Iodine Software acquires Artifact Health to expand its AI technology to thousands of physicians

Mergers and acquisitions deals consolidation
(Getty/Kritchanut)

Iodine Software is a fast-growing healthcare technology company that uses artificial intelligence to solve provider problems, such as improving clinical documentation.

The Austin, Texas-based company has acquired Artifact Health to get its AI technology directly into the hands of more than 80,000 providers across the country.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Artifact CEO and co-founder Marisa MacClary will join Iodine as executive vice president of Artifact.

Artifact Health developed the first mobile app for physician queries so that providers can respond quickly and compliantly to clinical documentation improvement and coding queries from their smartphone or computer.

Artifact’s mobile platform is currently deployed to healthcare providers at more than 200 hospitals.

In 2016, Artifact collaborated with Johns Hopkins Medicine to help develop a cloud-based mobile platform that makes it faster and easier for healthcare providers to respond securely and compliantly to questions about patient documentation. Artifact seamlessly integrates with core healthcare systems, including all major electronic health record systems, to ease administrative burdens on healthcare providers.

RELATED: Microsoft to buy Nuance in a $19.7B deal to expand healthcare AI, cloud capabilities

“Over the past seven years, Artifact Health has built a solid reputation for streamlining and standardizing the physician query process with efficient, convenient and easy-to-use technology that physicians find enjoyable to use,” MacClary said. “Iodine and Artifact share the same mission to design innovative healthcare technologies that improve patient care by reducing administrative burden."

Iodine Software built a machine learning approach that significantly improves reliability in clinical documentation to help ensure proper reimbursement for health systems.

The acquisition of Artifact Health expands Iodine's machine learning technology to broader healthcare workflows and enables the company to directly engage physicians through Artifact’s HIPAA-compliant mobile platform. The deal enables Iodine to add mobile-based physician query capabilities, addressing key health system midcycle revenue leakage challenges, according to company executives.

The enterprise AI space in healthcare is one to watch, with Microsoft's eye-popping $19.7 billion acquisition of speech recognition and healthcare AI company Nuance. Investment dollars for AI startups boomed in 2020 and skyrocketed during the first quarter of 2021, according to CB Insights.

Globally, healthcare AI companies brought in a record-breaking $2.5 billion in the first quarter of 2021 in 111 deals. That's up 140% compared to $1 billion raised in the first quarter of 2020.
 
Iodine experienced rapid growth over the last decade by applying its machine learning engine to solve midcycle revenue leakage—a problem that costs healthcare systems billions in lost revenue due to resource-intensive, highly manual clinical documentation workflows. The company works with 550 hospitals and has helped those organizations recognize $1.5 billion in additional appropriate reimbursement annually, according to executives.

Improving clinical documentation is important for hospitals on two fronts: enhancing patient care and ensuring accurate reimbursement, William Chan, CEO and co-founder of Iodine Software, told Fierce Healthcare.

"Documentation starts and ends with the physician. The challenge for Iodine is the link to the physician. Up until now, we have worked with the CDI specialist to make that connection with the physician to get the documentation updated, but there is a gap in how the process completes itself. That’s where Artifact comes in," he said, noting the company built an "elegant solution" for engaging with physicians.

RELATED: Global investment in telehealth, artificial intelligence hits a new high in Q1 2021

“Artifact allows us to immediately improve the documentation experience for physicians,” Chan said. "The acquisition also allows us to realize our vision of delivering a broader set of our machine learning predictions directly to physicians.”

Iodine selected Artifact for its flexible technology, mobile delivery and seamless EHR workflow integration, which produce demonstrably better physician satisfaction and engagement, Chan said.

Provider engagement is critical as physician burnout is at an all-time high.

"It’s a dominant market force in 2021 and there is a heightened urgency to address it. Hospitals are prioritizing physician wellbeing and are looking to invest in technology that can help reduce the burden on physicians," MacClary told Fierce Healthcare.

Iodine plans to explore how its technology can be used to provide other predictive clinical insights to physicians, Chan said. "Length of stay, predicting sepsis and heart failure, these are all pieces of information that are vitally important to the hospital," he said. "CDI is the first proof point. We could use AI and ML to provide insights to care coordinators to make them more efficient and guide them to specific care pathways for a patient."

Queen Saenz + Schutz PLLC is acting as legal adviser to Iodine Software. Covington Associates is acting as exclusive financial adviser to Artifact Health, while Goodwin Procter LLP is acting as its legal adviser.