Signify View: Wolters Kluwer To Aquire Emmi Solutions

Published: October 10, 2016

Last week it was announced that US patient engagement platform supplier, Emmi Solutions, had entered into an agreement to become part of the Dutch information and services business, Wolters Kluwer.

  • The deal, once complete, will result in Wolters Kluwer paying $170m in cash for Emmi.
  • Although paying nearly six times the size of Emmi’s expected 2016 patient engagement business, the deal represents a great opportunity for Wolters Kluwer.
  • Emi is a leading brand in what is forecast to be a rapidly growing market, and one that will be central as the market implements recent legislation, moves toward value-based care and grapples with how to utilize patient-generated data.
  • It also provides new channels for Wolters Kluwer to distribute its online content to healthcare professionals and patients.

The Signify View

This latest announcement is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we’re likely to see in terms of M&A activity in the patient engagement platform space in the next year or two. Signify Research is aware of 100+ firms that are offering products and services that fall under the, admittedly broad, scope of patient engagement. Many are specialists or start-ups that focus on just one part of the patient engagement ecosystem, be it offering an mHealth app that connects patients with practitioners, focussing on one therapeutic area such as long term diabetes management or targeting just one application such as healthcare financial management.

Market Won’t Sustain This Volume of Suppliers
Despite this being a fast growing market, it will not be one that can sustain this number of suppliers. Furthermore, payers and providers will increasingly demand single platforms that provide support and functionality across a wide spectrum of therapeutic areas, service delivery formats and platform functions. In addition, many of the larger healthcare IT companies are to some extent waiting in the wings in relation to addressing the patient engagement market, offering relatively rudimentary solutions that play second fiddle to their more lucrative EHR businesses. However, all are expected to make a strong play in this area ultimately. This is particularly so in the US where patient engagement has become a central component in relation to reimbursement for healthcare IT through the Advancing Care Information (ACI) performance category of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). For many of these leading EHR suppliers looking to address their customers’ ACI patient engagement requirements, acquisition will be the strategy employed.

M&A Activity Already Heating Up
These conditions all amount to an environment where M&A activity will be a central theme in patient engagement over coming years, be it as a strategy to enter the market, expand a portfolio, achieve scale or supplement an existing product set. On top of the Emmi acquisition, 2016 has already seen a number of other acquisitions in the patient engagement market. Some examples include:
• Athena Health’s acquisition of Austin, TX-based Patient IO in August 2016, which brought Patient IO’s care coordination platform into Athena Health’s patient engagement portfolio.
• MedData’s acquisition of Duet Health in May 2016, which added mHealth and patient education tools to MedData’s more operational patient engagement offering.
• Sharecare’s acquisition in September 2016 of virtual reality in healthcare supplier BioLucid, which brings with it the potential for immersive video functionality to be added to Sharecare’s patient engagement platform.
• Teledoc’s agreement in June 2016 to acquire HealthiestYou, allowing Teledoc to expand beyond telehealth and enter the patient engagement platform market.
• GCI and Safety Net Connect’s joint acquisition of vCareConnect, also last week, marking an entry for both acquirers into the patient engagement market.
• The proposed merger of Lincor Solutions and the Hills Health Solutions (HHS) business of Hills Limited to form Lincor Limited, announced in September 2016.

Will Attract Tech & Telecom Providers Not Traditionally Playing in Healthcare
Apple’s entry into the broader EHR portal market via its acquisition of Gliimpse in August 2016 illustrates that interest in the market goes well beyond those companies already serving healthcare providers and payers.
Despite the high volume of companies addressing this market, VC funding for new start-ups continues to come thick and fast. The first three-quarters of 2016 has already surpassed full year 2015 in terms of VC funding and is set to pass the $250 million mark before the year end.

New Market Report from Signify Research Publishing Soon
A full analysis of the patient engagement platform competitive market will be provided in Signify Research’s upcoming market report ‘Patient Engagement Platforms & Portals – World Market Report 2017’, publishing in February 2017. For further details please click here or contact