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WebMD Bolsters Patient Engagement Offerings Through New Acquisition

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WebMD has acquired the assets of Healthwise, an Idaho-based nonprofit provider of health education content and patient engagement tools. The New Jersey-based company announced the deal on Thursday and did not disclose financial details.

Healthwise’s operating assets will become part of WebMD Ignite, the company’s division that offers tech solutions to providers and health plans to better engage with their patients and members. WebMD Ignite provides these engagement tools to more than 650 customers, including Providence, Trinity Health, Advocate Aurora, VillageMD and Centene.

“WebMD Ignite supports providers and payers of every sort in their initiatives to acquire, maintain and retain relationships with their members and patients. We call it ‘from discovery to recovery’ — everything from patient or member acquisition, to managing their data, to doing many different kinds of media outreach, to all the way through patient and member education while that person is in an active care journey,” explained Ann Bilyew, WebMD’s senior vice president of health as well as group general manager for WebMD Ignite.

The Healthwise deal follows WebMD’s 2020 acquisition of The StayWell Company, which was a subsidiary of Merck. Through that deal, WebMD gained StayWell’s employee wellbeing platform, as well as the Krames clinical patient education platform.

Before 2020, Krames, Healthwise and WebMD Ignite were the three big players in the patient education space, Bilyew said. All three companies had products that were fully integrated into clinicians’ EHR workflows, and they all boasted an “incredibly broad corpus of content,” she noted.

“We acquired Krames, which was number one in the market, and Healthwise was number two. By acquiring Healthwise, we’ve just become, I’d say, the indisputable market leader in providing patient education to both providers and payers,” Bilyew declared.

Healthwise’s operating assets include software, educational content, tech products, client relationships and certain trademarks. 

For example, the company has EHR-embedded tools to help with schedule appointments, remind patients about visits and connect people to the right provider. It also offers educational content to help patients do things like prepare before a procedure, recover after one, and manage conditions at home. This education content spans various formats, such as texts, emails, videos and infographics, Bilyew pointed out.

She said Healthwise, which was founded in 1975, “really built” the patient engagement and education industry. 

“[Healthwise] has set a gold standard for the quality of the content, and they have been incredibly innovative in the area of patient education. We are very pleased to be able to take the best of what Healthwise has, combined with the best of what Krames has, and really create the industry leading solution by far for engaging patient education — one that moves people to do the right thing for their own personal care,” Bilyew remarked.

Photo: mikdam, Getty Images

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