A Comprehensive Guide on Transitioning to a Virtual Dispensary | Fullscript
Written Aug 28th, 2014 by Franco Varriano

A Comprehensive Guide on Transitioning to a Virtual Dispensary

Chances are, you have started a practice with a physical dispensary, but are starting to get tired of the cost and expired products that you constantly have to manage.  You’re not alone; practitioners from across the board have spoken up about this headache. Here are just some of them:

John Nowicki“One of the main issues I was having was maintaining stock. I always seemed to have supplements on the shelf, but they never seemed to be the ones the patients needed! So I often found myself stressing out and placing multiple special orders.”
- Dr. John Nowicki, ND

Lindsey Nelson ND“I felt that if I was to stay true to treating every patient as an individual, and that each treatment is tailored specifically to them then making them take home only what I had in stock seemed hypocritical. I am not in the business of selling supplements; I am in the business of helping patients feel better.”
- Dr. Lindsey Nelson, ND

Jennifer Saul MD“Before Fullscript, my patients were paying too much at local health stores for their nutritional supplements. My patients were also phoning me frequently to clarify what I had written or advised. For example, I would repeatedly get the phone call ‘are you sure you meant zinc picolinate and not zinc sulfate?”
- Dr. Jennifer Saul, MD

These practitioners and several others were gracious enough to provide us with some insights and tips on how they made the switch from a physical to a Fullscript virtual dispensary. All of them unanimously said it was an easy and smooth process.

1. Pick a meaningful transition date

Corey Schuler“When you choose a date for moving away from your physical dispensary, give it meaning and allow it to coincide with other changes in your office.
For example, I moved offices and when I did, the dispensary stayed behind. Adding an associate, grand re-openings, new build-out, or the introduction of a new services are other good examples of when to make the change.”
- Dr. Corey Schuler

Don’t forget that when you complete your Fullscript setup, your patients receive free shipping on their first order. It gives them an incentive to start using your virtual dispensary right away.

2. Clear out your current inventory except for acute products

Though Fullscript carries both acute and non-acute products, several practitioners have suggested stocking a few acutes for your office. When your patients need a refill, instead of driving back to your clinic, they can order what they need through Fullscript. Here, our practitioners share some great tips on how to clear your inventory and how to stock your acute products.

Jennifer Letellier“I have changed my inventory on my shelves to mostly acute items (for UTI’s, URI’s, Otitis media, etc), as well as items that I test on patients to see which product their body likes the best, and then I’ll order them through Fullscript.”
- Dr. Jennifer Letellier, ND

Corey Schuler“Clearing your inventory is like a detox with some spiritual connotations. Let it go! Discount your current inventory until it almost hurts. What doesn’t sell, consider donating to a clinic serving low-income patients and write it off (be sure to check with your tax advisor to be sure you can do this).”
- Dr. Corey Schuler

Amy Day

“Request samples from the manufacturer’s of your most popular products and/or the most urgent ones that would be difficult to wait 2-3 days for delivery to begin.”
- Dr. Amy Day, ND

3. Establish categories within Fullscript

Did you know you could customize your Fullscript catalog like you would for your physical dispensary? Click for instructions

Jaie Bosse“The most important thing for me was getting my own Fullscript product catalog established. Once I did that I was very easily able to add products to prescriptions. A patient could come in with allergies, and I’d open my “allergy” section and add in Vitamin C and allergy-tea, etc. Also, I always save the dosing information so that it self-populates the next time. 90% of the time I am dosing a product the same way patient to patient.”
- Dr. Jaie Bosse, ND

“I set up my categories based on condition like adrenal fatigue, PCOS etc. Others may find it more helpful to list herbs by mechanism of action. Use what makes sense to you.. it is completely customizable!”
- Dr. Rebecca Berzow, ND

Below are just some of the categories Dr. Crystal Abernathy uses on her Fullscript catalogt:

  • Adrenal Support
  • Allergy Formulas
  • Anti-Oxidants
  • Anxiety
  • Cleanse
  • Critter Cleanse (yeast, Bacteria, Parasites)
  • Essential Oils
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Omega-3 Fish Oil
  • Pain Relief
  • Probiotics
  • Sleep Formulas
  • Thyroid Support
  • Vitamins
  • Women’s Health

4. Announce to your patients

Once you have imported your patients to Fullscript, you can use the broadcast tool to send a message to your patients and announce any discounts/free shipping promotions that are being offered.

“Import your patient list into Fullscript, but make sure they have a valid email address before doing so. This is also a great time to tweak any individuals for whom you may want to give more of a discount to, like a sliding-scale or long-time loyal patient for example. Utilize the broadcast feature once you are all setup and let your patients know they can have access to buy supplements whenever they need online!”
- Dr. Rebecca Berzow, ND

Corey Schuler“Announce your cool new system. When I first started my virtual dispensary, I announced it via newsletter (and steep discount) to my patient list for 30 days. I had an immediate response followed by a group who ordered just before the deadline.”
- Dr. Corey Schuler

Crystal Abernathy“Send out a group email to all your patients announcing the change, and telling them to look for an email from you via Fullscript. Then send out a “Broadcast” from Fullscript to all your patients making the announcement again, and letting them know to contact you if they have questions. Tell all new patients about the new virtual dispensary at the end of the appt.”
- Dr. Crystal Abernathy, ND

5. Write prescriptions

What differentiates Fullscript from other supplement storefronts is our virtual prescription feature, which not only saves you time, but also improves patient adherence.

John Nowicki“If there is a supplement that I want to prescribe, I do so right in the office with the patient. I get them entered into the system (which is as simple as adding their first and last names and their email address), and create the prescription with the patient while explaining the purpose of the prescription and the dosing instructions. I then tell them they will get an email from Fullscript with the prescription and explain that all they need to do is click on the link, create an account, fill out the payment info, and it will be shipped directly to their home. I also explain that if they need to reorder, it is simple since their info is securely stored - so they don’t have to re-enter everything again.”
- Dr. John Nowicki, ND

Aarti Patel“I used to spend a lot of time writing out a treatment plan on paper or emailing a detailed plan out to patients. It took me more time than I enjoyed in the end. Since I started using Fullscript, I’ll jot down quick notes on a 1pg treatment plan and then let patients know they’ll be getting all products and detailed instructions through Fullscript. Patients don’t have to read as much anymore, because everything about ordering, product use, and reordering is self-evident.”
- Dr. Aarti Patel, ND

6. Review your numbers frequently

Corey Schuler“Review your numbers frequently. If you aren’t looking at your sales statistics weekly, you aren’t looking often enough. Sometimes low velocity of supplement sales can point to other problems in your office. It may be communication issues, changes in your marketing or the market itself.”
- Dr. Corey Schuler

Regularly download your sales reports and payout reports for your record keeping! Amazing and simple, no more inventory to worry about…just track your profits!
- Dr. Rebecca Berzow, ND

7. Enjoy the Results

Synthia Andrews“The move to having an online dispensary has allowed me to spend more time connecting with patients whether it be by returning phone calls, emails, Skype sessions, etc. by having the additional free time not being spent on ordering, receiving and dispersing the inventory and has been a priceless decision that I wholeheartedly recommend to other practitioners.”
- Dr. Synthia Andrews, ND

John Nowicki“I have found a dramatic reduction in overhead and patients do not have to worry about whether I will have the supplements they need as they can order it themselves! It involves the patient more in their own healthcare and taking personal responsibility for their health.”
- Dr. John Nowicki, ND

Jennifer Letellier“I no longer spend time on calling and invoicing patients when special orders come in, which was pretty consuming for me and my staff.
I have patients who go online and order staple items (fish oil, probiotics) by themselves. I’ll let them know ahead of time what items will be a regular guest on their treatment plans and which I will change monthly. This avoids patient phone calls or emails letting me know they are out of something, which then I would have pulled off the shelf, created an invoice, and relayed the info to the front desk staff. All steps that add up over time and make my life busier than I’d really like.”
- Dr. Jennifer Letellier, ND

Bonus Tip

Crystal Abernathy“Most of all, be positive! And encourage your patients with all the benefits this will provide to them: the convenience and autonomy of 24/7 access, same-day shipping (free above $125), the ability to peruse other items & add whatever they like to their order, the ability to order supplements for friends and family members, the ability for you to easily include instructions and attach other documents to Fullscript emails. Also let them know that you can walk them through their first order if they are hesitant, or even place all orders for them.”
- Dr. Crystal Abernathy, ND

That’s it - hope this guide was helpful! Have questions, suggestions, comments? You can leave a comment below or email us at [email protected]

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