Specialty pharmacy refers to the channels of distribution designed to deal with specialty drugs. Medications used to treat rare or complex health conditions are provided by a specialist pharmacy. Many times, most people don’t use these drugs, so a local pharmacy wouldn’t hold them in stock. For patients in need of access to prescription drugs for complex disorders, such as cancer and multiple sclerosis, specialty pharmacies are a valuable resource.
Service plays an important role in how effective patients with specialty drugs are in treating chronic diseases. There are certain services that you could expect to be available to help you manage the process if you partner with a specialty pharmacy for treatment.
We’ll have a look at service expectations you should have from a specialty pharmacy:
Difference between specialty and retail pharmacies
The diseases treated and drugs dispensed are the main difference between specialty and retail pharmacies. For short-term illnesses, patients often visit traditional retail pharmacies. This could include allergies, minor injuries, headaches, the common cold, and more. The majority of drugs sold by retail pharmacies require little explanation and are not too difficult for patients to administer. Complex and chronic illnesses are the focus of specialty pharmacies. Retail pharmacy-treated conditions require a more hands-on approach.
This includes conditions like transplant, hepatitis, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV, and more. Medications to treat these conditions often have complex, difficult-to-manage regimens or side effects. It also takes more time and hands-on medical treatment to manage these conditions. Specialty pharmacies excel at this. Specialty pharmacies have the staff and equipment to interact with patients on a regular basis to provide further help, ensure adherence to drugs, and boost performance.
Pharmacist and Staff Availability
Specialist pharmacists are disease-state-focused, with the advanced clinical experience required to advise patients about complicated medical conditions. There is additional support personnel at specialty pharmacies that are not required by retail pharmacies. Although some specialty pharmacies provide assistance only during business hours, many provide patients with 24/7 support services. If you are choosing a specialty pharmacy, search for a pharmacist that is available on a daily basis to meet directly with patients and help them manage their prescription drug regimens.
Educational Resources and Support
Comprehensive patient counseling and education are required for chronic conditions treated by specialty pharmacies. In medication regimens for some conditions, there is no room for error, and comprehensive patient education and support can make a massive difference in terms of compliance. Ask about the educational services that would be available when choosing a specialty pharmacy to answer any queries or doubts you may have about care.
Medication Adherence Programs
Up to 50 percent of treatment failures and almost 25% of hospitalizations can be attributed to non-adherence of medication each year. Adherence to medication may have a direct effect on patient outcomes, which is why many specialty pharmacies have adherence services designed to help patients better manage care. A few examples of the specialty pharmacies can enhance adherence are text message prescription alerts and smart pill bottles.
Financial Resources and Assistance
Many specialty pharmacies provide patients with helpful financial support to help them gain access to the specialty drugs they need to prevent any treatment disruption. Specialty pharmacy personnel, for instance, may contact insurance providers to complete the prior patient authorization process.
In an attempt to minimize costs, they also work directly with drug manufacturers and non-profit agencies to help patients register for financial aid services. Specialty pharmacies also validate the insurance details of patients and establish the order of payers to ensure that patients receive more of their benefits.
These are some of the main programs provided by specialty pharmacies to help distinguish themselves from retail pharmacies and better support patients with specialty drugs that are battling complicated conditions.
About Medical Billers and Coders
We are catering to more than 40 specialties, Medical Billers and Coders (MBC) is proficient in handling services that range from revenue cycle management to ICD-10 testing solutions. The main goal of our organization is to assist physicians looking for billers and coders.