At an investor conference yesterday, health insurance and tech giant Aetna revealed that it acquired Healthagen, the developer of mobile app iTriage, though it did not disclose the price. Aetna’s Chairmen, CEO, and President Mark Bertolini told investors “About a month and a half ago we bought at little company called iTriage…the fastest growing consumer application in healthcare today.” iTriage lets users check symptoms, find doctors, make appointments, and do medical shopping. It will be augmented with new features and become part of Aetna’s accountable care organization. Bertolini said “We’re going to begin to change the health care industry by giving people tools they can put in the palm of their hand.”
Aetna’s goal is to get customers more engaged with their health care via iTriage, and thereby prevent them from sliding to other providers. Bertolini said iTriage will aid “retention, which is the catalyst for growth.” The app’s 3 million iTunes downloads will also bring Aetna new potential customer, and Healthagen’s digital relationships with hospitals and urgent care facilities. The privately held Lakewood, CO-based Healthagen hasn’t announced any funding, and also offers iTriage for Android tablets.
iTriage recreates the experience of popular web-based symptom checkers like WebMD, but for mobile. Not only can these apps act as portal to expensive purchases and services, they can collect valuable data on trending ailments. Considering iTriage’s early lead in app vertical, the acquisition looks like a smart move for Aetna.
MobiHealthNews‘ deep coverage of the investor conference indicates that Aetna will add cost estimation to iTriage. This will help Aetna’s customers to “be a partner in reducing the cost of care”, according to Dr. Charles Saunders, Aetna’s Head of Strategic Diversification. This could significantly reduce Aetna’s own costs.
Additionally, Bertolini said regarding Aetna’s iNexx health care app platform, “we will give away the SDK for both the consumer platform and the provider platform to allow anyone to write apps to be sold on our platform.” This could create more opportunities in the mobile healthtech market that is projected to quadruple to $400 million by 2016.