Increased M&A for Clinical Communications Companies

Experts believe that the recent wave of mergers and acquisitions among clinical communications companies reflects a shift from providers away from purchasing targeted tools that solve specific problems, and a desire for broader platforms that combine multiple opportunities.

Symplr, which sells healthcare management, risk management and compliance software, completed its acquisition of clinical communications company Halo Health in October. Healthcare giant Baxter said in September that it would buy Hillrom, a company that sells communications, among other medical technologies.

Clinical communications company Spok has postponed its October investor day due to a “review of strategic alternatives” as the company’s board is considering selling Acacia Research.

The clinical communications market is consolidating as many vendors have introduced tools over the years to address specific issues, such as secure texting or nurse calls, and now intend to replace them, according to Stephanie Davis, senior medical technology analyst at investment bank SVB Leerink. a central platform that brings all these communication capabilities together.

“You now have a lot of well-funded medical technology startups,” Davis said. “It makes sense to combine them into one platform.”

Davis said she looks forward to continued mergers and acquisitions in clinical communications, especially as the remaining startups are now competing with these broader platforms.

Today’s major players in clinical communication typically include secure text messaging for doctors, nurses and other members of the patient care team, as well as integration with clinical IT systems for automated alerts. They also tend to link scheduling systems, so a user can search and send messages to a patient’s doctor or specialist on duty from one location, instead of tracking it themselves.

Some products also offer tools for communicating with patients and their families.

“I think you are seeing a natural consolidation that occurs as the industry matures,” said Brent Lang, CEO of Vocera, a clinical communications company.

Vocera acquired PatientSafe Solutions this spring, a mobile app that includes text messaging, voice calls, automatic alerts and nurse call notifications, Lang said. …

PatientSafe, which has been renamed Vocera Edge, also enters data from electronic medical record systems, so doctors can access patient data from text messages.

Last year, Vocera also acquired Ease Applications, an application that nurses can use to inform family members and friends of a patient about their hospital progress, such as during surgery.

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