Maintaining an in-office dispensary is often an energy – and money – demanding undertaking that, unless you’re really good at it, can quickly become a losing venture. If there is one financial loss I loathe, it’s an almost-expired expensive bottle of product(s) sitting on the shelf that we’ve stopped frequently prescribing. For me, these pockets of lost product are gut punches of waste.
This month’s sponsored blog from our friends at Fullscript, offers a great solution to this common problem. Specifically, from Alex Keller, ND, who, as the medical director at Fullscript and a practicing clinician himself (in addition to organic farmer), has loads of experience with the virtual dispensary model.
I am curious: are you using a virtual dispensary in practice now? Has it been a game changer for you? Let me know in the comments section below the blog, and thanks for reading, sharing, and commenting!
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Every integrative practitioner has been there – you spend thousands of dollars stocking your shelves with supplements and other health products, only to throw them away when they expire. You struggle to manage the inventory, find space for products that need to be refrigerated, and you’re constantly checking prices to make sure you’re competitive and fair. All of this adds up to time, money, and hassle.
Thankfully, the model for dispensing supplements is changing, and successful clinics are adopting a new way to get the right products in the hands of their patients. A virtual dispensary is one of the best ways to grow your practice and improve patient care. These technology platforms make supplementation more convenient and efficient for you and your patients. This is why I put together a list of specific ways a virtual dispensing platform (I work with one called Fullscript) can grow your practice.
Online dispensing will expand patient access to products and create efficiencies for your clinic. Relying solely on an in-office dispensary means you may be limited by storage space or inventory costs. You also have to worry about storage temperature, pricing, and expired product. If you choose to dispense online, you don’t have to worry about any of that! A dispensary like Fullscript offers a catalog of over 300 supplement brands, priced and stored according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This means your patients can access more products and your clinic can cut costs and eliminate hassle.
Increase Patient Adherence
Practitioners agree that patient adherence is critical for successful outcomes. Unfortunately, we all know that patients can easily stray from their treatment plans. You give them that first bottle in office, but what about bottles number two and three? The refills are where we lose them.
Patients often don’t have time to visit your clinic to purchase more supplements. It’s easier to stock up on low-potency, low-quality products while they’re doing their weekly shopping at Costco or Walmart. Or alternatively, they end up buying counterfeit versions of the products you recommended from unauthorized resellers on Amazon. Without your guidance, they’re unintentionally making decisions that impact the effectiveness of your protocol.
A personalized treatment plan through a virtual dispensary is the best way to ensure that your patients can access the exact products you recommend, exactly when they need them. Fullscript makes creating and monitoring treatment plans simple and efficient. You can create a new prescription within minutes, or you can choose to start from a pre-made template. The results are unequivocal: personalized treatment plans deliver a 153% increase in re-orders over referring patients to a regular e-commerce experience.
To further increase patient adherence to treatment plans, Fullscript also offers Automated Refill Reminders. Based on the dosage instructions you’ve provided, an email reminder to reorder is sent to the patient several days before they run out of their recommended products. Fullscript’s algorithm accounts for treatment plans with multiple products, and products with different servings per bottle.
“It’s a powerful tool – up to 70% of a practitioner’s revenue can come from refills.” – Richard Powell, Fullscript Product Manager.
A good virtual dispensary will also give your patients the option to have their products auto-shipped at a regular cadence of their choosing. If a patient selects Autoship with their first order, they never even have to think about re-ordering. Products arrive just when they need them. I always recommend that my busiest and more forgetful patients order all of their products through Fullscript using Autoship.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about using the Fullscript virtual dispensary is that it can integrate with other practitioner platforms. For example, Fullscript integrates with a number of leading Electronic Health Record platforms. These integrations are revolutionary for practitioner workflow. You can now integrate your favorite EHR with Fullscript, and consolidate the patients’ records and prescriptions in one place. There is no other platform that integrates a dietary supplement prescribing experience with electronic health record platforms.
The most important point about virtual dispensing is that it improves patient care. Tools like Fullscript save us time and money and allow us to empower ourselves and our staff to provide an elevated standard of care through technology and workflow efficiencies.
Fullscript will continue to support practitioners in pushing the boundaries of innovation within integrative healthcare, and I’m proud to be a part of that journey.