As part of a an industrywide trend toward using technology to engage patients, GetWellNetwork, developer and provider of patient engagement software and services, has acquired its competitor, Skylight Healthcare Systems, the companies announced this week.
Terms of the deal between the two privately held companies were not disclosed.
GetWellNetwork will remain headquartered in Bethesda, Md., while Skylight is in San Diego.
“They were more West Coast-oriented and we were more East Coast-oriented, so now we'll have national range,” said Carrie Ivers, chief strategy officer at GetWellNetwork.
“We collectively will have well over 300 hospitals and hospital systems,” she added.
That includes the 70 clients it will pick up with the Skylight deal.
GetWellNetwork founder Michael O'Neil will continue to serve as CEO.
The San Diego office will become a “full-service, West Coast innovation hub,” a company statement said.
Company leaders are assessing how they will merge the two technology platforms, noting that both firms have unique intellectual property that will enhance their melded products and services going forward. But it's too early to tell how that will be done and what products will emerge, Ivers said.
“We're going to fulfill every contractual obligation that Skylight has, several of which are multi-year,” Ivers said. "But if we do our job right, we're going to release something that you're going to want to migrate to in short order. Those are exactly the conversations we're working through internally.”
The ongoing industry shift to value-based payments and managing care beyond the walls of the hospital or clinic has pushed early tech pioneers to embrace mobile, wearable and home-based devices. Those devices monitor and report back patient data and are particularly useful for patients with chronic medical conditions.
The advent of accountable care organizations has underscored the benefits of developing provider-patient relationships while the emphasis on patient satisfaction has introduced interactive devices inside the hospital and clinic to improve communications between the patient and the care team.
“All of those pieces are going to be rolled up into this area,” that is, patient engagement technology and services, O'Neil said.
“The focus is shifting to patient engagement right now,” Ivers said, and while it's still the province of early adopters, those that have taken the plunge “are some of the most progressive providers in the country.” The rest are beginning to follow. “This is one of the hottest sectors in healthcare IT right now,” Ivers said.