Food delivery, car services, those ridiculously expensive mini-bar peanuts: We’re used to convenience coming at a premium. Indeed, most of us are of the mindset that “if it’s easy, it must cost a fortune—if it’s a good deal, there must be a catch.”
Americans spend over $177 billion a year on services that make life easier, but what if saving time didn’t have to sabotage our bank accounts? That’s the idea behind ZOOM+Care’s in-clinic medication dispensing program, which helps us provide quick, convenient relief to our patients.
Our ZOOM+Care clinics stock 100+ common, over-the-counter and prescription medicines. In most instances, you can walk out with your meds in hand—that means no more driving to the pharmacy and waiting for your prescription to be filled. (If we don’t carry your prescription in-clinic, no problem. We can fill it at our central pharmacy, and have it delivered to your home or office.)
The best part? There’s no catch. In this case, convenience really doesn’t come at a cost. Half of our prescription medications are $10 or less, and 5 out of 6 are under $20. We carry generics, which means there’s no brand name markup, and we have no relationship to big pharma.
Long story short, ZOOM+Care’s pharmacy programs are just another way we deliver on our promise of it Twice-Half-Ten: twice the health, half the price, ten times the delight.
We sat down with Thad Mick, our VP of Pharmaceutical Programs & Diagnostic Services, to learn more about why our unique approach to pharmacy is so important, and how it saves our patients time, money, and a whole lot of stress.
Convenience and cost aren’t just nice things to have—they’re actually really, really important when it comes to medications. Can you explain why?
Sure! Believe it or not, nonadherence to prescribed medications is responsible for anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of all hospitalizations. Around 20 percent to 30 percent of all prescribed medications go unfilled.
As we evaluate why patients choose not to fill their prescriptions, there are several reasons. Cost is a major obstacle. If the co-pay of a drug is $50 or more, adherence drops. Access is another deterrent. Getting the prescription filled may be too complicated, or too much of challenge in someone’s busy day-to-day life.
The goal of ZOOM+Care’s pharmacy program is to educate, inform, and make medications as accessible and affordable as possible. We want to remove yet another barrier to patients getting the treatment they need.
We carry over 100 common medications in our clinics, so patients can walk out the doors with their prescriptions in hand. What about the less common medications? Can ZOOM+Care take care of those prescriptions as well?
Absolutely. We have a central pharmacy that provides all of our unit-of-use medications.
A little bit of context here: Each of our clinics receive medications from our Central Pharmacy. Our central pharmacy stocks all of our medications, and then our clinics dispense them. There’s a common misconception that we have pharmacies inside of our clinics, which isn’t accurate—we just dispense medications there. However, all of our clinics are licensed and registered with the DEA.
Even if we don’t have the medication you need available in-clinic, our central pharmacy can fill the medications prescribed. And when patients have their prescriptions filled through our central pharmacy they can pick it up in person, or we can have it delivered to their home or office, which is an added bonus.
What types of medications do we most commonly stock inside our clinics?
We primarily stock medications used to treat symptomatic conditions. Think about going for a hike on Saturday, and waking up Sunday morning with a rash covering your legs. Or waking up Wednesday morning with a sore throat and nagging cough. Or picking up your daughter from a sleep over and discovering she has goopy, itchy eyes. These are the types of medications we have available in each of our clinics. We stock these prescription meds, so that our patients can get in, receive the medical care they need, and get out with the meds in hand. This allows them to feel better sooner, etc. We also adjust what we stock-based on factors like seasonality and in-clinic demand.
How do our pharmacy and in-clinic dispensing programs tie into Zoom’s promise of fast, affordable, reliable care?
At ZOOM+Care, most of our visits are 15 minutes—and there’s no wait. It’s a totally “waitless” experience. Our goal is to continue that “waitlessness” through the entire patient experience.
Let’s say you’re diagnosed with bacterial sinusitis—a condition that’s common this time of year, and one that requires an antibiotic. That antibiotic is available for you right there in the clinic, and you can take your first dose of medications before walking out the door. Plus, you won’t have to drive to a pharmacy and wait for your prescription to be filled—and then wait again to pay for it. Within 20 minutes of arriving at ZOOM+Care, you’re free to get on with your life, with medication in-hand.
We also try to eliminate the access burden of cost. Most of our medications are less than an insurance co-pay, and far less than the cash pay price at community pharmacies. We use our platform and our position to provide medical care in a way that offers exceptional value to our patients. We want our patients to get better sooner. We’re not trying to make a fortune on medication.
I think there’s a misconception that convenience is costly. You’re saying there’s no upcharge with our in-clinic medications?
Not at all. Like I said, most of our medications are less than the cost of an insurance copay. And if you’re paying cash, it’s less than anywhere in Portland and Seattle by far. Our costs are usually less than what you pay at your neighborhood community pharmacy.
How are we able to provide these medications at such a low cost?
Our average medication cost is $10. Part of how we keep the price down is by stocking generic medications. We have a few brand medications in our clinic—like rescue inhalers for people with respiratory issues, for example—but most all of our medications are generic.
And it’s important to remember that—unlike generic laundry detergent, where maybe it doesn’t smell as nice, or your clothes don’t come out as clean—generic medications are the same as name brand medications. The FDA requires generics to be “equivalent,” meaning they have the exact same active ingredients. The only difference between generic and brand-name medicines are the inactive ingredients, such as flavoring or preservatives. And of course, the cost!
You mentioned that most patients can take their first dose of medication in-clinic. What are the benefits of this?
One benefit is that there’s no delay in treatment. You can start your journey to feeling better immediately.
Another benefit is that it gives you the chance to ask all your questions—and really get informed about your medications—right there in the clinic. Normally, a doctor prescribes a medication, and then your pharmacist talks to you about how to take it. At ZOOM+Care, all of this happens in the clinic. The doctor will do a complete review of all the medications you’re taking, then talk you through the common side effects that you might experience, as well as adverse reactions and things to watch out for. Additionally, we have a full pharmacy team available to any of our patients.
Our in-clinic dispensing offers convenience with zero downside. Why do you think patients opt out?
I think the main reason why our patients opt out is the fear of cost. There’s a huge misconception that our medications are more expensive, or “boutique.” A lot of our patients believe they can get a better deal, less expensive medication elsewhere.
Maybe people are fooled by our cute ZOOM+Care prescription bottles?
Maybe! They definitely are cute.
To wrap things up, boil down what the ZOOM+Care pharmacy does into to an elevator ride explanation for us.
We offer fast, affordable medications for patients, delivered in an on-demand way.
You don’t have to wait, and you don’t have to go through the complexities and hurdles that your traditional medical system has set out for you to get prescription medications when you need them. ZOOM+Care’s pharmacy offers our patients safe, affordable, and easily accessible meds to get you feeling better, quicker.