Merck Cashes Out A Bet In Mobile App Monitoring/Health Software Space — Sells Vree Health To PatientSafe

On and off for almost a half-decade, now, we have kept an eye on Merck’s tentative dips into mobile health app technology, and the related deployments of the same. Its shining glory has turned out to be “mobilizing” the Merck Manuals, through an affiliate. But in fairness, Kenilworth has hit various regulatory and implementation obstacles more generally, over the past five years — as it mostly unsuccessfully tried to emulate the fresh-faced, fly by the seat of your pants App developers’ world. So this morning’s news may be seen as a smallish capitulation.

In my experienced opinion, there was never going to be any bio-science type of “high-margin” product to emerge out of this space — and it turns out that controlling “access” to patients outside the hospital is no longer all that important, overall — in the US, post the ACA of 2010. [And, in the EU, the whole field is highly regulated, as well. So it goes.]

And so, Xconomy San Diego has this story — this morning:

. . . .In 2009, PatientSafe was reinvented and re-capitalized under James Sweeney, a serial healthtech entrepreneur. Sweeney expanded beyond IntelliDot’s initial focus to a more comprehensive system for tracking patient care. In the next iteration, PatientSafe introduced PatientTouch, a modified Apple iPod Touch, designed to help nurses manage their clinical care workflow, guide patient care, record patient vital signs, coordinate tasks, and communicate with other nurses and doctors.

“We’re in PatientSafe 4.0 now,” Condurso said, extending the company’s range of products and services by using software and technologies developed by Vree to help caregivers monitor patients after they’ve left the hospital. The underlying idea is to combine PatientSafe’s technology with healthcare coaches and nursing services to engage and motivate patients to take an active role in their own care. . . .

So — Kenilworth will probably wisely relinquish this space to the smaller, more nimble, mostly private tech players.

For the sake of a complete record of Merck doings, I should separately note that Merck will announce some encouraging study data in a few weeks in the next gen Hep C space. Watch out, Gilead.

Me? I’ll watch tonight — and hope that we can get back to the Big Apple for two more. . . And, then — who knows? Ever a Cubbie optimist, right? — Smile.


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