Dermatologists trying to boost practice revenue might add a device in hopes of making a profit on a cosmetic option or a skincare product line sold through the practice.
Another option — one that’s available to dermatologists whether or not they offer cosmetic services — is in-office prescription medicine prescribing. This topic was discussed during the May 2017 Aesthetics and Medical Dermatology symposia in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Using the Prescriber’s Choice model, dermatologists and other physicians purchase an Rx mixing machine for $1,400; then mark up the topical prescriptions they sell through the office by about 100%. While the model doesn’t support oral medication dispensing, prescribers can customize topical medicines for just about any dermatologic diagnosis, including acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, melasma, dermatitis, alopecia, nail fungus, skin fungus and more, says Spencer J. Malkin, D.C., C.E.O., Prescriber’s Choice.
Even with the markup, patients often end up paying the same or less for the drugs than they’d pay with many co-payments. Patients also get the benefit of not having to go through insurance or to the pharmacy, he says.
Just how much practices make dispensing prescription topicals depends not only how much doctors prescribe, but also on how much medication practices want to purchase and hold in inventory and what types they’re purchasing.
“Prescriber’s Choice offers practices the option of increasing revenue, but it also has the ability to enhance the physician-patient relationship. There are a number of clinical benefits to both sides of the equation. First and foremost, the physician is able to practice in a manner that [he or she] feels is best for the patient, not being encumbered by a disinterested third party payer,” Dr. Malkin says. “By dispensing pharmacologics, physicians have the ability to have a better sense of exactly what the patient is receiving, and there’s a better likelihood that patients will be compliant if the medications come directly from the physician.”
To make the most of the business of in-office dispensing, Dr. Malkin suggests dermatologists work with the company’s sales consultant to analyze practice demographics, numbers of patients and patient conditions. The analysis helps determine what types of compounds doctors should purchase and how much of each of compound to have on hand to best treat their patients and drive revenue.
Prescriber’s Choice recently launched cosmeceutical and cosmetic products and an app that seamlessly makes recommendations for supplemental products as the patient checks out of his or her appointment.
According to Dr. Malkin, the doctor prescribes, for example, a retinoid topical through Prescriber’s Choice. The patient purchases the prescription topical in the office. If the practice also has the MyPC app, the prescription will generate a customized leaflet and recommendations for nonprescription therapeutic and cosmetic topicals to complement the prescription. In the case of the retinoid prescription, the app might suggest a particular sunscreen sold in the office. The app goes so far as to recommend tiered pricing of products, so if a patient can’t afford one recommendation, there might be another more affordable option.
It takes the burden of selling off the doctor, while promoting products sold through the office, according to Dr. Malkin.
Disclosure: Dr. Malkin owns Prescriber’s Choice.