Pharmacy services live at the heart of healthcare. In fact, many common diagnoses require important medication to manage effectively. So, why are integrated point of care pharmacy services so rare in the industry still?
The fact is that integrated pharmacy services are a relatively young concept outside of a hospital setting. Patients and physicians alike are so used to the idea of dealing with an offsite pharmacy that the idea of prescriptions at the point of prescribing don’t even register.
However, the benefits of integrated pharmacy services simply cannot be ignored any longer.
6 Benefits of Integrated Point of Care Pharmacy Services
First of all, what are point of care pharmacy services?
The notion of an in-house pharmacy solution is exactly what it sounds like: the addition of a pharmacy or pharmacy services within a medical practice or clinic.
The perfect solution for your particular facility could take one of several different forms:
- In-House Pharmacist – A licensed pharmacist who is based inside the medical facility. This person is able to work directly with the physicians and patients to educate them on proper use, safety, and efficacy of their prescribed medications.
- Dispensary – A small pharmacy located within a brick and mortar location without a pharmacist located on-site. This pharmacy functions through a physician or clinic-dispensing model, rather than a pharmacy-dispensing model.
- Pharmacy Kiosk – A freestanding, on-demand prescription dispensing machine stocked with a selection of customized prescription inventory. A licensed remote pharmacist is available to connect with at any time through the video monitor and telephone receiver.
Which solution makes the most sense for your facility will depend on:
- Focus – Are you a general practice or a specialist? What is your therapeutic focus or service? For example; are you an oncology clinic that frequently prescribes drugs like ‘Neulasta’?
- Market – Who are your primary patient demographic and what are their typical medical needs? For example; are you in a rural area and frequently prescribe drugs for arthritis or sports injuries?
- Volume – Are you a small town, low volume practice or a regional clinic serving a high volume, high variety of patients?
Each one of these things has a direct impact on what pharmacy solution makes the most sense for your medical facility.
But, how does an in-house pharmacy solution impact patient care?
The true benefits of having an integrated point of care pharmacy solution are both numerous and incredible, especially for a facility struggling to improve patient adherence and experience.
Immediate Access to Medication
Immediate access to prescribed medication at the point of prescribing is a critical element of the success of treatment because it provides a unique opportunity for the doctor and patient to interact regarding the treatment.
- Ability for the doctor to explain medication usage.
- Ability for the doctor to go over what to expect.
- Ability for the patient to ask questions before taking drugs home.
- Ability to dissuade any potential fears that the patient may have of medication regimen.
- Ability for the doctor to see the patient leave their appointment with medication in hand.
A patient may also be able to ask any questions they have before taking the medication home. This will lead to better adherence to their medication regimen, a better understanding of their medication and treatment, and therefore improved patient care overall.
They will leave their appointment with the correct treatment plan in place as well as peace of mind.
Boosts First Capture Reliability
Offering integrated point of care pharmacy services at the initial point of prescribing opens the doors for capturing the first prescription, as well as potential refills.
Although it’s not a typical retail environment, patients are more likely to come back more frequently based on their overall experience and how they were made to feel in the facility. If they feel like they are being put at the center of decisions and that their perspective and time is important, there is a better chance of subsequent refill visits.
Additional Secure Revenue Stream
Point of care pharmacy services will help you to improve your bottom line by providing an additional revenue stream that (sometimes) requires minimal upkeep.
The standalone medifriendRx® pharmacy kiosk serves as a solid revenue supplement by offering a low maintenance, low risk pharmacy solution:
- Designed to be self-service with occasional assistance for elderly patients.
- The unit is NOT licensed as physician dispensing.
- It is licensed under new state pharmacy board regulations for prescription dispensing from a kiosk/machine.
- The host pharmacy DEA number is responsible for the drugs inside the machine, the act of dispensing, insurance billing, and all normal pharmacy-related liability.
- medifriendRx® offers flexible options to accommodate clinic prescription volumes.
Overall Improved Patient Adherence
When a patient leaves the facility with instructions to pick up their prescription at an offsite location, physicians can’t always be sure that they are going to follow the treatment advice. They can put it off, forget, make excuses, or simply forget.
With an in-house pharmacy solution, doctors will be able to see their patients leave the facility with their medication in hand and be confident that their adherence is off to a good start.
- An integrated prescription delivery system in the northern California area leveraged an online patient portal to see if it would improve medication adherence. Large datasets were then used to generate the underlying data for the portal.
- Researchers categorized 8,705 patients with diabetes as using the online portal exclusively or occasionally to obtain medication refills.
- They found that non-adherence declined by 6% among exclusive users.
Improved Doctor-Patient Relationships
To improve doctor-patient relationships, medical professionals need a deeper understanding of the underlying patient experience within their facility.
Patients want to feel important and understood, so taking a patient-centered approach is key. Many decisions are not made with the patient’s perspective in mind, and this can hinder the relationship with the patient.
By putting the patient at the center of every decision made, you will both be able to improve your own outcomes. In-house pharmacy solutions can improve patient experience by providing them with medications directly on site in a matter of minutes.
TIP: Learn a little more about how medical automation technology can help improve doctor-patient relationships across your practice.
Time Effective Solutions
Patient wait times can sometimes be substantial at a traditional pharmacy, and hearing a patient complain about a delay or wait time is fairly common.
However, integrated pharmacy services at the point of care can significantly reduce patient wait times, as well as allowing you to fill up to 75% of your subscriptions in less time.
In-house pharmacy services align with your long-term goals.
Having integrated point of care pharmacy services at the point of care is not the norm for medical facilities, but it can make yours stand out.
As well as looking after your own interests by improving your bottom line, you will be able to monitor and improve patient wait times, as well as improve the patient experience.
Integrated pharmacy services are a suitable fit for your facility if:
- You want to make sure you’re the first choice for first prescriptions as well as refills.
- You want to improve patient relationships.
- You want to see improved adherence.
If you’d like to learn more about improving patient adherence with a kiosk from medifriendRx®, request a digital demonstration of the workstation today.