Patient safety has always been a top priority in every healthcare setting一from tertiary hospitals to small healthcare units, such as community pharmacies and clinics. One way to effectively ensure patient safety while maintaining medication quality is by implementing a medication dispensing program.
By utilizing a well-run program or software, medication dispensing will become fast, convenient, and safe for patients and clinicians. Dispensing can also help improve outcomes and capture revenue lost to the pharmacy.
Read on below to learn more about the medication dispensing program, how it works, and its benefits to doctors, patients, and clinics.
What Is medication dispensing?
Medication dispensing refers to the process wherein a doctor in the clinical setting will prescribe prescription drugs and give the pre-packed medication(s) directly to their patient. This type of service allows patients to avoid the need to go to a pharmacy because their prescription medications are available in their doctor’s office or clinic.
This innovative process is also known as physician dispensing or in office dispensing.
How does in-office dispensing work?
Practices offering in-office medication dispensing have pre-packaged medications on site that can be given directly to patients at the point of care. This replaces the extra step of writing scripts and sending patients to the pharmacy, thus ensuring that they receive their meds, improves patient outcomes, safety, and overall health. But how does it work?
In-office dispensing is made possible by new technologies, such as medication dispensing software, automated machines, and dispensing programs. For it to work, doctors and clinics will need to collaborate first with a trusted medication dispensing company, like First Coast Health Solutions.
Your chosen medication dispensing company will supply your clinic with a large number of medicines at fair prices. The company can also provide your clinic with medication dispensing software or a program to make the whole process efficient, organized, and seamless.
There’s no need for any new machines or equipment for automated medication dispensing to work. Just your standard office computer and printer, and you’re all set. With the help of physician dispensing software, clinics will be able to do the following:
- Prepare and deliver pre-packed or compounded medications immediately.
- Have a real-time, automated, and controlled inventory of medications
- Integrated reimbursement options including worker’s comp, auto PIP, personal injury, or personal adjudication.
- Have a secured web-based software that stores all patient info, including their health and medication data (e.g., dosing, quantity, form of their medication)
- Seamless barcode reading of medications and printing of invoices and pharmaceutical labels and sheets.
More importantly, in-office dispensing allows doctors to conveniently supply their patient’s medication at the time of their visit. As a result, patients no longer need to visit their local pharmacy to obtain their prescribed medicine, thus saving a lot of their time, energy, and money.
Medication dispensing—what are the benefits for patients?
Readily available medications through in-office dispensing have numerous benefits to patients’ overall health and wellness. This includes the following:
1. Improves Medication Adherence and Patient Compliance
According to the WHO, over 50% of patients have poor adherence to taking their prescribed medications. As a result, patients who don’t comply have an increased morbidity and death rate, specifically those with chronic illnesses.
Medication compliance may be a patient’s responsibility. But there are several ways doctors can help patients adhere to proper therapy behavior一and that’s by adapting in-office medication dispensing. By providing medications at the point of care, doctors can ensure that each of their patients has the right kind, dosage, and quantity of the drug they need.
Additionally, this kind of dispensing practice allows doctors to fully explain drug administration instructions and their importance to the patient’s treatment plan.
2. Enhances Patient Care and Treatment
Dispensing prepacked drugs directly from your clinic allows the patient to get their script(s) right away and immediately start their treatment. It also allows patients to voice out their concerns regarding their current prescribed medications, which can be quickly mitigated by specifying an alternative medicine and delivering it right away.
For example, your patient had an allergic reaction to the initial drug you prescribed. Traditionally, doctors would prescribe a less popular alternative medication that might not be available and have their patients fill that prescription again to the pharmacy.
But with an in-office dispensing, you can just make in-office adjustments to their medications and dosage. You can also prescribe an alternative already available in your dispensing unit. All of these benefits work together to ultimately enhance patient care, treatment, and health outcomes.
3. Ensures Patient Privacy and Confidentiality
Another benefit your patients can get with physician dispensing services is increased privacy. It’s no surprise that a clinic promotes privacy and confidentiality better than a local pharmacy. It has nothing to do with the healthcare professionals involved but more of an environmental and location issue.
Furthermore, medication dispensing eliminates the need for patients to disclose their diagnosis and health status to their neighborhood pharmacy. Plus, they would be more confident in asking medication-related questions with their doctor since check-ups happen inside a closed room and not behind a counter.
4. Financially Convenient
The WHO reported that one of the reasons why many prescriptions do not get filled is limited access to healthcare. According to the study, patients under low-income status simply do not have the time and financial means to go to the pharmacy and wait in long lines after their doctor’s check-up.
Fortunately, clinics using medication dispensing software can save the patients time and money by providing the medication they need right after their check-up. Patients won’t have to spend extra time waiting in line at the pharmacy, can save money on transportation, and most medications are often similarly priced or less expensive than the average co-pay.
Additionally, physician dispensing services also provide a safe and convenient way for seniors and persons with disability to get access to quality medications.
4. Increases Patient and Community Safety
In-office medication dispensing is widely adapted in many clinical settings, especially during the rising COVID-19 cases. This innovative practice brings patient and community safety to a whole level by eliminating unnecessary pharmacy trips, thus greatly reducing one’s risk of contracting or spreading the disease.
Medication dispensing—what are the benefits for doctors and clinics?
1. Deliver fast, safe, and quality patient care
One of the most significant advantages of implementing automated dispensing services is improved clinical outcomes. Patients can immediately start their treatment program after their doctor’s appointment through the in-office medication dispensing. This then helps increase their chances of recovery from their illness, thus improving overall health.
In-office dispensing also helps increase the quality of patient care through other ways, such as:
- Allowing doctors to track patient compliance with their medications and treatment plan.
- Addressing medication concerns immediately (e.g., questions on administration).
- Making medication adjustments in a quick and timely manner.
2. Significantly reduces medication errors and waste
Errors in the healthcare setting cannot be avoided. However, it can be significantly reduced by allowing medication dispensing at the point of care. Here’s how it can decrease medication waste and human error:
- A dispensing software controls and gives real-time updates of the medication inventory. It tracks each medication based on its lot number and expiration date and follows the FIFO (first in, first out) method to reduce waste.
- Manages dispensing quantities and ensures safe medication dosing.
- It provides a printed form of the dosing direction and medication guidelines in multiple languages you can select for the patient.
- PDMP reports are submitted automatically as you dispense to ensure compliance.
More importantly, there’s no need for doctors to call pharmacies to request a rework when a specific drug isn’t available. In return, doctors won’t have to receive many calls from pharmacies’ to confirm prescriptions.
3. Increase revenue streams
Lastly, in-office medication dispensing provides another source of revenue for doctors and their clinics. Physicians can put a markup on their prescription drugs but still offer them at a lower or same price as what local pharmacies offer. For clinics servicing worker’s compensation claims, First Coast Health Solutions can handle the processing and billing of those claims to ensure you receive the highest reimbursements.
Plus, all of these benefits can serve as a good marketing advantage for your clinical practice, which can help increase the flow of new patients.
Is in-office medication dispensing legal?
Forty-three states in the US, including Florida, allow doctors/surgeons to dispense prescription drugs from their practice and clinics. However, it is essential to adhere to the rules and regulations set by your State Board of Pharmacy.
This is why it’s important to partner up with a medication dispensing company specializing in compliance and has expertise in the specific dispensing restrictions in your state.
First Coast Health Solutions一Bringing Innovative Medical Dispensing Solutions for Doctors
At First Coast Health Solutions, we are passionate about providing you with an innovative and high-quality dispensing program suitable to your and your patients’ needs. We strive hard to provide each client with fast and efficient service at a competitive price.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.