Following layoffs last week Aetna merges iTriage with WellMatch

By Brian Dolan

Aetna has merged its Denver-based health app-maker subsidiary iTriage with its cost transparency business, WellMatch, to form one team. The move follows lay offs across four Aetna businesses, an iTriage spokesperson confirmed to MobiHealthNews. The iTriage app, which has been downloaded more than 15 million times, helps consumers connect with the right care provider via a symptom navigator.

It's unclear what the new business entity will be called, but reports coming out of the office in Denver indicate some of the iTriage branding and signage around the office has been removed and returning employees were told that today was "day one" at the new company.

Back in 2013 Aetna had positioned iTriage along with WellMatch, Medicity and PracticeIQ all under the umbrella of its Healthagen business unit, but the iTriage spokesperson didn't specify which four Aetna businesses were affected by the cuts.

Sources told MobiHealthNews that last week about 20 percent of iTriage employees, an estimated 26 employees, were laid off as part of the reorganization. The company, however, has not confirmed any specific numbers.

Long time iTriage employee and VP of Product Kimberly Roth was among those let go and iTriage CTO Patrick Leonard chose to resign after his team was sunsetted. Leonard's team provided shared technologies services to many of Aetna's consumer businesses, including iTriage, a spokesperson told us. MobiHealthNews learned from sources that in addition to Leonard's team, many positions in iTriage's content team were eliminated along with a couple of admin positions. 

"We merged with WellMatch, an Aetna business that delivers cost transparency, to form one team," an iTriage spokesperson told MobiHealthNews in an email. "Together we will deliver a powerful and unique set of digital decision-support tools -- making it easier than ever for people to take action on health care for themselves and their families. We will offer a full spectrum of personalized health and well-being needs for any stage of life and will continue to build products for the employer, provider/ACO and consumer markets."

iTriage's president Yaniv Kanfi will continue on in that role at the newly combined entity, while WellMatch founder and president Chere Parton will assume the role of COO. WellMatch's Adam Lowe is now CTO and Etugo Nwokah will head up product. The spokesperson said that the combined entity will be 40 percent larger than iTriage's team was. In an interview with MobiHealthNews leading up to the big HIMSS16 event, Kanfi told MobiHealthNews to be on the look out for a big announcement from iTriage. It was expected to reveal a pivot in its strategy at the event, but no such announcement was made. Now the company expects to share its plans in a few weeks time.

One glimpse of the future for what remains of iTriage arrived early last month when iTriage quietly made available a new version of its app, called iTriage Essentials, for iOS and Android platforms. The app is a redesigned, stripped down version of iTriage designed to serve as a testing ground for the company, though it will likely eventually replace the original iTriage app, MobiHealthNews was told at the time.

In late 2011 Aetna acquired Healthagen, the digital health company that create the popular iTriage app, for an undisclosed sum.