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Local health care corporation adopts UA-developed medication center

Savannah Douglas
Savannah Douglas / The Daily Wildcat Kevin Boesen is currently the Director of the Medication Management Center at the University of Arizona’s College of Pharmacy. Boesen will soon be leaving the UA to become the CEO of Sinfonia Rx, a company that will be monitoring prescriptions and looking for ways to increase the benefits of the presecriptions.

A local health care corporation will use a medication management program developed by faculty at the UA College of Pharmacy.

SinfoníaRx, a newly-formed division of Sinfonía HealthCare Corporation, adopted the UA-developed Medication Management Center. The center provides medication counseling primarily for Medicare beneficiaries and patients on complex medication regiments, according to Kevin Boesen, an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science and the founder of the Medication Management Center. Boesen has also been named CEO of SinfoníaRx.

“Basically, it’s health care solutions with a focus on complex medication regiments,” Boesen said. “So, [the center is] trying to improve health outcomes and decrease medication costs.”

The Medication Management Center was created in 2006 to coincide with the launch of Medicare Part D, which expanded access to prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries, Boesen said. The program was designed to mitigate the adverse outcomes of increased medication use, such as drug interactions and side effects.

Fletcher McCusker, CEO of Sinfonía HealthCare, said medication errors are very problematic in the health care business.

“There’s probably nothing more problematic than medication error,” McCusker said. “It’s about a $200 billion problem, and it’s probably the leading cause of hospital readmission.”

The center has helped more than 2.5 million patients since its inception seven years ago, said J. Lyle Bootman, dean of the College of Pharmacy. By the end of the year, he said he expects the center will become the nation’s largest provider of medication therapy management services.

With SinfoníaRx, Boesen said, the software and business practices created by the center will be taken out of the university so that the center can contract with more providers and further develop it to offer more programs.

The College of Pharmacy and SinfoníaRx will have a unique and exclusive relationship, Bootman said. SinfoníaRx will develop the software, business model and product offerings while the College of Pharmacy’s Medication Management Center will continue to provide services with its pharmacists and student pharmacists.

“With the expansion of health services under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, there will be a greater need to reduce health care costs and improve medication usage,” Bootman said. “By moving the software and program development into a private company, the program is better positioned to develop new programs to meet market demands.”

This is also one of the first programs identified by Tech Launch Arizona to be outsourced or privatized, which helped facilitate the acquisition, according to McCusker.

Tech Launch Arizona was created a year ago in order to aid in commercialization of programs and products developed by the UA, which had been underperforming in the past, said Doug Hockstad, director of Tech Transfer at Tech Launch Arizona.

TLA combines the different programs related to commercialization at the university, such as tech transfer, tech parks and business relations, into a single organization in order to improve the way commercialization is done. This is done by helping researchers and inventors protect their intellectual property through patents and looking for ways to take this technology into the marketplace, Hockstad said.

TLA worked with the College of Pharmacy to identify the best way to introduce the Medication Management Center to the marketplace and the model developed by Sinfonía HealthCare was seen as the best fit, Hockstad said.

SinfoníaRx will officially launch in early to mid-December, Boesen said, adding that he will leave his position at the College of Pharmacy in order to assume his role as CEO at SinfoníaRx but will still maintain an affiliation with the college as an adjunct faculty member.

“As the Affordable Care Act takes hold and more and more patients have access to medication,” Boesen said, “it’s important to have the program expanding beyond Medicare and making sure that anyone taking complex medication regiments has support like this.”’

– Follow Ethan McSweeney @ethanmcsweeney

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