With an estimated 600 new urgent care clinics opening annually, any physicians managing an urgent care clinic are aware that their segment of the market is growing, and that there is a new demand for faster services among many patients.
Naturally, urgent care has rapidly grown over the past few years as Americans begin demanding these faster services – for when they don’t feel the need to visit a specialist or their primary care physician, and for when they know they aren’t in immediate danger and need a visit to the emergency room. While some might assume that urgent care facilities have been around for quite some time, they are in fact very recent. The first known use of the word occurred in the 1970s, and it wasn’t until 2017 that Merriam-Webster added the term “urgent care” to the dictionary. And clearly, urgent care facilities are fulfilling a very specific demand. Only three percent of patients visiting an urgent care clinic need to be referred to an ER.
As urgent care physicians are well-aware of, cost is another consideration: a visit to the ER can be exceptionally pricy, and in an economy with record-high consumer debt and with one in five Americans possessing absolutely no savings for a major emergency, urgent care clinics provide a more cost-effective alternative for when a problem does not seem to warrant a precautionary visit to the ER.
Many Americans also do not have a primary care provider to begin with. About 17 percent of women and 28 percent of men belong to that demographic, and for many, medical emergencies and problems are rare enough that the pressure to swap from an urgent clinic to primary care just isn’t there. Instead, urgent care provides many with what they’ve always sought: easier, faster, and more convenient care.
With such rising responsibilities and a patient base that seems to grow and insist on the benefits that urgent care provide, it is becoming increasingly important to urgent care clinics to adjust for these expectations and rise up to the occasion. One way to do so is through improving your clinic’s offering, by implementing in-office dispensing.
Physician Dispensing for Your Practice
Urgent care clinics are handling about 89 million visits a year, accounting for roughly 29 percent of all primary care visits in the US. That number is slated to grow, and with it comes the need to continue to serve patients dutifully and safely.
While many urgent care clinics are situated near or directly attached to pharmacies, not all have this luxury, and as urgent care clinics continue to balloon in number across the country, the need for a steady and well-stocked inventory of essential medication may grow. Rather than relying on a nearby pharmacy to help provide patient care, another option to help overcome the industry’s growing pains is to consider in-office dispensing.
Through physician dispensing, urgent care physicians can better oversee their patient’s wellbeing, without losing focus on what separates the urgent care clinic from the primary care physician: convenience and speed.
Physician Dispensing Allows for Better Outcomes
More than just helping patients fulfill their needs better and faster, physician dispensing can lead to better outcomes. An estimated 20-30 percent of prescriptions simply are not filled, and many do not follow prescribed treatment courses. Failure to adhere to medication is one of the leading causes of poor outcomes in the US, and at times, it is driven by costs, and by a lack of convenience.
By pushing back against nonadherence with in-office dispensing and face-to-face consultation, urgent care clinics can ensure that patients walk away better informed and equipped with medication they can afford to take in the long-term. Better outcomes lead to healthier and happier patients, more recommendations, and more business for your clinic.
Medication Urgent Clinics Need to Stock
Urgent care clinics can provide a wide coverage of care, but there are specific kinds of medication that urgent care clinics often need to have in inventory, and others that are not typically carried. When dispensing medication in-office, it’s important to stock antivirals, antibiotics, short-term pain medication, and maintenance meds that can help serve as a one-time solution for patients who otherwise need a prescription refilled by a primary care physician.
As important as a supply of medication is, it’s even more important to be able to refer cases to good specialists and primary care physicians if they need long-term treatment.
Some patients misunderstand the service that an urgent care clinic provides, or the treatment they are in need of is much more long-term than what an urgent care clinic typically provides. And while urgent care clinics can and will fill out prescriptions, and even offer prescription medication in-office, patients will have to visit their own doctors to refill a previous prescription.
Overall, educating patients on the benefits of visiting an urgent care clinic for immediate or unknown concerns but visiting a specialist for chronic issues or known conditions is important. It will save you time and save them plenty of costs.
Finding the Right Partner
As urgent care centers continue to play an increasingly vital role in the world of healthcare, it becomes important to partner up with the right people to safely facilitate the transition into in-office dispensing. A dispensing solutions company can help you navigate your way towards fully implementing physician dispensing in your clinic and ensure that you’re providing the best possible service to your patients.
Through our easy-to-use web-based service and quality customer care, we at ProficientRx aim to help urgent care clinics, private practices, and healthcare professionals throughout the US better keep track of their in-house medication, manage and safely secure patient information, and make the most of their physician dispensing rights. Whether brand, generic, or OTC, we ensure our clients are stocked with the right tools to begin in-office dispensing.
ProficientRx helps physicians get started in direct dispensing by providing the means and the system with which to manage it all. We make point-of-care dispensing easy, and help you better provide urgent care to your patients, without worrying about stock and supply or poor data management.