Physicians Interactive acquires MedHelp to move into patient engagement

By Brian Dolan
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MedHelp Fit FrenzyPhysicians Interactive (PI), the digital health marketing company that offers medical reference apps and resources like Skyscape and Omnio to physicians, has acquired one of the oldest, online consumer health brands, MedHelp, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition marks one of the first forays into consumer health for Physicians Interactive, which apart from some consumer-facing health advertising through its mobile ad network Tomorrow Networks, has been largely focused on providers.

Mergers and acquisitions are not novel for the company either. Physicians Interactive has been built and shaped by a series of acquisitions over the years -- MedHelp is only the latest. PI was largely acquired by the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund last summer and bought out its partner Remedy Systems when it acquired their health-focused, mobile advertising network Tomorrow Networks earlier this year. PI bought Skyscape back in 2009, and Physicians Interactive, itself, was originally acquired by former parent company Perseus as a spin out from Allscripts in 2007.

MedHelp has more than 14 million consumer users of its web and mobile apps and its apps have been downloaded 7 million times, according to the company. MedHelp's tracking apps also pull in data from personal health and fitness devices, including Jawbone and Fitbit devices. 

MedHelp CEO John de Souza will continue on at Physicians Interactive as the president of MedHelp.

"The merger with MedHelp matches Physicians Interactive's vision of empowering healthcare professionals and consumers with mobile and online healthcare applications to improve the healthcare experience," Donato Tramuto, CEO and Chairman of the Board at Physicians Interactive said in a statement. "MedHelp's rapid growth in the consumer health space is exciting. Together, we hope to deliver better patient experiences by matching MedHelp's healthcare quantification and socialization solutions for consumers with PI's solutions for physicians, such as Omnio, our peer-to-peer healthcare content-sharing app."

In a statement de Souza explained how MedHelp's offerings will enable Physicians Interactive to address the increasing patient engagement need in healthcare.

"Our consumer-tracking applications, social communities and Red Urchin enterprise platform align with Physicians Interactive's innovative solutions for healthcare professionals," he said. "By helping consumers and doctors communicate better, we hope to make a significant impact in patient adherence to drug therapy regimens to help patients."

Physicians Interactive counts more than 300,000 active physician users of its online tools and mobile apps.