WebMD looking to add more partnerships, increase patient engagement services

After its acquisition of patient portal technology vendor Avado, WebMD is looking at other partnerships to further patient engagement, reports MedCity News.

A spokeswoman said the Affordable Care Act is creating new opportunities, and the company is looking for revenue growth in its existing lines of business, as well as new revenue streams.

WebMD is looking to partner with mobile app developers, healthcare IT developers, biometric device manufacturers and health service providers "to build connected care tools for patient engagement," she said.

WebMD is working on a platform to help health insurers market to consumers looking for trusted information to help them compare and buy insurance. The site is also working on tools to help doctors communicate digitally with patients and develop programs to manage their care.

In announcing the Avado acquisition, WebMD executives called it "a key building block" for its patient engagement platform.

In addition to its health content business, WebMD offers a service that allows members of employer and wellness plans to gain access to health management information and get personalized risk assessments. Its mobile app already allows secure communication between providers and patients.

Its apps, however, are among those that have been criticized for sharing data with third parties, most often marketers. According to web analytics and privacy group Evidon, the top 20 most popular health, wellness and fitness apps, including WebMD Health, are actively sharing user data with as many as 70 third-party companies.

Federal requirements to more fully involve patients in their care is creating new markets for tools to make that happen. Most providers still communicate by phone or face-to-face, according to a recent survey, but use of health IT applications including smartphones, text messaging, social networking and email is growing and expected to become more important.

To learn more:
- read the article in MedCity News