There are many ways that in-office direct dispensing can benefit urgent care facilities; here’s what to know.
Urgent care facilities provide a critical service for Americans. Service at urgent care clinics is expedient, qualitative, and fulfills a need for quick medical care when a concern can’t wait for an appointment. While the urgent care facility does not replace the primary care clinic, or the services of a family doctor, urgent care clinics provide patients with yet another alternative to choose from, allowing them to further diversify how they engage their own healthcare issues.
The wider array of choices in medicine also signifies how the healthcare industry is moving more towards courting the customer – physicians and executives understand, more than ever, the importance of marketing their skills and providing a positive customer experience.
In-Office Medication Dispensing
Just as urgent care is growing, it’s important for practices to differentiate themselves from the competition. One way to do this is to incorporate a practice that acts as a natural extension of urgent care itself: point-of-care in-office medication dispensing. Point-of-care or in-office dispensing is a practice through which physicians and healthcare professionals can sell repackaged medication – from over-the-counter meds to brand and generic prescription drugs – directly to the patients they’re writing scripts for.
It was once common practice for a doctor to provide patients with the medication they need to get better, until that task was given to the pharmacist. In other countries, in-office dispensing is nothing new – but in the US, it’s a growing practice with great potential for physicians looking for an additional revenue source while further increasing the quality of their healthcare services.
Convenience and Competence
Surveys indicate that while patients rate the quality of their physician’s services quite highly, there is room for improvement in areas of customer care. Patients today want to be patients as well as consumers, and they seek services that offer competence and quality at affordable prices. They want convenient healthcare services that work – healthcare they can depend on, services they don’t have to wait on, and urgent care they can avail without worrying about the costs of an emergency room visit.
That’s a tall ask, but medication dispensing can help urgent care clinics move in this direction. By eliminating the need to visit a pharmacy for refills or to fulfill scripts, you’re saving your patients a lot of time and you can directly work with them to help them better understand the medication they’re taking, double-check that it’s the right drug, avoid adverse effects due to other medication they may be taking, as well as provide a comfortable and private moment to allow patients to ask any questions they might have – which can be harder to do in the public space of a pharmacy.
Furthermore, you free up your own time and that of your staff typically spent on calling ahead to confirm scripts or check that a pharmacy is stocked for your patient. More time saved is more time you can spend doing other things, whether it’s providing medical services or seeking more patients. Medication dispensing is convenient for yourself and your patients, and further makes your urgent care facility a one-stop-shop for most urgent care issues.
Some physicians presume that it’s expensive and overly complicated to begin stocking and selling medication – it’d be like running a pharmacy out of your own practice, right? But the truth is that repackaged medication dispensing doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing, and practices can start by buying just two weeks-worth of repackaged medication, focusing mostly on the OTC drugs and prescription medications that they prescribe most often.
It’s true that states and regulatory bodies require a strict paper trail for this stuff, and that there are licenses to pursue and uphold in some states, but companies that specialize in providing repackaged medication often also provide assistance to help practices begin dispensing as soon as possible, with no overhead costs and minimal hassle.
On the flip side, introducing medication dispensing can substantially boost revenue, even at prices that are affordable and comparable to low-cost pharmacies. While you can’t beat free, or some of the promos offered by larger grocery chains and big box stores, the convenience of being able to dispense medication right at the point of care is a big selling point for patients, who subsequently won’t have to worry about remembering to fulfill the script you’ve given them, or make the extra drive to a nearby pharmacy or drugstore.
Point-of-Care Dispensing is a Natural Extension of Urgent Care
It all comes back down to extending what urgent care services encapsulate: the basic selling point of an urgent care practice for many physicians is that it adds work-life balance and structure to their day-to-day, allowing them to truly disconnect from work more frequently while still providing critical lifesaving services for many patients.
The basic selling point of an urgent care practice for patients is that it fulfills the need for expedient medical care when a condition or issue isn’t vital enough to warrant a visit to the ER, but requires faster attention than a local primary care practice.
Medication dispensing therefore creates the ability to deliver quick, quality healthcare while granting immediate access to necessary medications for. Rather than adding what patients might perceive to be an additional barrier to their ideal healthcare, point-of-care dispensing provides them with the care they have come to expect, as well as added convenience they will come to appreciate.
Choosing the right partner for implementing medication dispensing is crucial. State-specific requirements and DEA administrative inspections aside, the successful implementation of point-of-care dispensing requires responsive and digitalized inventory management, integrating the dispensing system with your patients’ EMR, billing, and more. Here at Proficient Rx, our easy-to-use web-based dispensing platform is designed to help our clients get started as soon as possible, minimizing complexity, and making it easier than ever to properly organize and start dispensing medication in-office.