What is Medication Dispensing?
Medication dispensing describes the process where you, the doctor, dispense prepackaged prescription medications directly to patients from your office on clinic instead of sending them to a pharmacy.
In office medication dispensing (sometimes called physician dispensing) saves your patients time and energy by avoiding unnecessary pharmacy visits while also improving their overall health. On average, between 30% and 40% of prescriptions are never filled, and the World Health Organization reports that about 50% of patients do not follow their medication regimen as prescribed. With in-office medication dispensing, you can be sure that 100% of your patients have their medication in hand before walking out the door and that you have a chance to answer all of their questions about their prescription and treatment. This is a powerful benefit for patient health and fits squarely with DocRx’s mandate of “Patient Health First”.
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Medication Dispensing Benefits for Patients
While the biggest benefit to patients from direct medication dispensing comes from ensuring that patients get the prescription drugs that they need, there are other patient benefits as well. For example, patients are also able to get their medications immediately, instead of waiting at a pharmacy, and therefore start their treatment quicker. This is both a health benefit and a convenience benefit for every patient, and is especially important for patients who might be mobility-challenged, under major time constraints (e.g., single parents), facing mental or physical health challenges that impede their motivation or ability to go to the pharmacy, and/or who live in an area without a pharmacy nearby. This benefit is even more important for patients when considering that not all prescriptions can be filled quickly at every pharmacy and some may require more than one visit.
In addition, patients are benefit from increased privacy and confidentiality of a doctor's office or clinical setting compared to the neighborhood pharmacy. They may be less shy to ask questions about their medication or course of treatment with trusted clinic staff in a private setting than to a pharmacist behind a counter. Moreover, doctors are more able to explain how the prescription drugs fit into the patient's overall treatment, and have insight into the patient's condition and understanding that most pharmacists would not.
More recently, the impact of the COVID-19 virus has further underlined the benefits of in-office medication dispensing. The unnecessary pharmacy visit avoided by the practice of dispensing medication in-office reduces opportunities for viruses to be transmitted to and from the patient through interaction with other people and/or potentially contaminated surfaces. This benefit is particularly acute in the case of patients who rely on public transportation or ride-sharing services, since those patients will necessarily interact with more people and/or environments in which viruses can be spread. There is literally nothing a pharmacy can do - not even using the most sophisticated medication dispensing machines or automatic medication dispensers - that reduces the risk of viruses spreading as much as the practice of medication dispensing at the point of care.
Medication Dispensing Benefits for Doctors and Clinics
By improving patient care and satisfaction, medication dispensing in office can provide a powerful marketing advantage. One physician introducing medication dispensing into his practice explained to Modern Medicine Network that despite being initially “skeptical” dispensing of medication at the point of care “has become one of the biggest areas of patient satisfaction, as well as a very powerful marketing tool to both draw in new patients and retain my current ones.”
In addition to the marketing and patient retention benefits, physician in office medication dispensing also provides its own revenue stream, which can be quite significant. DocRx’s prices on prescription drugs are so low that physicians can easily add a significant markup and still provide them at a lower or equal price to many patients’ co-pays. In the case of the medications which are not covered by a patient’s insurance plan, the opportunity to save patients money while adding to practice revenue becomes even greater. All of this without having to hire additional staff or purchase new equipment!
Further benefits come from increased operational efficiency. Prescriptions that you fulfill and dispense in-office won't lead to rework because the patient's preferred pharmacy doesn't have that particular drug in stock, and you won't have to field pharmacist calls to confirm prescriptions. Since the in-office medication dispensing procedure takes just a few minutes, the overall efficiency gains and time savings can be significant — allowing you to focus more energy on your patients and your practice.
Is In Office Medication Dispensing Legal in my State?
Almost every US State provides a legal framework for in-office medication dispensing, but it is important to consult with a DocRx compliance expert (please fill out our contact form for an immediate response) for the details of specific physician dispensing laws by state. These regulations are usually set by your State Board of Pharmacy.
For example, there is significant variation in state medication dispensing laws in terms of who can dispense medication. In some states only the doctor may dispense, while in others, the practice of nurses dispensing medication (or physicians' assistants and other medical practitioners) is permitted. Some states require special licensing, while others do not.
DocRx specializes in compliance and has extensive experience with the minutia of medication dispensing regulations by state. We can help you get set up and guide you through the process and keep you informed of regulatory changes that may affect you.
Physician Medication Dispensing Software
Many physicians and administrators who are contemplating in-office dispensing of medication are concerned that they will have to invest in expensive new equipment like an automatic medication dispenser, software, and/or time-consuming training of their staff to be able to use their new systems. While understandable, these fears have proven to be misplaced. No new equipment or electronics is usually needed, and a standard office printer can print medication labels automatically as part of your dispensing medication procedure. You don't need an automated medication dispenser or a medication dispensing machine because we ship pre-labelled and pre-sealed medications. Most of the time, a clinic can be up and running with in office medication dispensing software within a couple days and training on a medication dispensing system takes your staff a couple hours at most. You will be surprised by how easy the whole process is.
Medication Dispensing Companies
A medication dispensing company (also called a point of care dispensing or in-office prescription dispensing company) should be able to supply your practice with a large number of generic medications at competitive prices, with fast, efficient service. DocRx is a leader in the field not only for its prices and service but also compliance. With DocRx as a partner, it is not difficult or time-consuming to comply with various state regulations and to stay current with changes.
What is In-Office Medication Dispensing: Background Video
To explain a bit about where in-office dispensing of medication comes from, watch this video:
Prepackaged Medication Dispensing Formulary
DocRx provides an extensive formulary of low-cost prescription medications for doctors dispensing medication in office – too many to list here. In general, if you can prescribe it, you can dispense it. Please contact us for details about specific medications that you would like to dispense.