Practice Fusion, developer of a free, web-based EHR system, has acquired consumer health app startup 100Plus for an undisclosed sum. 100Plus was co-founded by data analytics pro Chris Hogg and Practice Fusion CEO Ryan Howard in late 2011. Hogg told MobiHealthNews that Howard was not directly involved with the day-to-day running of 100Plus and served as more of a mentor to him. 100Plus was the first company to leverage Practice Fusion's data set, and it was also based out of the Practice Fusion offices in downtown San Francisco. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
100Plus raised $1.25 million in seed funding, with $500,000 of that coming from Peter Thiel's Founders Fund.
The entire 100Plus team has joined Practice Fusion, Hogg said, and he will become Vice President of Data Sciences at the company. While 100Plus will continue working on consumer-facing apps, they will also begin focusing on apps that help patients and providers better work together. It appears that 100Plus has become an integral part of Practice Fusion's patient engagement strategy, which, partly because of meaningful use requirements, has become increasingly important to EHR developers and healthcare providers alike.
"[100Plus] had a couple offers come in and we started talking to Practice Fusion, too," Hogg told MobiHealthNews. "The idea of doing what we were already doing but on such a larger scale and with Practice Fusion's distribution just made a lot sense. Our goals are so synergistic with their future goals. Strategically this move made a lot of sense. We get to keep doing what we were doing in a slightly different way."
Hogg said Practice Fusion is looking ahead and they know how important patient engagement is and how challenging it is. Hogg said the company wants to focus on health that happens between doctor visits.
100Plus was a consumer wellness app developer. It wasn't interested in activity at the gym but rather in alerting people to health opportunities or “hopps” like walking hills with views in your neighborhood and “healthifying” your commute by taking stairs instead of the escalator. At Health 2.0 in Boston last year Hogg told MobiHealthNews that these small things have become undervalued and people have been trained to think that the only way to be healthy is to go for a run or head to the gym. 100Plus never fully launched a product, but rather a series of beta testing apps. One of its most interesting concepts was Lifescore, which gave users a sense of how these small actions can affect their longterm health. Healthy actions added small increments of additional time to the user's life expectancy, which starts at 78.1 years for everyone since that is the general life expectancy. It then got tweaked based on demographic information -- women live longer, for example -- and then by real-time actions.
"It is hard to get people to an app that is focused on health and wellness," Hogg told MobiHealthNews this week. "I have thought about that so much over the last year. The way I see it, at least in the near term -- the next one, two or three years -- there are a couple of defined ways that people come to a health or wellness app. One of them is that people find an app to help them tracking something that they already do -- running, biking, and so on. Apps like RunKeeper. Then there are apps that are tied to a device of some kind and really extracting the value out of the device -- that's Jawbone, Misfit, Fitbit and the rest. The third way people come to a health app is that companies tell [their employees] to use them. The fourth way is going to be that doctors are going to tell them to use these apps."
Outside of those channels Hogg said it becomes very hard to break through the noise and gain mass adoption. Hogg has long been a believer that this fourth way -- that doctors will prescribe apps -- will be key for mobile health. Just before founding 100Plus in 2011 he gave a TEDx talk in Silicon Valley that mentioned it.
"This will be a major trend," Hogg told MobiHealthNews. "It's also why Practice Fusion was the ideal choice for us."
Hogg agrees that there has existed a fairly wide gap between healthcare and wellness. He said it was a "bifurcation" that he has often pointed to in his presentations at industry events over the years. While the founding of a consumer wellness startup like 100Plus as a partner company of an EHR vendor like Practice Fusion was already a sign that the gap was narrowing, the acquisition of 100Plus by Practice Fusion could help close it altogether for providers that use Practice Fusion's EHR.