Kevin Boesen is the founder and CEO of SinfoniaRx. Today, his company provides medication therapy management services to more than 40 million patients nationally. With three call centers total and two associated with the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, Boesen is changing the Arizona tech spectrum, local education, and the way patients manage their medications.
What part of Arizona do you call home?
I live on the northwest side of Tucson and absolutely love the area.
What was your very first entrepreneurial venture?
When I was 11, my family lived in Rome, Italy for a while. My older brother (13 at the time) and I used to go door to door in the apartment complex we lived in after school every day to see if anyone needed anything from the markets across the street. We worked off tips.
How did you come up with the idea for SinfoniaRx?
I founded the program in 2006, which is the same year Medicare launched prescription drug coverage. My goal was to offer quality assurance support to health plans who would be managing this new pharmacy benefit.
What has been the biggest challenge in executing this idea?
The biggest challenge is managing the scope of the problem. We have found that about 50 percent of all patients in our program have some sort of problematic prescription regimen. Additionally, most of these patients assume their doctors and pharmacists are checking for problems, so they are unaware of any problems themselves.
What is your favorite part about running a business?
We are very much a mission-driven organization. At the end of the day, we are trying to help patients who take a lot of medications to treat numerous conditions and are just confused by the whole healthcare system. Given the complexity of medicine today, it may not be surprising that for every $1 we spend on medications in the US, we spend $1 managing the cost of medication-related problems.
The business of healthcare is changing rapidly, and the challenge for us is continuing to find the best model with the best partnerships and collaborations that allow us to prevent medication-related problems. I am driven by finding those creative solutions that allow us to serve more people.
How did you get started in the tech industry?
I am a pharmacist by training. I really got into the tech industry by accident. I originally thought that I could help manage medication-related problems by just setting up appointments between pharmacists and the patients we serve. The need for technology evolved from the scope of the problem.
From a population of millions, how do you decide who to call first? I first hired a very talented software developer, Kevin Barber, who now serves as our CIO. Our developer worked very closely with our clinical team to develop technology that would not only identify problems, but predict problems based on our patient’s gender, age, prescription use, prescription refill patterns, and medical data. The problems and potential problems identified drive our patient and provider outreach.
The secret to our success was combining the technical expertise of our software developers with the clinical expertise of our pharmacists. As of today, we analyze about 20 million health data records weekly, counsel 2,000 patients a day, and make 1 million treatment recommendations each year.
How long have you lived or worked in Arizona?
After leaving Tucson to work in Chicago as a young pharmacist, I returned in 2004. The biggest change that I have seen, from my perspective as a UA faculty member, is the attempt by the University to encourage more companies like mine.
If you could only describe your city with one word, which word would it be?
Year-round. Because of the great weather, you can do anything at any time during the year.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Arizona?
Coming from the Midwest, I love the winter weather. But I also love our location. We are close to a number of my favorite vacation destinations: California, Las Vegas, and my very favorite, Rocky Point, Mexico.
What’s your least favorite thing about living in Arizona?
I travel a lot for business development purposes and would love more direct flights from Tucson.
In what area do you think Arizona still has a long way to go?
While we are an example of what a successful University spin-off can be, UA is still very much an untapped economic development resource. It is still very difficult to do what we have been able to do.
The foodie scene is growing bigger and bigger by the day here in Arizona. What is your favorite place to get breakfast in your city?
I love that the food scene in Tucson is expanding. It is especially great seeing all of the new restaurants downtown close to our downtown Tucson headquarters. That said, my favorite breakfast may still be a Nico’s breakfast burrito.
What’s your favorite place to grab lunch?
You can’t do better than a sandwich at the Sausage Deli.
What’s your favorite dinner spot?
There are so many good places for dinner in Tucson. I’d say my favorites are Flemings, Zin Burger, and Chuy’s.
What’s your favorite place to work in your city aside from your office?
Home. I can watch the sunset from kitchen table and it doesn’t get any better than that.
Best place for a meeting over drinks?
Since I work in downtown Tucson, these places are great: 47 Scott and Reilly Pizza are places I can walk to. I also love the selection of whiskey and scotch at Brother John’s.
Image by Ibarrosano.
What is your favorite memory from Arizona?
The day I was married. My beautiful bride, Cindy, and I were married 20 years ago at the Chapel at Pusch Ridge and it was absolutely perfect.
What is something about living in Arizona that only a local would know of?
A common misconception is that a dry heat isn’t that bad. Our hot summer days are terrible. That is why not doing daylight savings is such a good thing. The last thing we need is the sun staying up later in the summer.
It does create a challenge scheduling meetings because no one outside of Arizona can figure out what time zone we are on, but worth it to see those beautiful sunset and have the temperature drop as soon as the sun goes down.
Any tips for new Arizona residents?
My tip for Arizona residents is visit Mexico! We are so close. The beaches are fantastic and the people are some of the nicest people in the world.
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