by Marc Lilly, Chairman and CEO, Zynchros
Special to Seattle24x7
Pharmacy benefits, or the portion of your health insurance that covers prescription drugs, is probably the benefit you most use. In fact, drugs are such key components in today’s medicine that they account for fully 20 percent of the overall $1 trillion U.S. healthcare market. Yet current market conditions are pricing prescription drugs out of the reach of insurers and individuals by putting undue pressure on the profitability, regulatory compliance and flexibility of healthcare providers. In short, we want the best healthcare at an affordable price, but improving its underlying economics requires an exceedingly complex dance of simultaneously lowering costs, improving access to care and enhancing profitability…not an easy task in any market.
Pharmacy benefits are currently managed using an outmoded system of paper forms and electronic spreadsheets to control what is known as the formulary, a reference list of approved drugs and other pharmaceutical products. The formulary is critical to the modern healthcare system, as it tracks which treatments are approved for use by a health insurer, including the availability of new drugs, the replacement of expensive brands with cost-effective generics, changes to approved treatments and more.
Even in today’s technologically advanced society, many healthcare providers and insurers still maintain the formulary by hand. This manual process is woefully inadequate for meeting the needs of a complex pharmaceutical world, and does not prepare providers and patients for the advanced “e-healthcare” initiatives of tomorrow. As an example, when new generic drugs become available that deliver the exact same type of treatment and care as a brand name drug, it can take months before that information trickles down to the physician’s prescription pad and the pharmacist’s dispensary.
Fortunately, this situation is rapidly changing through the efforts of companies such as Seattle-based Zynchros to offer systems that efficiently automate, centralize and optimize the management of pharmacy programs. Last year, Zynchros introduced Zynchros.com, the first Web-based, commercial product to synchronize and interconnect all of the various participants in medical care, allowing them to efficiently control the pharmacy program and instantly communicate updates, changes, regulatory submissions and more. Zynchros.com has seen a rapid uptake with health plans nationwide, as health plan providers recognize the value of streamlining pharmacy benefits for all constituents.
Solutions such as Zynchros.com deliver a broad range of benefits, not the least of which is reduced pharmacy program management and maintenance costs by as much as 80 percent. Perhaps more importantly, Zynchros.com helps physicians benefit from increased pharmaceutical clarity and accuracy, gives patients quicker access to the appropriate treatments, and enables pharmaceutical companies to benefit from faster pull-through of their contracted products.
Zynchros understands that automating pharmacy benefits is central to the country’s overall healthcare reform initiative, as it improves prescription accuracy, facilitates drug adoption and access to appropriate treatments, streamlines compliance and strengthens the overall communication and efficiency of all stakeholders. It’s the “secret sauce” that will enable everyone to have the best possible healthcare at the lowest possible cost.
(Marc Lilly is chairman and CEO of Zynchros, a privately held Seattle-based company specializing in the development of technology-based solutions that improve the responsiveness, control and efficiency of pharmacy benefits for health insurers and pharmacy benefits managers. For more information, visit www.zynchros.com or call 866-996-2476.)