Medication dispensing through a traditional pharmacy can be inconvenient to patients. It can even prove to be an additional expense.
It also opens up issues on privacy, compliance, and confidentiality.
The solution lies in enabling medical professionals to dispense medications at the point of care.
That doesn’t just create an overall better patient experience but an additional revenue stream.
The challenge, though, is in the execution一something Pharmalink promises to deliver.
PharmaLink is an all-encompassing service solution. It allows medical professionals to dispense medications to their patients directly and immediately after the appointment.
Their vision is to cater to all healthcare providers regardless of their specialization and practice size.
Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, PharmaLink started as a regional physician dispensing company way back in 2008.
It has steadily grown to a nationwide provider, dispensing pharmaceutical products.
Who Is This Product For?
While PharmaLink’s services will greatly benefit patients, they are designed specifically for healthcare providers.
Primarily those looking to create a new revenue stream. That is by dispensing medication to their clients rather than directing them to drugstores.
PharmaLink clients can expect an all-in-one online physician dispensing system.
It combines all the necessary features for a seamless experience.
Based on the information provided on their website, their program is customizable.
You can customize it according to your healthcare facility’s specific needs and medical field.
Overview of Features
Here is a lineup of their central platform’s main features:
- Turnkey Dispensing Solutions
PharmaLink promises to deliver everything one needs to start dispensing pharmaceutical products.
That includes prepackaged medication, sales software, and label printer.
This company prides itself as an all-in-one hub, after all.
- Flexible Payment System
Healthcare providers can choose from two payment options to secure inventory.
One is that they can pay for their pharmaceutical products upfront.
They can also opt for a consignment-type setup. In this option, you will only pay for the products successfully sold or those that have expired while in your inventory.
- Extensive Formulary
Their formulary includes more than 2000 prescription medicine.
That is both branded and generic, in various formulations, strengths, and forms.
They also guarantee that they have strictly partnered up with reputable suppliers.
These suppliers are USA-based pharmaceutical companies certified by the FDA and DEA.
The said certifications ensure quality assurance and legal compliance.
- Lowest Prices
In relation to the previous point, multiple suppliers also prevent backorders.
They also ensure that they can procure the lowest and most competitive rates for their clients.
- Excellent Inventory Management
Once received, an online dispensing platform will then allow real-time inventory management.
It will help you easily determine the current products on hand and supplies in need of replenishing.
- Automated PDMP Reporting
Pharmalink also automates the transmission of the required dispensing information with each transaction to your state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
This will save your staff from unnecessary effort and ensure more accurate data.
- Stellar Customer Support
While their customer support agents are only available during weekdays from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm EDT, they can still provide 24/7 customer support.
That is through their app monitoring and email capabilities, helping resolve any issue or query quickly.
They also have initial and ongoing training programs on the use of their platform at no extra cost.
- Simple Restocking
You can easily replenish your inventory by ordering your medication within the system.
Even more impressively, they have a smart system enforced for you.
It will help you learn a client’s particular buying habits for smoother and faster future transactions.
- Free Shipping
Finally, all their orders are processed daily and shipped within the same day on two-day air to ensure their arrival on time.
All shipping is at no cost and has no minimum order required.
- All-in-one platform
- Competitive prices
- Premium quality products
- Legally compliant
- Free shipping and training included
- The existing formulary can still be expanded.
How Does PharmaLink Work?
If you’re interested with Pharmalink, here’s how you can start and what you’ll expect:
1. Undergo Initial Training
As mentioned, PharmaLink offers both initial and ongoing training programs at no extra cost.
The training will help you get started in navigating their expansive all-in-one dispensing system from start to finish.
2. Choose Your Preferred Payment Program
You can opt for a standard 20-day billing arrangement and pay upfront whenever your medications are shipped.
For more positive cash flow, you can choose the on-dispense payment model.
3. Order Your Initial Inventory
Search the medications that you want to order.
If it’s available in their formulary, simply select your needed quantity using a dropdown list.
Then, place your order.
4. Receive Your Items
PharmaLink guarantees that they ship all orders within the same day.
It will also promptly arrive within 48 hours.
That is as long as you have met their order cut-off of 4:00 pm EDT.
5. Manage Your Inventory
Your platform will automatically update how much inventory you have based on your orders.
Updating the system with each transaction will allow better inventory management.
It will also ensure that all dispenses are reported promptly.
6. In-Office Dispensing
Select the medications for your patient within the system.
It will then confirm the prescriptions and print labels together with the expiration date.
Likewise, it will automatically take note of your current inventory based on activity.
7. Replenish Your Inventory
The platform will take note of your dispensing habits for a smoother reordering process.
It will also alert you of inventory updates.
Additionally, it will provide order recommendations based on current inventory to ensure you never run out of critical supply.
The Merits and Challenges of In-Office Pharmacy Dispensing
The practice of in-office dispensing is a relatively new business model that revolutionizes pharmaceutical practice.
As such, it comes as no surprise that there are various arguments in favor of and against it.
This industry continues to grow and expand with the ever-increasing medication dispensing systems made available each year.
The Benefits of In-Office Dispensing
Here are the merits of in-office dispensing:
- Improved Patient Compliance
The most significant benefit of physician dispensing has got to be increased patient compliance.
A paper published by the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings pointed out one of the main challenges of treating chronic illnesses.
That is approximately 50% of patients do not comply with their medications as prescribed despite the efficiency of pharmacotherapy.
In fact, as much as 30% of these prescriptions are not even filled at all. Physician or in-office dispensing mitigates this problem.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that a patient will finally adhere to their prescriptions.
However, the physician’s added influence to their medicine purchase applies enough pressure to motivate them to do so.
- Better Availability of Medicine
In relation to the previous point, the physician will also gain control over the availability of their prescription.
Another issue tied with compliance is the limits of traditional pharmacies.
Depending on the demand for a certain product, some prescriptions run out of stocks faster.
While a patient can always ask for an alternative, it is more likely for the patient to put off their treatment.
That is until they finally procure the physician’s specific prescription.
- Faster Treatment Timeline
To make matters worse, even patients who manage to fill out their prescriptions may not necessarily do so on time.
A lot of factors play a role in the immediate treatment of the patient.
That includes the pharmacy’s inconvenient location, long waiting lines, and repeat trips.
Fortunately, dispensing medications at the point of contact can eliminate all these factors.
It also proves more convenient. That is especially for patients dealing with physical disabilities, mobility issues, and other conditions that may limit their pharmacy visits.
- Increased Patient Privacy
Pharmacists do take patient privacy seriously. However, even the experience of visiting the pharmacy can result in much stress to a patient.
Most especially for those dealing with a highly sensitive medical condition.
That is indeed in stark difference from purchasing medications in the privacy of a doctor’s office.
Combine that with the more intimate relationship that a patient and doctor share with each other.
- Higher Revenue at Lower Cost
Another benefit of in-office dispensing is the added revenue it brings to your practice at a minimal cost.
At the same time, you can offer prescription medications to your patients at a lower price than big pharmacies.
It significantly enriches your practice with both profitable and fulfilling results.
The Downsides of Physician Dispensing
There are two major downsides to the practice of in-office pharmacy dispensing.
- Can Push Pharmaceutical Practice Out of the Equation
Regardless of where physicians stand on the issue, you still can’t overlook a pharmacist’s role in patient safety.
They remain to be more capable of catching prescription errors, drug incompatibilities, and adverse interaction effects better than any staff at a doctor’s office who may play a role at the dispensing.
- A Potential Conflict of Interest
While physicians are and must be held to a certain level of honor, you still can’t ignore the risk of a doctor prescribing medications based on their financial incentive.
It must certainly be explored since this industry continues to expand.
There are numerous medication dispensing systems already geared towards pharmacies.
In-office physician dispensing platforms, though, remains to be an exclusive industry with limited players.
Among the most popular ones are:
Of the existing platforms, we did find another service comparable to PharmaLink: ProficientRx.
While there is limited information about the company’s history on their website, they note that their management team is backed by 50 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry.
Like PharmaLink, they also offer an all-in-one medication dispensing platform.
However, what sets them apart is their added focus on repackaging.
They provide custom bottling solutions that can significantly benefit your practice’s brand and reputation.
On the other hand, ProficientRx didn’t mention PDMP reporting assistance like PharmaLink does.
This feature is of great importance to us since it eliminates the inconvenience of manually filing reports regularly.
Another service platform that proves comparable with PharmaLink is AdvancedRx.
Much like ProficientRx, there is also limited information on their company’s history on its website.
Even so, they have done well in garnering an impressive reputation in the industry.
Unlike the others, AdvancedRX offers two pharmacy programs to healthcare facilities.
One is point-of-care dispensing and the other is pharmacy partnership.
They recognize that not all practices prefer to take on the added responsibility of providing point-of-care dispensing services.
Instead, they propose an alternative. That is establishing a partnership with a pharmacy to cater to all of their patient prescription needs.
AdvancedRx’s dispensary services may seem to be bare-bones compared to PharmaLink or ProficientRx.
Still, it does come with an inventory management system, in-house billing services, monthly reporting, and other fundamental features.
Physician practice in-office pharmacy dispensing is still relatively new as an industry, and PharmaLink is one of its pioneers.
Should one decide to integrate this service into their practice, PharmaLink definitely deserves consideration.
Why PharmaLink Is a Top Choice
PharmaLink offers a turnkey solution. It covers everything a physician might need to add pharmaceutical dispensing to their practice.
That is from ordering the products from their formulary to creating automated PDMP reports.
Every feature is within just a few clicks within their online platform.
It is even further equipped with smart capabilities that can assist in noting prescription habits and managing inventory.
ProficientRx and AdvancedRx are also notable alternatives that one could look into.
ProficientRx’s strength lies in customizing their pharmaceutical products to benefit the clinic’s brand.
AdvancedRx, on the other hand, is perfect for those looking to partner with an established pharmacy, supported by basic point-of-care dispensary services.
Things To Keep in Mind
As with any new industry, you can expect the challenges that physician practice in-office pharmacy dispensing face.
The main concern is that it seemingly threatens pharmaceutical practice itself. It can also trigger issues on conflicts of interest.
Still, it does open a lot of avenues. That includes increasing patient compliance and improving patient privacy and healthcare confidentiality.
Another is providing priceless convenience, especially to patients with special needs.
In the end, the choice relies on which service will better augment the specific goals of your practice.