Physician dispensing is the practice of doctors filling prescriptions in their office instead of sending patients to a pharmacy. This practice has become more and more popular in recent years, although it has been around for quite a long time. There are some important differences between the practice of in-office dispensing and pharmacy dispensing. It is also important to note that there are additional legal regulations for in-office dispensing. However, there are benefits for both patients and healthcare providers that come with dispensing medications in office. To learn more about in-office dispensing and how to implement in your practice, read on.
Differences Between Physician Pharmacy Services & Pharmacy Dispensing
The main difference between in-office dispensing and pharmacy dispensing is that the patient can get the medication right away. This does give the doctor an initial responsibility in addition to simply prescribing medication and creating the treatment plan for the patient. They also have to stock the right medications and know more about the side effects and interactions of this medication so they can communicate this information to the patient instead of a pharmacist being tasked with doing so. There is additional training the doctors can undergo if they want to implement the practice of in-office dispensing.
The Legality Of Point Of Care Dispensing Medications
While in-office dispensing is legal in the vast majority of states, it is actually not legal everywhere. In-office dispensing is banned by the states of Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, Texas, and Utah. The legality of in-office dispensing is actually a little convoluted, because it is federally legal but banned by several states. However, even in the 46 states that allow in-office dispensing, there are some states that have further regulations. Healthcare providers should carefully research the regulations regarding in-office dispensing in their states to make sure they are abiding by all applicable laws.
Improved Patient Outcomes
If you know what in-office dispensing is and that it’s legal in your area, the question becomes: Why would I implement in-office dispensing? Well, there are a couple of different reasons. The biggest reason is improved patient outcomes. Many patients do not actually fill the prescriptions that their doctors give them. Obviously, this results in worse patient outcomes. In giving the patients the medications you prescribe during their visit, you can ensure they at least have access to the medication. Of course, there’s nothing you can do to ensure they actually take the medication as you’ve prescribed. However, by dispensing the medication in your office you are doing everything you can to help your patient have a positive outcome with their condition.
Greater Convenience For Patients
Patients also benefit from the simple convenience of filling prescriptions in the doctor’s office and appreciate it. They don’t need to make a trip to a pharmacy, drop off the prescription, and wait for the pharmacy to fill it. This inconvenience is part of the reason why many patients don’t actually fill their prescriptions, which may be hazardous to their health.
Higher Patient Satisfaction
While improving patient outcomes is the main reason that many physicians adopt the practice of in-office dispensing, there are additional benefits. One of the greatest additional benefits to a physician’s practice, when they implement in-office dispensing, is greater patient satisfaction. Patients know that you’re doing everything you can to help them with their condition if you are actually able to give them their medication in your office. This will increase their feeling that you care about them and their condition; that you want them to get better. This will greatly increase patient satisfaction. This will help you grow your practice because these patients will keep coming back and they will spread the news of your excellent practice through word of mouth.
Ancillary Income And Reduced Overhead
Dispensing medications in the doctor’s office increases revenue and affords the doctor more time to invest with patients improving outcomes. Working with a pharmacy services provider also reduces overhead through optimized formulary medications, prior authorizations and dedicated billing and collections.