Physician Holding Patient's PrescriptionsIn a recent conversation with one of our physician clients, I discovered some great ideas for best practices for in-office dispensing.  Though this list is by no means comprehensive, it provides a great overview for some basic things to consider when implementing physician dispensing:

  1. Develop a dispensing protocol, document it and post it.  This particular physician had done extensive research on the legal elements of dispensing in her state, developed a dispensing protocol that worked for her clinic, staff and patients and then documented her dispensing process.  Not only is it good for the clinic, it demonstrates a higher level of professionalism and diligence should anyone ever ask.
  2. Train your staff.  Don’t assume great nurses or data entry clerks make great mind readers.  This physician documented her protocols and actually spent time training her staff on the process and her expectations.  A little bit of time upfront goes a long way.
  3. Go beyond regulatory requirements.  What a great idea!  Her goal is best practices.  What are your best practices?  She spent time thinking about dispensing in the context of benefiting patients and her clinic.  I’ll devote a later blog to this concept.
  4. Anticipate mistakes.  We are all human so mistakes are a given.  What can we do to anticipate and prevent them?  In her case, the physician requires double-checks in at least two points along her dispensing process.  It didn’t add much time and has been very effective.
  5. Embrace security.  Though it is not required, this physician stores all of her medications in a double-locked cabinet.  Controlled substances require extra security but it doesn’t hurt to keep everything locked up.
  6. Leverage prepackaged pharmaceuticals.  This physician’s original model involved having office staff count pills and package medications for patients.  Even when this isn’t expressly forbidden by law, it presents numerous points of error to the clinic.  Most staff are not trained as pharmacy techs and it is difficult to implement and manage pill counting and packaging.  This physician sought out Northwind Pharmaceuticals to help her get out of the pill counting business thereby enhancing her practice and reducing her risks.

For more ideas on in-office dispensing, check out some of our other posts:

A Great Time for Physician Dispensing

Adding Insurance Reimbursement to In-Office Dispensing

Reduce Unfilled Prescriptions to get Patients Better Faster

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