can Lead to a Limited Stock
Local flareups in cases may lead to a limited stock of crucial over the counter and prescription medication in pharmacies and grocery stores, leaving some with a drastically reduced supply at home. This is especially dangerous for individuals who rely on a steady supply of prescription medication to manage their disease, including anti-hypertensive drugs, antibiotics, or even SSRIs.
Robust in-house dispensing capabilities allow local physicians to maintain a healthy supply of common over the counter and prescription medication for patients who either cannot risk large crowds during COVID scares or are otherwise disadvantaged and cannot be the first in line to stock up on medication they need to survive, due to long travel times or incapacity.
Assuring your patients that you can help provide them with medication without risking the trip to the next pharmacy or facing potential crowds can also help improve doctor-patient relationships and build a robust reputation within your community for patients who value an often-safer alternative.
Pharmacies and Grocery Stores Mean Larger Crowds
Some patients are naturally less inclined to follow medication directives, either due to their illness itself (as is the case in many illnesses with depressive symptoms, or associated stigma), due to distance and other circumstances, or perhaps due to the hassle and time cost.
With the pandemic, these patients have even less of a reason to go out of their way to fulfill a prescription – often to their detriment – especially if they can’t risk getting stuck in line, for medical or scheduling reasons. Helping patients avoid lines and crowds can ultimately help save lives.
While many apothecaries, pharmacies, and grocery stores mandate and enforce social distancing rules and mask wearing, they cannot always control behavior around the premises.
In-House Dispensing Is Convenient, Fast and Safe
While some patients are seeking a better alternative given current circumstances, others will benefit from properly implemented in-house dispensing due to its efficiency and potential for improving patient adherence.
A patient is much more likely to stick to their treatment plan when personally advised at the point of care and are given the opportunity to ask further questions they might not feel comfortable asking in a public pharmacy.
The added convenience of providing medication at the point of care can help encourage patients to come back and makes tracking patient adherence and medication use and scheduling follow up appointments much easier, especially through an in-house dispensing software.
If patients experience adverse drug effects as a result of a new prescription or unmentioned counterindication after receiving medication through an in-house dispensing service, they are more likely to contact the physician dispensing company for advice or help than contact an emergency room.
This can not only lead to a lower medical bill down the line but can potentially save both the doctor and patient time, as the dispensing physician may have a much better and immediate idea of what’s going on.
In addition, in-house dispensing services can be simplified and streamlined to make the individualized packaging and printing of labels as easy and fast as possible, meaning almost no additional time spent preparing the medication for each patient, and countless hours saved otherwise calling pharmacies ahead of time to establish availability, double check on unfilled prescriptions, and manually track patient adherence.
Clinics can also leverage simple curbside pickup protocols to ensure maximum safety when preparing and dispensing medication for patients who are most at-risk during the pandemic, further minimizing loss of life and offering a crucial service.
Implementing In-House Dispensing Safely and Effectively
There are different state rules for in-house dispensing. Each state’s board of pharmacy has a different set of policies on the matter. Some states restrict which substances physicians may dispense, what amounts they may be limited to, and under what circumstances these rules may change.
However, only a handful of states outright prohibit in-house dispensing, and with the right partner, you can often leverage the benefits of direct dispensing in your state to:
- Better serve your patients
- Reduce their risk of infection
- Do your part to provide relief for overwhelmed pharmacies and grocery stores.
The trick is finding that right partner. We at Proficient Rx specialize in providing access to individualized and customized brand and generic medication through our state-of-the-art FDA- and DEA-approved repackaging facility, and our free-of-charge web-based direct dispensing software, greatly simplifying inventory management and in-house dispensing logistics.
We offer different medical products and services aimed to help clinics and practices serve their patients throughout the pandemic, including vital PPE and telehealth solutions. At Proficient Rx, we also offer live customer support, answering all your questions and walking you through the minutes-long implementation process for our dispensing software.
Properly implemented in-house dispensing can help save lives and simultaneously equip you with a definitive value proposition.