Faculty Articles

Building Partnerships Between a College of Pharmacy and ACOs: Development of the ACORN SEED

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The American Journal of Accountable Care





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The American Journal of Managed Care


In an effort to promote partnerships among value-based health systems and institutions of higher education, the steps undertaken and initial challenges faced during partnership development between a college of pharmacy and accountable care organizations (ACOs) are discussed. The Affordable Care Act created value-based payment models, such as ACOs, that provided pharmacists with opportunities for employment and service growth. However, training for pharmacy students in these emerging value-based models is lacking. In 2014, Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy launched the Accountable Care Organization Research Network, Services and Education (ACORN SEED) initiative with the purpose of uniting healthcare practitioners, academics, and ACOs for mutual fiscal, scholarly, and patient care benefits. The network represents over 240 southern Floridian primary care practices that host pharmacy faculty’s clinical practice and research, and will provide Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences for pharmacy students. During the development of ACORN SEED, the College overcame several challenges related to trust, assuring mutual benefits, and allocating resources. Such tactics as Ambassador Group development, strategic hiring, and communicating via provider meetings were utilized to overcome these challenges. Despite pharmacists’ ability to positively affect patient care, little has been done to integrate pharmacists in ACOs. Tactics such as gaining ACO executives’ trust, integrating into clinics, and properly allocating resources can improve pharmacist utilization.


Medicine and Health Sciences | Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


ACORN SEED, college of pharmacy, partnerships

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