Point-of-care testing is a hot topic for our industry right now, and for good reason: the service allows pharmacists to enhance revenue while providing a convenient care option for patients. Point-of-care testing gives patients and their families the ability to get screened and treated for certain conditions in a single visit to the pharmacy. Aside from convenience and time saved for patients, this service also fills an important gap within the healthcare continuum – an alarming shortage of physicians. The Association of American Medical Colleges recently published a study predicting that the U.S. will experience a shortage of up to nearly 122,000 physicians by 20321 – this, in the face of a growing demand for care amongst an aging population, presents pharmacists an opportunity to serve as comprehensive care providers for their community.
As patients look for more convenient ways to manage their health, the local pharmacy becomes an obvious choice – patients want pharmacies to be their one-stop shop for many health services. In addition to physician shortages and consumer preferences, payers will also drive growth. In fact, Deloitte’s market report predicts that point-of-care testing services “are anticipated to surpass immunizations to drive revenue,” due in part to payers wanting earlier detection of high-cost diseases.2
Now, about this additional revenue: while it’s up to you to decide how you’ll charge for point-of-care testing (whether patients will pay the full fee, or you’ll seek reimbursement), pricing typically ranges from $30-50 per test, depending on the type of service.3
Getting Started with Point-of-care Testing
On board and wanting to get started? Congratulations! Before you jump in, there are a few important steps to consider as you prepare to offer effective and advantageous point-of-care testing in your pharmacy.
First, you must obtain a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) Waiver. In 1988, Congress passed the CLIA with the goal of establishing quality standards for laboratory tests performed using samples derived from a human body. Essentially, a CLIA waiver allows your pharmacy to act as a laboratory to run tests on bodily fluids. Among additional steps, you must complete and submit the CMS 116 form to the appropriate state agency. Plan ahead: obtaining a CLIA waiver can take several weeks, and biennial renewal is necessary. In addition, it’s important to refer to your state board of pharmacy to ensure proper adherence to legislative requirements for point-of-care testing.
Testing Equipment Needs
Ensure successful point-of-care testing with proper equipment and supplies. Equipping your pharmacy with necessary resources and tools will allow you to administer consistent and effective patient care services. Understandably, testing equipment varies largely depending on the type of tests you will be offering in your pharmacy. Take influenza or strep throat testing, for example. You may opt for using an analyzer that will read, display, and even save and transmit test results, or choose a less costly manual process. Regardless, testing swabs and several reagents will be needed to properly analyze the sample. Not to worry – the necessary equipment is likely to come prepackaged from your wholesaler.
Questions about requirements and equipment? We have you covered. At PrescribeWellness, we offer tailored guidance on the necessary steps for application completion and available equipment for flu and strep testing in the pharmacy.
You’ll also want to consider the operational and workflow requirements of point-of-care testing in your pharmacy. When, how, and where in your pharmacy will the tests be conducted? What are the steps of care beyond the test? Will there be a follow up?
Creating a clean workflow is something that we think about a lot with our tools and technology, and it’s why our CompleteCare solution allows you to document point-of-care testing for three of the most common ailments: strep, influenza, and urinary tract infections. This means PrescribeWellness provides you with eCare plan templates that allow you to streamline the entire care process from start to finish. This includes documentation of encounters, and if applicable, the ability to submit services for reimbursement.
CompleteCare also allows pharmacists to easily alert patients of point-of-care offerings via phone or interactive two-way texting – making it easier to get the word out to patients before they, or a loved one, find themselves scrambling for a flu or strep test. Getting ahead of your patients’ health needs is a major workflow win for your pharmacy!
Point-of-care testing provides a fantastic opportunity to expand your pharmacy’s scope of services so that you can practice at the top of your license. PrescribeWellness is committed to facilitating the implementation of these comprehensive services so that you can focus on providing convenient and personalized care to your patients.
Next Steps for Success
Connect with us today to discuss expanding your care capabilities and revenue opportunities through point-of-care testing. PrescribeWellness offers the solutions needed to not only get you started, but to also ensure you are capitalizing on available and critical opportunities. Take for example PrescribeWellness’ collaborative practice agreement (CPA) offerings, which enable community pharmacists, pursuant to individual state requirements, to provide and be compensated for preventive services such as point-of-care testing. Through a CPA, you yourself could begin furnishing medications, based on testing results, without having to refer patients to a prescriber!
We look forward to hearing from you.
1 Association of American Medical Colleges, “New Findings Confirm Predictions on Physicians Shortage,” April 23, 2019, https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/press-releases/new-findings-confirm-predictions-physician-shortage.
2 Deloitte, “Retail Health and Wellness: Innovation, Convergence, and Healthier Consumers,” 2015, https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/risk/us-risk-deloitte-retail-health-and-wellness.pdf.
3 Alex J. Adams and Michael E. Klepser, APhA 2016 Conference Presentation, “Quick Read: Do Point-of-Care Tests Add Value?”, https://aphameeting.pharmacist.com/sites/default/files/slides/Quick%20Read%20Point%20of%20Care_handout.pdf.