Andy Traynor [right], PharmD, chair and associate professor of pharmacy practice at Concordia, hands Dr. Sarah Rall [left], director of pharmacy, Marshfield Clinic a CMMA certificate.Andy Traynor [right], PharmD, chair and associate professor of pharmacy practice at Concordia, hands Dr. Sarah Rall [left], director of pharmacy, Marshfield Clinic a CMMA certificate.

A total of 13 teams of pharmacists and health care providers competed for more than $60,000 at a Shark Tank-style event designed to improve care through innovative medication management solutions. The Concordia Medication Management Accelerator competition took place at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center as part of the Nov. 6 – 11 Startup Wisconsin Week activities.

CMMA is an effort of Concordia’s School of Pharmacy and Batterman School of Business with financial support from The Dohmen Co. CMMA launched in May 2017 and is an 18-month program. All teams will continue developing their ideas with the collaborative support of mentors and coaches through the 2018 calendar year.

“The goal is to cultivate a spirit of collaboration to make our patients’ lives better,” says Andy Traynor, PharmD, BCPS, chair and associate professor of pharmacy practice at Concordia. “We all learn more together than alone.”

Winners were announced in two different categories: Service Accelerator and Start-up Accelerator. Eight teams competed in the Service Accelerator track designed for health care organizations, primary care clinics, health systems or pharmacies working to adopt comprehensive medication management with their organizations.

Participating teams included representatives from Reedsburg Area Medical Center, Monroe Clinic, Aurora Health Care, Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, Marshfield Clinic, Evergreen Pharmacy, Hayat Pharmacy, and Walgreens.

The winner of the Service Accelerator track and $15,000 in award money was Marshfield Clinic for their idea to lower total cost of care and improve quality outcomes through pharmacist-provided medication management services to high-risk chronic disease patients in the Security Health Plan commercial and self-funded employee groups.

Representing Marshfield Clinic was Dr. Sarah Rall, director of pharmacy. “The CMMA programming was so beneficial because it provided a disciplined structure for us to grow our idea from concept to implementation,” says Rall.

Three teams competed in the Start-up track designed for the creation of new Wisconsin-based businesses focused on proving comprehensive medication management services.

Participating teams included representatives from St. Vincent De Paul, PC Comprehensive Medication Management and MedSync-Rx.

The winner of the Start-up track and more than $20,000 in seed money and services was MedSync-Rx for their idea to create a Smart app that will coordinate multiple medication refills to be picked up on the same date each month. MedSync-Rx is made up of faculty and a student from Concordia University Wisconsin.

According to MedSync-Rx team member, Sharon Chappy, dean of Concordia’s School of Nursing, “This collaborative process taught us what it takes to develop and pitch products. We had such a positive experience that we’re going to keep working together to develop other ideas.”

Participating teams and placement in the Service Accelerator track:

  • Marshfield Clinic – First Place ($15,000 prize money)
  • Monroe Clinic – 2nd Place ($10,000 prize money)
  • Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin – 3rd Place ($7,500 prize money)
  • Aurora Health Care – 4th Place ($5,000 prize money)
  • Walgreens – 5th Place ($5,000 prize money)
  • Evergreen Pharmacy – Participation Award
  • Hayat Pharmacy – Participation Award
  • Reedsburg Area Medical Center – Participation Award

Participating teams in the Start-Up Track:

Serving as panelists for the Service Accelerator Track were Mary Roth McClurg, PharmD., M.H.S., associate professor in the Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Bill Jones, president of WellCare Health Plans Kentucky,  Mark Loafman, MD, MPH, chair of the Family and Community Medicine Department at Cook County Health & Hospitals System, Doug Scheckelhoff, senior vice president, Office of Practice Advancement, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, USA

Serving as panelists for the Start-Up track were Giovanni Ferrara, partner of Novartis Venture Fund; Allen Hakimi, managing director of Technomark Life Science; Paul Weiss, managing director of Venture Investors; and John Torinus, general partner of Wisconsin Super Angel Fund.

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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