From the mHealthNews archive

Qualcomm Life acquires HealthyCircles

By Eric Wicklund

With its 2net hub, Qualcomm Life has created a platform to seamlessly connect medical devices and biometric data of all sizes, shapes and uses. Now the company is looking to do the same with caregivers.

The San Diego-based company has announced the acquisition of HealthyCircles, developer of a software-as-a-service (SaaS) Care Orchestration Engine designed to connect healthcare providers, patients, family members and others involved in post-acute care and provide them with a care management platform.

"HealthyCircles is an application that service providers can deploy to create all the connections they need to," said Rick Valencia, Qualcomm Life's vice president and general manager, in an interview last week, adding that it will be offered alongside the 2net hub. "We see this as another enabling technology."

Qualcomm Life's 2net ecosystem has seen steady growth since it was unveiled in December 2011 at the mHealth Summit, and now includes roughly 250 partners, according to Valencia. But as provider networks look to join accountable care organizations and patient-centered medical homes, he said, they're looking for post-discharge and chronic care management platforms that are more complete than the 2net platform.

Enter HealthyCircles, also based in San Diego, which first announced a collaboration with Qualcomm Life in March.

“This collaboration with Qualcomm Life will enhance the HealthyCircles offering with a comprehensive portfolio of wireless home medical devices, adding biometric data capture to the interactive patient care management and care team coordination tools inherent to HealthyCircles,” said James Mault, MD, FACS, the company's founder and chief strategy officer, in a March 5 press release announcing the partnership.

In an interview last week, Mault, who's becoming Qualcomm Life's chief medical officer, said HealthyCircles focuses on a cloud-based platform to connect providers, patients and all the other parties in the care team, from primary care physicians to family caregivers to specialists to therapists. He said the combination of HealthyCircles and the 2net hub gives patients and their caregivers a neutral platform on which to share all information, regardless of where it's stored.

With providers prodded to extend care management beyond the acute care setting, Valencia said, they're compelled to turn to telemedicine. They want to meet ACA standards, he said, and don't want to be penalized for re-admissions that can be prevented through better management.

"Now they've got to do this," he said, noting that 80 percent of hospital systems are part of or exploring becoming a part of an ACO and 90 percent are seeking technology products to facilitate that interaction. "With this, the (American Telemedicine Association's) time has finally come. "

The HealthyCircles deal follows a Qualcomm Life strategy to bring the consumer-oriented health landscape into the fold. Earlier this year, the company announced a partnership with WebMD that pushes 2net biometric data onto the WebMD Health Cloud platform, giving reference content to consumers and clinicians.

"This is a big step forward for us," Valencia said at that time, adding that he sees WebMD as providing the educational piece to the mHealth puzzle. "This (partnership) puts all of these tools in one easily accessible place … for consumers and providers."

Of the HealthyCircles deal, Valencia said the time had come for Qualcomm Life to branch out and add to its portfolio, creating an ecosystem of which the 2net hub is one part.

"We've always assumed that it would go beyond the 2net platform," he said. "Qualcomm is committed to companies that want to deliver digital health solutions."

 

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