Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Majority of Patients Desire In Office Medication Dispensing, Study Finds

A new research study by Purkinje, a healthcare technology and services firm, finds that three out of four (75%) Americans would prefer to have their prescription(s) filled in their doctor's office instead of a retail pharmacy if given the choice. The research was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of Purkinje.

The study examined consumer attitudes of an FDA-approved service known as in-office medication dispensing or point-of-care dispensing. The practice involves distributing pre-packaged medications directly to patients at the point of care, saving them a trip to the pharmacy and allowing them to immediately begin their treatment.

Overall preference for office-based medication dispensing appears to be driven by the prospect of saving time and improving quality of care, according to Purkinje. A majority of respondents (84%) said such a service would be more convenient, and 62% said it would help them better manage their health.

According to their media statement, "Thousands of progressive medical and dental offices around the nation are adding medication dispensing as a way to heighten the patient experience and create a new source of revenue," said Tom Doerr, M.D., chief medical officer for Purkinje and a practicing physician. "Patients like the comfort of having their prescription filled in the privacy of their physician's office, and the convenience of starting their treatment right away."

Purkinje says software programs are usually integrated with in office medication dispensing services to double check to ensure patients are receiving the right medicine, cross-check against known allergies and look for potentially adverse interactions. Medications arrive in safety sealed bottles, they say, prepackaged offsite under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. Apparently, point of care dispensing can also be integrated with electronic medical records systems.

Our own brief research suggests the practice of in office medication dispensing (or point of care dispensing) has been around for more than 20 years, although it has failed to meet initial expectations. Although some 15,000 - 20,000 physicians dispense medications at the point of care, the vast majority of doctors do not offer this service.

This could mean one of two things. Either in office dispensing is a promising but untapped new service for physicians, or its promises don't hold up in real practice. Nevertheless, it appears a majority of Americans are receptive to this type of medication service in their physician offices.

Fair disclosure: Purkinje is currently a sponsor of this blog. (Note their advertisement)

1 comment:

Audra Dudenhoeffer said...

The study by Opinion Research Corporation is correct in concluding that at least 75% of patients would prefer to get their medications in the physicians’ offices. There have actually been studies stating as high as 90% of patients would prefer getting their medications at the point-of-care.

With over 21 years experience in this market, Physicians Total Care has determined that the following elements are essential to the success of a dispensing physician:
· The patient expects to be able to:
o Get all their medications at one place-The patient will go elsewhere if they cannot receive all the medications you prescribe. A limited inventory or cash and carry only inventory is a key to failure.
o Get their medications accurately and quickly-Use of repackaged bar-coded medications allows rapid, error free dispensing. In pharmacies, the error factor is around 5%.
o Process their pharmaceutical coverage-The patient must go elsewhere if you cannot process the claim.
o Get their refills from you-Nothing is accomplished if the patient must still go the pharmacy for refills.

· To meet patient expectations requires:
o Strong Physician Leadership.
o Training.
o Procedure and Flexibility.
o Team Effort.

We believe this is just an untapped new service for physicians. Over 400,000 physicians should be dispensing in their offices. Failures come from picking the wrong business model and poor execution. Dispensing is not “plug and play”.