Rather than send patients out to pharmacies and expose them to germs, doctors can hand their patients their prescription drugs during the same office visit. This improves patient compliance and convenience.
Dispensing medications also provides healthcare practices a new revenue stream to reinvest into the practice. Learn more about the benefits of point-of-care medication dispensing management.
Increased Patient Convenience
The ability of physicians to dispense medication directly benefits patients in many ways. Physician dispensing systems can save time and money for everyone involved. They also provide convenience that can help boost patient compliance and improve outcomes.
For patients, picking up prescriptions in the doctor’s office can be much more convenient than going to a pharmacy. This can be especially helpful for patients who need help traveling or live in rural areas without nearby pharmacies.
Medication dispensing also helps to reduce drug errors that can occur at pharmacies. These errors can happen due to lookalike drugs, improper storage or counter-checking, etc. Physicians who dispense can prevent these issues by adequately storing medication, ensuring that lookalike drugs are kept apart, and providing thorough patient counseling and guidance on how to take the medication correctly. They can also ensure that medication is rechecked for accuracy.
Better Patient Education
One of the most significant obstacles that healthcare organizations face is medication adherence. Non-adherence can result in unnecessary readmissions, medical costs, and weakening payer or provider quality ratings like HEDIS and CMS star ratings.
Physician dispensing can help patients better adhere to medication instructions and regimens by providing high-quality medications directly in their offices. It can also reduce costs and patient frustration by eliminating additional steps that might not be feasible or safe.
In addition, it can be a good idea for physicians like Chris Manfuso to educate their patients about their prescriptions—including how to store and handle them properly. It can be vital to explain the initials that follow medication names (like “XR” or “LA”), as they can confuse some patients. Providing patients with education to avoid medication errors—like mistaking the wrong dose or unnecessary drug use—boosts compliance.
Better Medication Safety
One of the major issues in healthcare is medication errors. It is a significant problem that needs to be addressed. The Institute of Medicine’s first Quality Chasm report, To Err, Is Human, concluded that medication-related errors contribute to approximately 1.5 million injuries and deaths yearly, resulting in more than $77 billion in extra medical costs.
A comprehensive system of medication dispensing management prevents many common drug-related errors. A medication dispensing program can help ensure that lookalike drugs are kept separate and locked up and that the right drug is dispensed to the correct patient. These systems can also alert nurses and pharmacists when a patient’s prescription contains medications that interact with one another.
A well-designed medication dispensing system can provide clinicians with a complete, up-to-date list of patients’ medications. This helps ensure accurate medication reconciliation with referring providers. Lastly, a suitable medication dispensing system adheres to all state and federal regulations and collects the necessary PDMP data (if you’re dispensing controlled substances). A label, medication information sheet, and receipt can be printed automatically at the time of each dispense, saving you even more staff time.
Providing prepackaged medications to patients saves time and money for both physicians and their staff. It also reduces non-compliance, which accounts for approximately 40% of drug costs and contributes to hospitalizations. The ability to directly dispense medication improves patient outcomes and results in positive reviews and word-of-mouth referrals.
Another benefit is that physician dispensing eliminates the need to call pharmacies to verify prescriptions. This allows physicians to spend more time on their patients, improving service and patient satisfaction.
In-office dispensing programs may be more expensive to implement than simply sending patients to a pharmacy, but the benefits are significant. One primary reason is that many insurance companies will reimburse physicians for drugs dispensed in-house, so dispensing can increase income rather than decrease it. Additionally, it can eliminate the need to invest in costly equipment. The cost of medications varies from state to state, but most dispensing companies claim they can provide drugs at a lower rate than pharmacies.