This morning Sharecare, a digital health engagement platform, scooped up tech-enabled behavioral health platform MindSciences for an undisclosed sum.
As part of this acquisition, MindSciences programs will be available to Sharecare’s enterprise partners and consumers. Currently its offerings are split into three programs: Craving to Quit, a smoking cessation-based program; Eat Right Now, a program focused on binge eating and weight loss; and Unwinding Anxiety, developed to help stress and anxiety.
All three of the programs were developed to help clients understand how their brain works and the ways that habits are created, in order to curb unwanted behaviors.
The two have a history of teaming up. In February, Sharecare integrated MindSciences’ smoking cessation app into its platform. As part of this news now all three offerings will be integrated.
WHY IT MATTERS
Sharecare is positioning this new offering as a way to address the unhealthy behaviors and anxieties that may have cropped up during the coronavirus epidemic.
“As levels of worry and unhealthy behavior skyrocketed across the country in April, behavioral health and remote patient monitoring have become increasingly critical, particularly as employers across the country prepare to return to work,” Jeff Arnold, founder, chairman and CEO of Sharecare, said in a statement. “In the wake of COVID-19 in particular, our acquisition of MindSciences is a major step forward in optimizing the Sharecare platform to help our partners navigate the next phase of the pandemic while empowering their people to overcome habits they may have developed to cope, reclaim their well-being and build resilience for the future.”
However, anxiety, eating disorders and smoking cessation were all public health issues before the coronavirus. Some of the issues are also interconnected. According to the American Psychological Association, before the pandemic, 38% of American adults reported having overeaten or having consumed unhealthy foods within a previous month because of stress, and around half of those reported having done so more than once a week.
THE LARGER TREND
This is hardly Sharecare’s first digital health M&A. In February it bought Visualize Health, a population health and quality-measurement platform that helps providers catch any gaps in patient care.
Sharecare was cofounded by TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz in 2010, and has had a history of buying fellow digital health companies. Its other purchases include virtual reality company BioLucid and Healthway’s population health business.
Over the last decade the company has been actively seeking deals. In 2019, the state of Georgia tapped Sharecare and Walmart in a new initiative to improve the health of the employees on its State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP).