One particular ancillary service that provides many benefits to the patient as well as the practice is medication dispensers in doctors’ offices. The concept is straightforward. The medication dispenser is stocked with the prescriptions the practice most commonly writes. Put simply, the doctor writes a prescription, a staff member prints a label with the appropriate information and performs a double-check, then the grateful patient leaves the office with the prescription in hand. You have many concerns when prescribing medication to your patients. You may wonder if the patient will ever get the prescription filled. You may also have concerns ranging from possible errors once the prescription leaves your control, to whether the patient will actually take the first dose.
There are many benefits for your patients and your practice by utilizing medication dispensers in your office; here’s 10 of them:
Increased Patient Convenience and Satisfaction
Your patients can receive their medication before they ever leave your office. This eliminates an unwelcome additional stop on the way home. A loving daughter or other caregiver will never have to leave the patient alone in a parking lot while delivering the prescription and waiting for it to be filled. Patients and their loved ones truly appreciate this thoughtful, convenient, one-stop-at-the-doctor’s-office experience. Onclive.com reports that studies indicated 75% of Americans would prefer to obtain prescription drugs directly from their doctor instead of making an extra trip to a pharmacy. Such a convenience is also cited as a contributing factor to patient compliance.
It is not uncommon for errors to occur between the time a patient leaves your office until they have their medication in hand. Another opportunity for error is when the prescription is discontinued but ultimately refilled by a pharmacy. Medscape.com reported on a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in November, 2012 that 1.5% of discontinued medications were refilled by the pharmacy, and 12% of those refills resulted in patients being exposed to varying degrees of potential harm. With medication dispensing machines in your office, you’re in total control of the entire prescription-filling process. You write the prescription. Your office staff member takes care of the rest. Built-in verifications and security controls give you confidence the system is working to protect your patients and your practice. This process is custom designed for your practice.
Patients prefer to discuss their medical treatments in the privacy of their doctor’s office rather than at a typical, crowded pharmacy where anyone within earshot can hear what the medication is that they’re picking up. Staying behind the red line at the pharmacy counter doesn’t measure up to the level of confidentiality your patient will experience by getting his/her prescription directly at your office.
Increased Patient Understanding
With an on-site medication dispenser at your office, you have the unique opportunity to show your patient the medication, explain or demonstrate its proper use, and answer any questions the patient and the accompanying caregiver may have before they leave the office.
Improves Patient Compliance
According to Onclive.com, pharmacies report that between 20% and 30% of prescriptions are never filled, with refill rates being worse. Some patients aren’t getting the care you have prescribed, but you don’t know which patients. Now, there is a solution. The use of medication dispensers in doctors’ offices is preferred by many doctors who want to ensure their patients’ compliance with the patient care plan. You know the prescription has been filled. You can even make sure the first dose is taken as directed, while the patient is still in your office. The American College of Preventive Medicine states that doctors can have a “profound effect” on patient adherence to medication regimens by improving the interaction between patient and doctor. Medication dispensing provides this type of opportunity.
Helps Reduce Overall Drug Costs
Medication dispensers in your office, combined with your greater reliance on generic drugs and therapeutic alternatives, can help control and reduce drug costs overall.
Both patients and doctors would perceive an increase in comprehensive care. The physician is able to provide the medical treatments as well as the products the patients need without delay. In October 2003, Podiatry Today interviewed the then-President of the American Academy of Podiatric Practice Management who described comprehensive treatment as “the ultimate plus of in-office dispensing.”
Medications Dispensed in a Highly-Controlled and Secure Process
Here’s the process. You write the prescription and make a corresponding entry into a computer. Your staff member confirms the prescription, matches the order in the computer, prints the label and information sheets, and then uses a security code to obtain a pre-filled medication container from the dispensing machine in the your office. The container, information sheet, and labels are matched and the patient’s medical records are updated with this information. Your patient leaves with prescription medication in hand, appreciative that they can go directly home.
Since the medication is being dispensed on site, your staff won’t be distracted or interrupted during conversations with your patients by having to spend time answering pharmacy or patient phone calls. If there is a question, your staff can easily obtain clarification on the spot and decrease follow-up time.
Revenue potential for your practice will depend on a number of factors, including the number of prescriptions normally written. Generally, industry estimates of revenue range from $25,000 to well over $100,000 per year.
Ancillary Medical Solutions can show you how a dedicated team of experts will help both your patients and your practice benefit from placing medication dispensers in your office.