GetWellNetwork — a company offering tools to drive patient engagement and support clinical care teams — has acquired the digital engagement platform HealthLoop, the companies announced this morning. The deal was closed on November 6.

While the terms of the acquisition remain under wraps, GetWellNetwork CEO and founder Michael O’Neil told MobiHealthNews that his company plans to keep on, and eventually grow, the HealthLoop staff and Mountain View, California headquarters. Further, he said that his 18-year-old, Bethesda, Maryland-based company will be relying on HealthLoop’s platform as the heart of its digital-focused efforts.

“HealthLoop will become the core digital platform for GetWellNetwork, and we actually will be putting the teams together and just augmenting the HealthLoop network — not the other way around,” O’Neil said in an interview. “Modules from GetWellGo, the analogue to the HealthLoop platform, will be augmenting the HealthLoop platform with some rich functionality and language globalization, content, telehealth, some things that we do that they actually don’t do yet.”

According to a statement, the resulting integrated platform will be known as “GetWell Loop,” and will include support for care pathways, remote patient monitoring, virtual check-ins, prescribable workflows and a number of other capabilities.

Further, O’Neil described GetWellNetwork as a company “in the midst of an evolution from patient engagement within patient care to really building a unified, digital patient-family engagement platform.” Acquiring and incorporating HealthLoop’s platform will support that transition, he said.

While the acquisition was certainly driven by a number of business and product development opportunities, O’Neil also made a note of similarities in the interpersonal and professional cultures of the two organizations.

“The culture and value alignment between the two companies is striking, on a level of mission statements reading the same, teammates walking into a room together, to the way they interact with one another and their clients. We were really struck as we engaged with them that, frankly, they felt like us, and we felt like them,” he said.

“The second thing — and I really mean it — is that these guys have figured something out in this lethal combination of clinical relevancy, where the clinicians have trust in the solution, and matched that with a consumer elegance and simplicity that actually drives eye-popping utilization rates with their tools. … Four-and-a-half or five years ago, [GetWellNetwork] made a commitment to focus on the science [and] efficacy of this field. We were struck by HealthLoop’s commitment to focusing on outcomes and validity.”

What’s the impact

Currently, HealthLoop’s platform is active in more than 70 client sites, and holds roughly 250,000 active yearly users driving more than 7.2 million annual patient interactions. The acquisition brings GetWellNetwork reach to nearly 700 providers, according to a statement, and builds on the company’s 50 million-plus annual patient interactions.

But along with the opportunity to expand GetWellNetwork’s reach and bring HealthLoop’s tools to international markets, O’Neil said the integration of HealthLoop’s digital tools is especially important as healthcare as an industry continues its steady march toward consumer-friendly digital health.

“There’s been a lot of buzz for a handful of years now around patient engagement technologies, [and] we have been fortunate to have been doing the work for some time and gotten to a place of scale,” he said. “We are seeing in the market this need and evolution from traditional health IT companies to true digital health, and there’s a real strength in understanding the complexities and depth, and having the experience to implement these systems in the complex world of health IT. I think we kind of bring together a combination of new-age consumer digital with really understanding how healthcare and healthcare technology really works inside a provider organization.”

What’s the trend

Prior to this acquisition, HealthLoop had been enjoying a steady stream of partnerships and, in May 2017, an $8.4 million funding round. It is the latest in a line of acquisitions for GetWellNetwork — it previously acquired Seamless Medical Systems in 2017, Skylight Healthcare Systems in 2015 and Marbella Technologies in 2014.

Across the industry, digital patient engagement takes on a number of shapes and forms. These include automated patient outreach offerings, patient-facing mobile apps and various patient education offerings.

On the record

“GetWellNetwork and HealthLoop are like-minded in strategy, values and culture,” HealthLoop CEO Todd Johnson, who will remain in a leadership position reporting to O’Neil, said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to be working together to continue to push the boundaries of connected health.”