The treatment landscape for complex, chronic diseases continues to evolve. The number of self-administered injectable and oral therapy options is increasing rapidly. These therapies account for more than half of the drugs in Phase III clinical trials for complex conditions.

There may not be a better time for rheumatology and gastroenterology practices to consider adding an in-office dispensary or pharmacy to their operations. In-office dispensing can provide their patients with access to key oral and self-injectable therapies and can open a new potential revenue stream for practices.

Here are the top five reasons rheumatology and gastroenterology practices should consider adding an in-office dispensary or pharmacy:

1. The practice becomes a one-stop shop

By adding an in-office dispensary or pharmacy, practices can provide patients with the full range of treatment options at one site. Whether patients receive intravenous therapy or need to fill a prescription for self-injectable or oral medications, they will be able to access the therapies they need from a team of health professionals they know and trust. Whether single or multi-agent therapy, oral or injectable, patients will enjoy the convenience of leaving their office visits with their medications in hand.

2. A holistic approach to patient care

When drugs are delivered in a practice setting, the practice’s clinical staff is there to address any questions, compliance concerns or side-effect issues while having a holistic view of the patient's care. Patients can begin taking oral medications or learn how to self-inject medications under the supervision of health care providers who know them and understand their full treatment program. If a clinician needs to adjust a medication or dosage, it can easily be done in the office rather than going back-and-forth with a mail order or external pharmacy.

3. Gives patients peace of mind

The patient experience is paramount, especially in a health care world that's moving toward more personalized and customized value-based care. Offering oral and self-injectable medications at a practice helps increase patient satisfaction and enhances the level of care and adherence that can be attained. When patients are dealing with something as serious as Crohn's disease or as debilitating as rheumatoid arthritis, having all their medical needs met under one roof can reduce stress just when they need it most. An in-office dispensary or pharmacy allows the practice’s staff to help patients with concerns about cost, coverage and patient assistance, bringing the pharmacy closer to the patient and the physician closer to the pharmacy.

4. Additional revenue for practices

Now more than ever, physicians see an in-office dispensing model as an avenue to tap into a new revenue stream while offering the best service for their patients. As with any new business venture, starting an in-office dispensing program requires investing in the resources needed to succeed. However, this additional revenue stream is an added benefit to any practice as they can now realize savings opportunities available through exclusive group purchasing organization pricing on many self-administered pharmaceutical products such as Simponi® and Stelara®.

5. The support needed is available

Developing a new business model may seem daunting, yet help is available in the form of consulting services specifically focused on launching and optimizing an in-office dispensary or pharmacy. Practices that are considering adding these services should seek out support from a qualified vendor who understands the complexities of in-office dispensing. A vendor like McKesson Specialty Health can provide assistance with technology, contracting, distribution, compliance and performance analytics.

For these five reasons, it is an exciting time for rheumatology and gastroenterology practices to consider adding in-office dispensing to gain a competitive edge in an increasingly complex and competitive environment.

For additional details on the benefits of incorporating in-office dispensing at a practice’s site of care, please listen to our recent 30 minute webinar.

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About the author

Sean has been with McKesson Specialty Health’s In-Office Dispensing team for nearly a year. Previously, he served as a pharmacy manager and district pharmacy supervisor with Walgreens for over 20 years overseeing 35 Walgreens locations. Sean earned his degree in pharmacy from Drake University and currently holds pharmacy licenses in the states of Illinois and Florida.