How physician dispensing improves patient care at Comprehensive Urologic Care.
As more oral medications become available, physician dispensing has become an increasingly vital component of specialty healthcare. True to its name, Comprehensive Urologic Care sought to add physician dispensing as one more way to provide a single source of care—particularly as the practice began to treat more advanced prostate cancer.
“Our goal is to provide patients with more treatment options,” said Dan Schonwald, Practice Administrator. “We recognize physician dispensing as an important addition to help us do that. Patients are already visiting us once a month for treatment. It just makes sense to give them the option of picking up their medications while they’re here.”
Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions was already distributing products to the practice. With the added value of its group purchasing organization—VitalSource™ GPO—the practice found the one-stop physician dispensing solution it was seeking.
“They offered a better solution than anyone else,” Schonwald said. “And in our view, it’s better to do all of our purchasing from a single source, so that we can receive more comprehensive service. When I see an opportunity or have an issue, I’d rather make one phone call than several to get the job done. When I call VitalSource™ GPO, I know I’ll receive a quick response. I heard that physician dispensing programs can be a challenge to get started, but VitalSource™ GPO made it all go as smoothly as possible.”
“Physician dispensing is a better experience for patients and their caregivers,” said Richard B. Troy, MD, FACS. “Big-box-store pharmacies don’t know our patients on a first-name basis like we do, so the comfort level here is much higher. Plus, obtaining medications at our practice is more discrete than potentially bumping into someone they know at a local pharmacy.”
Obtaining medications at the practice also helps improve adherence. Patients are more likely to fill the prescriptions and take their medications if they can pick them up while already at the practice, instead of having to visit a local retail pharmacy or contact a specialty pharmacy.
Just as important, Dr. Troy and other practice physicians can counsel patients on their medications right in the office and discuss potential risks and side effects—versus getting that information from a handout or package insert. Many patients are older, so they and their caregivers have more time to get all of their questions answered.
In short, physician dispensing is not only more convenient, it also supports better patient care. And there are financial advantages for the practice and the patient as well.
“We spend a lot of time getting patients qualified for medications,” Dr. Troy said. “Until now, there was no way for us to be compensated for that time. With physician dispensing, we can capture new revenue that would otherwise be unavailable to us. At the same time, we have better control of the cost to the patient—to help ensure it’s reasonable. We can review if a patient’s plan will cover the prescribed drug or if a lower-cost alternative is available. We can also help the patient enroll in financial assistance programs, if needed.”