WebMD to acquire Aptus Health in bid to expand clinician support

Internet health information provider WebMD plans to acquire medical education platform Aptus Health, the companies announced Monday.

The acquisition includes Aptus’ brand Univadis, an education platform for delivering medical news, conference information and research disseminated to 4 million healthcare professionals around the world. It also includes EngagedMedia, which supports patient engagement and adherence through a mobile messaging platform.

Officials said the acquisition will allow WebMed to expand its outreach to consumers and healthcare professionals, while Aptus’ Univadis will expand its outreach to clinicians at the point of care.

“WebMD is open to opportunities that are complementary to our existing professional and consumer brands, that build on our reach and engagement to better meet the needs of our consumer and healthcare professional audiences, while bringing value to our customers,” Steve Peraino, senior vice president at WebMD, told FierceHealthcare.

WebMD is owned by El Segundo, California-based Internet Brands. It was acquired by Internet Brands-parent company KKR for $2.8 billion in 2017.

The company said it has been investing in expanding its provider capabilities since. The WebMD Health Network includes WebMD Health, Medscape, MedicineNet, eMedicineHealth, RxList, Medscape Education, OnHealth and other owned WebMD sites. About a year ago, WebMed announced the acquisition of Vitals.com, UCompareHealthCare.com and MedHelp from MDx Medical. At the same time, WebMD acquired MediQuality, a provider portal for healthcare professionals in Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg.

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Aptus, owned by Merck, is based in Reading, Massachusetts, and will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary of WebMD, officials said.

“Aptus Health and its brands—Univadis, Tomorrow Networks and EngagedMedia—will continue to operate independently. In the weeks and months ahead, WebMD and Aptus Health will be looking for ways to build on our strengths and fully leverage shared competencies,” Peraino said.

The acquisition is expected to be complete in October. Additional terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

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“Joining forces with Univadis enables us to extend that reach and deepen our content offerings,” Peraino added. “Our commitment to the physician and health care professional has transformed Medscape from a website to a platform, which includes not only our best-in-class content, but extends to developing point-of- care, peer-to-peer, and decision tools that respond to the emerging and ongoing professional and life challenges of caring for patients in the digital age.”