WebMD Corp., Elmwood Park, N.J., has acquired WellMed, Portland, Ore., an Internet healthcare information company, for $20 million in cash. The Oct. 31 acquisition was not announced, but WebMD disclosed the purchase earlier this month in its financial statement for the quarter ended Sept. 30. Privately held WellMed markets and manages a Web-based hub that brokers secure communication between physicians and patients. Other services include risk assessments and personalized health information for healthcare consumers, which WebMD also provides through its consumer Web site. WellMed and similar Web-based companies created a stir in the healthcare industry a few years ago with technology that facilitates e-mail exchanges of information, medical questions and test results between caregivers and patients. But provider-to-patient communication has not been a top investment priority among healthcare organizations, which continue to prefer information technology that improves internal operations. In Modern Healthcare's most recent annual survey of information system trends, for example, personal health records ranked 10th in interest out of 11 suggested projects aimed at improving the hospital-physician relationship. -- John Morrissey
WebMD picks up information provider WellMed
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