Combining physician dispensing and drug consignment to improve patient and practice health at The Urology Group
Physician dispensing has long been an effective strategy for improving patient care.
For The Urology Group, adding a drug consignment program has made a good thing even better. The combination of both solutions is making a significant impact on the health of patients and practice alike. As a result, The Urology Group is better prepared to meet the growing cost and quality challenges of value-based care:
“We had tried a physician dispensing pilot program once before, using automated dispensing machines (ADMs) from another company. But it didn’t work as well as we had hoped,” said Jonathan Gundler, Senior Accountant/Financial Analyst and Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt of The Urology Group.
The practice already had a strong relationship with VitalSource™ GPO and was taking advantage of its extensive contract portfolio to minimize costs. “We turned to our GPO’s physician dispensing program to help ensure implementation would go smoothly this time,” Gundler said. “And it did—we’re very happy with the results.”
The Urology Group uses Lean Six Sigma principles to help drive efficient dispensing and manage inventory. As one of four Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belts at the practice, Gundler leads the effort. His Black Belt colleagues include two nurses focused on clinical improvements and one on IT. Together, they’re using data to drive better decision making throughout the practice.
“Our goal in leveraging the Six Sigma approach was to get more organized—improving both workflow and patient flow,” Gundler said. That process led to converting a conference room into a pharmacy. “We’ve increased efficiency so much that we’re saving about six hours per week for each technician. And now we can handle more volume, because we’ve improved processes from ordering to dispensing to billing and reimbursement.”
As the next natural step beyond physician dispensing, The Urology Group implemented a drug consignment program via VitalSource™ GPO. With it, the practice doesn’t pay for drugs in inventory until they’re dispensed.
The consignment approach provides the practice with several new advantages:
Before The Urology Group implemented the drug consignment program, pharmacy technicians would spend a lot of time ordering and managing inventory manually. “Now, we just set par levels and let the system work for us,” Gundler said. “There’s no time wasted and no miscommunication. Everything happens automatically and accurately.”
While market pressures are seeking to limit access to physician dispensing services, VitalSource™ GPO is expanding services by adding drug consignment and offering a more complete pharmacy solution. The benefits are clear: “Greater revenue, better adherence, more convenient and an improved patient experience: the physician dispensing and consignment solution is a win for everyone,” Gundler said.