Merck subsidiary StayWell acquires app maker MedHelp for undisclosed sum

By Dave Muoio
03:49 pm

Update: This article has been updated to clarify MedHelp's affiliation with Merck and recent announcement of acquisition by Vitals.

To expedite its push into mobile health, Yardley, Pennsylvania-based StayWell announced today that it has acquired the mobile health portion of Silicon Valley-based MedHelp, which includes several consumer-facing mobile health apps.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, StayWell told MobiHealthNews that MedHelp will be split into two halves, with healthcare transparency company Vitals acquiring MedHelp's patient network services.

Since 2016, StayWell has been majority-owned by Healthcare Services & Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of global pharmaceutical giant Merck. The company offers employer-specific solutions related to several medical specialties, and has services within 85 percent of US hospitals and health systems. MedHelp's parent company, Aptus Health, is also a subsidiary of Merck.

With the acquisition, StayWell will extend its reach to the 3 million users of MedHelp's platform and acquire the digital health company’s extensive portfolio of mobile health apps. These include the diabetes-focused Sugar Sense and My Diet Diary, as well as women’s health apps My Cycles and I’m Expecting.

“As we look to grow and expand our presence, particularly in the areas of diabetes and women’s health, the apps themselves are a great complement to what we’re already doing as a business and where we want to continue to grow,” Hans Hage, SVP of product and innovation at StayWell, told MobiHealthNews. “The MedHelp team and the digital health platform that they have put together is really one that is going to help us springboard our advancement in technology, and scale in a way that will just really help our future aspirations. From a raw talent perspective, the UI team, the mobile apps team, and the DevOps team that we have acquired have a great deal of familiarity with our stack and Amazon web services in particular, so we see it as a tremendous boost to the number of resources that we have and our ability to continue to bring great products and services to market.”

Hage said that MedHelp’s teams will be integrated within StayWell. While the newly acquired app portfolio may be rebranded under StayWell, Hage stressed that these consumer-facing products will remain largely unchanged in terms of services and availability. In fact, he continued, these specific diabetes and women’s health products will be especially important as the company begins to extend its reach into these medical specialties.

“Where we are at right now, we consider ourselves to be a leading provider of employer-specific solutions, and we do cover the entire spectrum of wellbeing,” Hage said. “However, I will say that our industry as a whole … tends to neglect women’s health specifically. While we don’t have any programs that directly address that today, this really helps us begin to fulfill that need, specifically around the areas of pregnancy — those that are looking to become pregnant and those that are pregnant.”

This deal is the latest of StayWell's acquisitions, which include Krames Patient Education and, as of last year, health and wellness content creator ShareWIK Media Group.


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