Physicians Interactive acquires maker of doctor social network QuantiaMD

By Jonah Comstock
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QuantiaMDPhysicians Interactive (PI), the digital health marketing company that offers medical reference apps and resources like Omnio to physicians, has acquired Waltham, Massachusetts-based Quantia Communications, parent company of physician social network QuantiaMD.

The acquisition, the terms of which were undisclosed, adds the first peer-to-peer network to PI’s platform, which already includes a number of different resources for physicians and, as of last year’s acquisition, patient-facing health company MedHelp.

“This is our sixth acquisition,” Physicians Interactive CEO Donato Tramuto told MobiHealthNews. “We’ve been building out a platform and we now have 3.5 million physicians on that platform. The important thing now is not just how do we add more physicians, but how do we engage those physicians? There’s a lot of consolidation going on, not just to get value but to get traction. I like that they have the peer to peer engagement; I think that whole model fits very well into Physicians Interactive’s model.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Skyscape was still a Physicians Interactive offering, but that mobile medical app business quietly spun out of PI in 2013 and is now its own entity, called Skyscape Medpresso.

Quantia has raised $40 million since it was founded in 2004, but the company hadn’t taken on any funding since 2013. Some 34 percent of US physicians are registered on the Quantia’s online network, called QuantiaMD. Physicians can use QuantiaMD to ask other physicians questions, test their knowledge by competing with peers on interactive cases, and earn points for using the network, which are redeemable for Amazon gift cards.

In May, Quantia partnered with IMS Health to give all the physicians on its platform access to IMS’s app curation platform, AppScript. 

“On QuantiaMD, physicians average more than 20 minutes per session, learning from experts and peers within a highly dynamic web and mobile community," Nick Werthessen, Quantia Chief Operating Officer, said in a statement. "By combining our community with Physicians Interactive's digital health platform, we can offer an unmatched level of healthcare professional reach and engagement to our customers, while empowering physicians to save time and enhance care via innovative digital and social technologies."

At least at first, Quantia will continue to operate as it always has while Physicians Interactive works to integrate its app with the company’s other offerings. All 60 employees will continue to work out of Waltham.

“What Physicians Interactive has done well is we haven’t relied on one aspect of engagement, not just having a one-horse show but having the opportunity to have multiple reasons why a physician would want to come into our network. We have a suspicion if a physician is using Quantia they’ll want to use other services on our network,” Tramuto said. ”It’s not about innovation. There’s been enough innovation that’s been done here. It’s about integration. I don’t think a single point solution works for doctors anymore, so you have to have a multiple solutions.”

Physicians Interactive isn’t done with its acquisition spree by any means, Tramuto said. Future acquisitions will seek to combine the consumer-facing aspects of MedHelp with the company’s physician-facing tools, to begin a foray into the patient-doctor relationship.

“I think that there will be more acquisitions,” he said. “If you look at PI, when I founded it in 2008 we had less than 50,000 physicians. We’ve taken it to 3.5 million worldwide global healthcare professionals. I suspect now that we have that volume, and now that we have the consumers [from the acquisition of MedHelp], we are going to continue to build out our core business. We have the opportunity to transform into actually addressing health outcomes. How do we connect the physician with the consumer online? Our acquisition strategy is not over. In fact, I think the next one will be much larger and more pointed toward driving greater scale in the business.”

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