SocialWellth acquires health app certification company Happtique

By Brian Dolan
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HapptiqueRegistryNew York City-based Happtique, which had developed a health app certification and "prescription" platform, has been acquired by SocialWellth for an undisclosed sum. Happtique was a wholly owned subsidiary of GNYHA Ventures, the for-profit arm of the Greater New York Hospital Association.

It shut down its app certification program in December 2013 after a health IT firm exposed security issues with apps that had gotten certification from the company as being secure and fit for physicians to recommend to patients. Happtique has been mostly quiet since then.

In May 2013 most of Happtique's executive team left the company over disagreements with the parent company over Happtique's strategic direction.

SocialWellth has similarly reviewed and certified health apps for curated app stores offered by insurance companies to their members. Cigna's health coaching offering, Cigna Health Matters, includes SocialWellth's recommended apps. The two initially worked together on Cigna's GoYou offering, which has since been folded into Health Matters

“We believe that the digital health market must shift from passive digital health to prescriptive digital health curation if we are to achieve the great potential which lies ahead with Connected Patients,” David Vinson, Founder and CEO of SocialWellth said in a statement about the acquisition.

Originally, Happtique was conceived as a healthcare-focused appstore for professional medical apps that sought to help solve the enterprise app distribution problem for healthcare facilities. Namely, Apple had not historically made it easy for businesses to distribute an app to all of its employees — instead each user had to download a given app individually.

Next, the Happtique team said it received feedback from its customers that healthcare providers wanted guidance about which apps were worthy of distribution — the healthcare enterprise craved curation. Of course, health apps in general are in need of curation and the concept of physicians prescribing health apps to patients dovetailed nicely with Happtique’s hospital distribution and curation mandate. In January 2012 Happtique saw a wide open opportunity to create an app certification program that would help all healthcare providers better determine which apps were worth prescribing to patients and — more generally — which apps consumers should view as clinically appropriate and technically sound. The next iteration of the offering, had it not been shut down, would have been a "prescription" mechanism that would enable physicians to send an app (or a link to an app) to a patient's phone and receive confirmation when the patient downloaded it or -- in some cases -- even began using it.

Happtique will help SocialWellth extend its payer-focused offering to providers, the company wrote in a statement announcing the deal. SocialWellth is not just acquiring Happtique's assets, it's also keeping some of the Happtique team, which will continue to operate out of their New York office.

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