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Removing Patient Financial Barriers to Care While Improving Pharmacy Financial Outcomes
Episode

Srulik Dvorsky, Co-founder and CEO at TailorMed

Removing Patient Financial Barriers to Care While Improving Pharmacy Financial Outcomes

In this episode of Outcomes Rocket Pharma, we interview Srulik Dvorsky, co-founder and CEO at TailorMed. After serving as a primary caretaker for several family members following a cancer diagnosis, he started TailorMed with a personal mission to leverage technology to create a solution to remove financial barriers to care. 

Srulik shares how TailorMed allows patients to adhere to their treatment, offset out-of-pocket responsibility, and afford care without incurring monument costs. He talks about the main pillars to the value the company brings to their partners and stakeholders as well as the challenges an IT vendor like TailorMed faces when partnering with health systems.

TailorMed is the leading financial navigation company that helps patients and health care providers remove financial barriers to care. 

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Removing Patient Financial Barriers to Care While Improving Pharmacy Financial Outcomes

About Srulik Dvorsky

Srulik Dvorsky is the co-founder and CEO at TailorMed. He brings an extensive background in health IT and management. Prior to founding TailorMed, he was the VP of R&D and Operations of Brainsgate. Srulik earned his electrical engineering degree from Tel Aviv University and a management degree from The Interdisciplinary Center. 

Removing Patient Financial Barriers to Care While Improving Pharmacy Financial Outcomes with Srulik Dvorsky, co-founder and CEO at TailorMed: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Removing Patient Financial Barriers to Care While Improving Pharmacy Financial Outcomes with Srulik Dvorsky, co-founder and CEO at TailorMed: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Kyle Wildnauer-Haigney:
Hey everyone! Welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket Pharma podcast. I’m your host, Kyle Wildnauer-Haigney, and today I have the privilege of interviewing Srulik Dvorsky. Srulik is the co-founder and CEO of TailorMed, the leading financial navigation technology company that helps patients and health care providers remove financial barriers to care. After serving as a primary caretaker for several family members following a cancer diagnosis, he started TailorMed with a personal mission to leverage technology to remove barriers to care. He brings to the company more than a decade of experience in the medical device industry. Srulic, it’s truly thank you so much for joining us today. Welcome to the show.

Srulik Dvorsky:
Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be speaking with you today, Kyle.

Kyle Wildnauer-Haigney:
Awesome. So maybe to kick things off and just give the audience a little background. What inspires you to work in health care?

Srulik Dvorsky:
Absolutely. So health care for me, as you kind of started sharing a little bit earlier, it really comes from a personal perspective. While my professional background also started in health care and I spent about a decade prior to starting this venture in the medical device field, what actually drew me to start this venture was the personal experience of caregiving to you know, way too many family members, unfortunately, that were diagnosed with cancer, and eventually that started to create kind of an itch to do something with technology. That is my day job, but hopefully trying to remove some barriers to care to patients. And it took some time to really decide what is that problem that I think that I can work around and eventually solve for and that became to be the financial barriers to care. I was exposed to so many stories from both patients, physicians and friends and families of patients who are really burdened by the financial aspect of their care and even to the point that they are considering not getting the care they need, which on the one hand, you know, exposed me to their hardships, but also started to get me really excited about the opportunity that maybe there is something that can be done through technology to remove that barrier. And that’s kind of the very early days of how we started thinking about this center.

Kyle Wildnauer-Haigney:
Interesting. And you’re calling in from Tel Aviv, Israel, is that correct?

Srulik Dvorsky:
That is correct. And we we spoke before we started this podcast about Tel Aviv being my home, but plane being another home for me. Unfortunately, from time to time. So our team is divided between New York, which is our headquarters in the States and Tel Aviv, which is our headquarters in Israel. And I’m an Israeli born and raised person. So R&D center is here in Tel Aviv. We have a great team of talented engineers and all of our other kind of customer facing positions are more across the States and with the hub in New York. So I just got back from seeing our team last week here.

Kyle Wildnauer-Haigney:
And so are you solving this issue of kind of financial access and affordability in Israel and in the U.S.? Are you looking at it across those two markets or is it just focus within the U.S.

Srulik Dvorsky:
So it’s primarily focused in the U.S. I think that there is a very different structure of both the health care industry and more specifically health insurance in Israel and in the states. I think that we are seeing a lot of different types of challenges that are similar, but the financial journey for a patient is pretty different. You are treated in the United States. Fortunately for us in here in Israel, it’s kind of more of, would say, a single payer system where patients are paying very slim premiums and getting full coverage forthe most part, I would say, which is not necessarily the case for an average patient getting treated in America. So I think that for us, we saw the need more across the ocean at this point.

Kyle Wildnauer-Haigney:
Got it.

Srulik Dvorsky:
This is where we are working, but I do feel that, you know, our future definitely possesses other challenges across the globe where access to care is not necessarily a given. And that’s our mission, to try and address that everywhere. We started with the States.

Kyle Wildnauer-Haigney:
Yup. That makes complete sense, and so I’d love to maybe double click on what TailorMed specifically does to really understand how you’re driving impact to patients and improving outcomes.

Srulik Dvorsky:
Sure. So I think that, you know, it starts from the fact that patients have a lot of cases high to extremely high out-of-pocket expenses and where we’ve started to focus is actually around medication costs. And when you have a patient that has a barrier to care, which is financial to get the care they need and fill their prescriptions, there is also an abundance of different opportunities out there that can support or offset those expenses, ranging from funding that can be leveraged from manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, for example, to state and federal government subsidies to a variety of different charity programs. But the problem is that patients are not necessarily aware of that, and if they are, there is a lot of friction to discover those, check the eligibility and then enroll. And what we actually do is first, we find these patients that have high out-of-pocket responsibilities very early in their medical journey. And this is kind of what drives, I would say, the most proactive sense of the work that we do. So we leverage data in order to proactively identify patients in need, and then we do automatic matching between those patients based on their specific data elements to thousands of different programs out there. And when we are finding that match, we are facilitating the enrollment, which eventually gets the patient to be able to adhere to their treatment and offset their out of pocket responsibility. And since we are working with different types of health care organizations, whether they are pharmacies or providers or others, we are also allowing them to better serve their patients but in a lot of cases also increase their financial performance because otherwise those patients might have been, you know, not paying their bills or that will be as a write off for a charity program.

Kyle Wildnauer-Haigney:
Sure, it makes a lot of sense, providing a little bit clarity into the messiness of pharmaceutical costs. And so to identify those patients, are you working with kind of the provider upon prescription or kind of treatment? Is that how it works?

Srulik Dvorsky:
Yeah, and I can give an example. Maybe that will be helpful. So let’s assume for a second, we are working with a large health care institution, a health system. What we are doing on the back end is that we are basically ingesting data on a regular basis of patients demographics, treatment, clinical insurance data. And then if we have, let’s say, a rheumatoid arthritis patient that is now prescribed a new treatment plan by her physician. Our system will detect that prescription when it’s just dropped in the EHR or pharmacy management system and even before the patient comes to be administered. If it’s like, let’s say, an IV infused program product or like an oral product, our system will detect that we will run a benefits investigation to see what the patient is expected to pay for that. So we will be estimating or even more so projecting the cost over the course of the treatment for that patient. And then we will see that the patient is only supposed to owe about $5000 out of pocket. Obviously a very, you know, overwhelming amount for a patient to afford. But the system will also detect that there might be a co-pay assistance if that’s a commercially insured patient. Or a foundation that will support rheumatoid arthritis patients. Or even be able to get the drug for free if the patient is denied coverage. And then it will detect that and immediately allow either, you know, a health care provider or a care team member to enroll and then allow the patient to come in for their treatment without incurring that monumental cost.

Kyle Wildnauer-Haigney:
Interesting. So, you know, really, when you think about what has been, how does TailorMed differ from what has been provided thus far, it’s about being proactive, right, and it’s identifying those patients early on. Are there any other components, whether it’s kind of the engagement piece or sounds like you’re interacting with a lot of the key stakeholders in the space of delivering the drug to the patient? Can you talk about that a little bit.

Srulik Dvorsky:
Sure. So, so you are right that the most unique thing about TailorMed is the fact that we are proactive. And I think that that’s key because that allows you to drive, you know, better care experience for patients, better outcomes and adherence and more. So if you can engage earlier, that will also, from a financial perspective, help you as a provider or a pharmacy, you know, run a more efficient organization. I think another key aspect of what we are doing that is different is the level of automation that we apply. A lot of times we are seeing teams trying to do the most that they can, but it’s mainly a manual process, something also a decentralized process that involves, as you mentioned, different stakeholders. It can involve social workers, community health workers, financial counsellors, pharmacy technicians, and we are onboarding everyone to one very, I would say, holistic view about the financial impact that the patient can experience and actually what can be done in order to support it. And then you will see teams interacting on a patient case from leveraging assistance from a manufacturer to living expenses from a local charity program to premium assistance from extra health Social Security. So that really is something that brings multiple stakeholders to one unified view of the financial impact of the patient.

Kyle Wildnauer-Haigney:
Fascinating. This is huge space, right? Just navigating the pharmaceutical value chain and ensuring that the patients can afford drugs. How do you communicate value to the stakeholders? I mean, I’m sure there’s one part of like a financial benefit, but there’s also the outcomes to the patient. Do you have any kind of KPIs that you track on the outcomes piece and how you’re improving the health of the patient?

Srulik Dvorsky:
We do. And we basically look at four main pillars to the value that our partners are seeing. First and foremost, it’s, you know, the level of patient care that they can deliver if they can help patients proactively address their financial concerns, which is a huge burden for many patients across a variety of conditions. That’s definitely a driver for their patient satisfaction and patient experience. And that’s one second, as you mentioned, is the financial factor when you are thinking about providers or pharmacies. That needs to provide those drugs and a lot of cases that will go into write offs and uncompensated care. And for us to be able to support them in leveraging external resources definitely allows them to continue providing care, but also increase their financial performance. Third is automation. They have limited staff now more than ever. And when you are able to process more cases in a given time by a financial counselor, for example, that really moves the needle for them to be able to utilize more opportunities without increasing staff to many more members. And the last one which is, you know, not necessarily the least, is clinical outcomes. One of the things that we are seeing around clinical outcomes is what happens when patients cannot adhere to require treatment. And one of the things that we can see are both adherence metrics, but also market access or patient access metrics when it comes to how long from diagnosis to first treatment is the patient seeing. And if you can shorten that, that is a very important access metric that we are measuring. Another one is how long can we keep the patient on a required treatment, especially when it comes to chronic medication like inhalers for COPD or insulin or diabetes. Those are eventually trying to reduction of downstream costs, downstream complication and comorbidities. So definitely those are the four pillars. Not always easy to measure. How is your intervention impacting clinical outcomes? But I think that we are working with some of our partners to be able to better measure it because the data is there. It’s something that really needs to be emphasized and elevated to the discussion.

Kyle Wildnauer-Haigney:
Sure. Yeah. Capturing that data, exposing it and then cleaning it and presenting it in those key outcomes is something that we have to strive for. It’s also very challenging, too. The data can be very messy. Attribution is a tricky analytical problem. I’d love to hear, you know, as you’ve been working on TailorMed and building this business where some of the biggest setbacks that you’ve experienced, I mean, the company looks like it’s in a great spot right now, but there must have been those ups and downs in that entrepreneurial journey.

Srulik Dvorsky:
There always are. I was just talking to a friend earlier this morning and I said, you know, alongside every new market that we’re entering in another big name or partner that we are partnering with, there are so many challenges on a daily basis that you need to cope with. But eventually the result is worth it because we are, as we say, internally, here we are moving mountains for patients, so it’s worth the effort. I think the challenges are, first, sometimes you are engaging with a partner, let’s say, health care providers as an example, and it’s really hard to overcome some of their kind of, I would say, thoughts about how is it to partner with an IT vendor. Because they sometimes will think about EHR implementation or revenue cycle systems, which are very big undertakings for a health system to do while working with a vendor like us. But we are not necessarily alone is sometimes not as big of an IT heavy lift as they imagined. So really finding the right way to show them that it’s not that big of a burden on the one hand, but the value is profound, is a challenge on our team to to first educate and then prove on that experience. That’s one. Two, I think is that like once you’re alive and your system is being used across many hospitals in the health system, how can we make sure that the levels of utilization of the opportunities the system discovers are actually high? And that’s something that we spend a lot of time working with our customers to think about how they are reimagining their workflows to make sure that indeed they are not necessarily keeping the same old habits they you have of waiting for referrals to come in and being less proactive but more reactive, but actually change their mindset to use data, use our system, but others as well, to be more proactive in the way that they are going about addressing financial needs. And in general, health care is hard. There are so many moving pieces, To do what we do we need to be very good at a few things. And then it’s, you know, from the technology side to knowing the bits and bites of health insurance through keeping us honest on every change that happens in the market about assistance program changing. So it’s a lot of work, but I think that the value is there and that’s kind of what drives us on a daily basis, to keep on doing better.

Kyle Wildnauer-Haigney:
Yeah, I mean, there is getting into the tactical piece of working with these large incumbents, right, where implementing an EMR or new RCM program is challenging and trying to communicate that your implementation is fundamentally different. It’s lighter weight, less of a lift. I’m sure that’s incredibly challenging. And so as we kind of think about shift more towards the future, what are you more excited about? Or what are you most excited about for the opportunities within the pharmaceutical value chain or TailorMed or really kind of what you see for the patient in the next coming year?

Srulik Dvorsky:
So I think there are a couple of things that are happening kind of simultaneously that gets us excited. On the one hand, we are seeing that the awareness that there are things that can be done to help patients adhere to their treatment, remove or alleviate their financial concern is there and is just growing. So it gives more room for solutions like ours to be at the hands of patients. That’s one. Two, I’m very excited about the fact that patients are starting to be front and center in consuming their health care journey. They are becoming more, I would say, informed, and they have better tools to navigate the very complex ecosystem that they are getting care from or buy, and that’s definitely something that aligns with our future roadmap. How do we become more patient centric and not only support our health care providers, but support our healthcare providers and patients that they are serving in a very seamless way. So when they are getting a drug dispensing the pharmacy, we’re there. When they are coming in for an inpatient or outpatient visit, we are there, and it’s something that is kind of seamless across the continuum of care. And I think that we are seeing like the digital front door and patient centric approach from different health care systems, but also different health care players in the market as a rising trend that I am excited about. And last but not least, the fact that we are seeing continuous improvements and advancements in care and new treatments coming to market to really help from a clinical perspective. Those are usually coming with a very high price tag because of the fact that they are new. But if we are there, we can support patients throughout their first steps in adhering to a new treatment that was just announced. And I think that that’s always kind of what we are looking for, seeing how we can support the new and upcoming treatments and get the patients security in it.

Kyle Wildnauer-Haigney:
That’s fantastic. Yeah, that is very exciting. And I think especially as the value chain or the pipeline of drugs starts to change and shift to being highly saturated with these high cost rare disease and specialty drugs solutions like Taylor, men are going to be needed more and more. That’s huge. Maybe just to round things out. I’d love it if you could share a closing thought and where the audience can best collaborate with you.

Srulik Dvorsky:
Closing thoughts. As far as I can use this platform to reach more patients to know that they have resources out there that can help them get better, get well and get the care they need without going bankrupt is, you know, every time I have an open mic, I will try and get that awareness out. And we would love to support that by our educational tools and also from the partnership perspective with partners across the industry so people can reach out to us either through our website, TailorMed.co or our social media handles. So we’re active on Twitter and LinkedIn, and we’d be happy to either help patients that are seeking care and definitely continue building our very large and fast growing provider and pharmacy network.

Kyle Wildnauer-Haigney:
Awesome. Well, Srulik. Thank you so much for joining the show today. Have a wonderful day and we’ll chat soon.

Srulik Dvorsky:
For sure. Thank you for having me. I’m excited.

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Things You’ll Learn

  • Healthcare is hard. 
  • There is an increase in awareness of things that can help patients adhere to treatments and alleviate financial concerns. 
  • Patients are becoming better informed and starting to be front and center in consuming their health care journey. 
  • Different health care players in the market are a rising trend. 
  • New treatments are coming to the market to help from a clinical perspective. 
  • Patients should know they have resources that can help the care they need without going bankrupt.

 

Resources:

Vist TailorMed’s website: https://tailormed.co

Connect with TailorMed on LinkedIn

Follow TailorMed on Twitter : @TailorMedTweet