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Optum follows Mayo deal with Humedica acquisition


By Joseph Conn
Posted: January 30, 2013 - 12:00 pm ET
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An official with Humedica, a Boston-based clinical analytics firm, has confirmed it has been acquired by Optum, a business unit of the Minnetonka, Minn., health insurance giant, UnitedHealth Group.

“Humedica is now part of Optum,” said Humedica co-founder, President and CEO Michael Weintraub in a series of e-mails Tuesday. “We are excited to partner with Optum to provide physicians and other healthcare leaders with the insight and support they need to improve patient care, reduce costs and serve the health needs of communities.”

Prior to that, no news releases or other public statements about the transaction had surfaced, either on the companies' websites on or public relations wire services, which are typically used to ballyhoo a corporate acquisition. Word of the transaction first broke as a rumor on the health IT blog HIStalk, then also appeared as an anonymously sourced but officially unconfirmed news item in the Boston Business Journal. Multiple calls to UnitedHealth Group and to Optum for comment were referred to Weintraub, who was traveling and responded only by multiple e-mails. In one, Weintraub said the financial terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed.

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Humedica, which has tight ties to the American Medical Group Association, is Optum's second deal in a month aimed at gaining access to clinical data from electronic health records. The other, which was, in contrast, accompanied by a well-orchestrated publicity campaign, involved the launch of Optum Labs, a data analytics and research consortium in collaboration with the world-renowned Mayo Clinic. The Optum Labs consortium is to be headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., just across the river from Boston and Humedica's headquarters. For the Optum Labs rollout, members of the media were afforded an embargoed notice in advance and access to a Web-based news conference with opportunities to question both Optum and Mayo leaders.

Optum Labs will initially use claims data and other information provided by Optum from “100 million patient lives that span over 20 years” and de-identified data from the Mayo Clinic, an AMGA member, on 15 million patients. But spokesmen for the project from Optum and the Mayo Clinic also said other provider participants would be welcomed to join the consortium. Weintraub, via e-mail, characterized Optum Labs as “a very exciting idea. But we are just getting started in our partnership with Optum, so we haven't had an opportunity yet to explore it.”


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