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Exclusive: Care enabler 98point6 buys telehealth

Illustration of a middle aged women working on a laptop and sitting on a giant health plus.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As it embarks on a $32 million-fueled business pivot, care enabler 98point6 bought telehealth company's customers, CEO Jay Burrell tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The deal will let 98point6's provider customers conduct asynchronous telemedicine visits, a fast-rising means of receiving virtual care.

Details: The deal — 45% in cash and 55% in equity — gives 98point6's 17 customers, per Burrell.

  • 98point6 is also taking on half a dozen former staff in commercial and sales.
  • It's 98point6's first acquisition as it transitions from care provider to tech licensor.

What's next: Burrell foresees more acquisitions in the near term and raising another round of capital by Q3.

  • "I'm preparing to put a little fuel in the commercial tank now that we have a portfolio of offerings," he says.
  • Burrell says the company plans to expand from health systems to private provider groups within roughly the next quarter.

Of note: 98point6 currently has 25 licensees signed up for its services, including MultiCare, Baptist Health, and UAB Medicine.

What they're saying: The strategy behind the current acquisition is creating "a single user interface for the patient and for the provider," says Burrell.

Be smart: A 2023 Rock Health survey suggested telehealth recently reached 80% adoption, boosting it into first place as the preferred channel for minor illness and prescriptions.

  • Compared with real-time video, audio-only and asynchronous forms of telemedicine were the most-used means of attaining virtual care, the survey found.

Catch up fast: When Seattle-based 98point6 last April announced its strategic shift from provider to enabler, Burrell foreshadowed the company's plan to use acquisitions to add capabilities like remote patient monitoring.

  • He hopes future buys enable the company to take on additional customers and technologies.

How it works: 98point6 Technologies charges health systems either a flat software licensing fee, a fee per transaction, or a mix of both.

  • Services include automated case assignment, EHR data integration, patient-clinician chat and video, automated care plans, clinical documentation and medical recommendation letters.

State of play: Compared with telehealth providers, telehealth enablement startups promise simplicity over sparkle, drawing continued investor interest. Relevant deals from last spring alone include:

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