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A Tale of Two Telehealth Acquisitions Pixabay

A Tale of Two Telehealth Acquisitions

InTouch Health plans to acquire Reach Health, and American Well has agreed to acquire Avizia. Both of these deals signal an important trend in the telehealth industry.

Telemedicine companies are actively looking for ways to open the sector up to broader adoption. Partnerships and acquisitions seem to be the fastest means to that end, as two recent telemedicine deals would suggest.

InTouch Health, a Santa Barbara, CA-based telemedicine firm, said it will acquire REACH Health, an Alpharetta, GA-based telemedicine software company.  Shortly after the deal was announced, Boston, MA-based American Well, reported its agreement to acquire Avizia, a prominent player in the acute care telehealth space. Financial terms were not disclosed for either deal.

"The telehealth industry is fragmented and health systems demand a single telehealth platform that can overcome interoperability challenges, ensure data management continuity, and scale from a single physician office to a multi-hospital enterprise," said Joseph DeVivo, CEO of InTouch Health. "With InTouch Health, healthcare providers have access to the complete telehealth package for any use case in any care location. REACH Health fits nicely with InTouch Health's recent open-platform, device-agnostic strategy."

The merging of these two companies will allow REACH customers to expand their telehealth services leveraging a fully integrated virtual care platform, InTouch noted.

REACH was born in an Augusta, GA hospital in 2003 out of necessity due to the scarcity of stroke specialists in rural hospitals. The stroke neurologists at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) at Augusta University were frustrated by the arrival of ischemic stroke patients outside the treatment window for tPA therapy because most of the patients first went to their local hospitals that didn't have access to a stroke specialist and had to be transported to Augusta, arriving too late to benefit from tPA.

That frustration led to the development of a telemedicine software system that combined video conferencing, medical imaging, and patient data into a single platform. Stroke specialists could access the platform through the use of a standard PC with a webcam to be connected to a bedside clinician at the hospital to facilitate diagnosis and emergency treatment. 

"We developed the telehealth system to enable MCG stroke specialists to work directly with hospitals and healthcare providers to provide timely stroke care to patients in more rural areas of our state," said David Hess, MD, dean of the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) and REACH Health's board chairman. "This system was commercialized when REACH Health was founded and in the past dozen years, has helped providers in states including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and South Carolina provide life-saving treatment for some 50,000 patients. We are pleased to see the growth of REACH Health accelerate as it joins forces with InTouch Health, another telemedicine industry pioneer."

American Well said its acquisition of Avizia will bring a comprehensive acute care capability to the company, including a hospital-based cart lineup and custom software workflows for more than forty clinical telehealth specialties, including stroke and behavioral health.

 The move will enhance options available to clients across American Well's diverse telehealth ecosystem, including health systems, health plans, consumer aggregators, and healthcare service innovators, enabling clients to choose one comprehensive single platform solution, the company noted. This acquisition is scheduled to close in late Q2 subject to the attainment of certain conditions.

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