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Making healthcare accessible for patients and seamless for the clinicians caring for them is one of the ways technology helps improve care across the country.  

Partnerships are also essential to making this a reality.  

Javier Gonzalez, Pharm.D., the Chief Growth and Commercial Officer at Abarca, a pharmacy benefit manager and healthcare technology company, serving the U.S. and Puerto Rico. He shared with me how his organization is leveraging partnerships and technology to find a better way to care for patients.  

Here’s a glimpse into our recent conversation: 

  • Q: Kelly Bundy: Surescripts has partnered with nearly all electronic health records (EHR) vendors, health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, pharmacies and clinicians in the United States to form the Surescripts Network Alliance. Many of our partners are closely aligned with our purpose, so what is Abarca’s mission and what will be the impact of our organizations convening on healthcare in Puerto Rico?

    Javier Gonzalez: Abarca was founded to find a better way—to work together, connect with each other and make healthcare seamless and personalized for everyone. We currently serve 5.3 million lives across the United States, including many members in Puerto Rico, with a mission to transform the prescription experience and enable a broader healthcare evolution.

    Despite the challenges facing healthcare, we believe there are opportunities to improve how care is delivered. We’re harnessing the opportunity to help our communities by bringing in innovative technology that we have today.

    That’s one way that Surescripts and Abarca are aligned, in addition to our shared commitment to reducing the friction that has historically made healthcare difficult to navigate. Our partnership is important and the work we are doing can transform the patient experience across the U.S.

    Q: Bundy: What are the specific opportunities that Abarca can bring to Puerto Rico?

    Gonzalez: Puerto Rico’s healthcare system is fragmented. Even with several smaller electronic health record vendors and hospitals, they aren’t as well connected as they could be.

    Puerto Rico is not unique in this way. In fact, many communities across the nation could benefit from improving how health systems and the broader ecosystem work together. Abarca is changing this dynamic with the technology, expertise and flexibility needed to make workflows for providers more efficient and patient focused. We recognize Surescripts’ partnership as essential to advancing interoperability and ultimately, amplifying the impact of our work.

    Q: Bundy: My colleague Scott Rochowiak said during a panel in Puerto Rico, if “a patient who is relying on public transit or lives in a very rural area, and they go to the pharmacy only to hear ‘Oh, your prescription needs a prior authorization and is going to take two or three days.’ Some patients will abandon therapy at that point.” How is Abarca addressing prior authorization delays and prescription cost concerns as an organization?

    Gonzalez: Abarca is giving everyone who is part of the prescribing, dispensing and payment process insights – beyond what is typically available today – into medication costs and tools that can help avoid hitting snags along the way, so patients can access their medications without delay.

    One way we are doing this is with an alternate payment solution we’ve developed called Assura, which offers per-script cost guarantees that help drive confidence around the actual price of a medication.

    The burden prior authorizations can have on members is important. It’s a reminder how healthcare must be – and can be-- much more seamless and personalized than it is today. Our entire organization works every day to simplify the prescribing process, bringing greater clarity to patients.

    Q: Bundy: Partnering with Surescripts, what other changes do you hope to implement on behalf of your specific constituencies and other stakeholders?

    Gonzalez: The partnership between Abarca and Surescripts reinforces our commitment to advancing technology that drives healthcare interoperability – ensuring a more streamlined experience for providers, payers and members. Through our collaboration and by leveraging innovative tools and insights, like Darwin, we can improve medication adherence – leading to healthier patients.

    In my experience, when you have two organizations that have the mission, tools and passion for making things happen, the possibilities are endless. I’m excited for the potential we to continue improving healthcare across Puerto Rico and the United States.

Surescripts Network Alliance connects more than 2 million healthcare professionals and organizations across the U.S. See how you can tap into its power.

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