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EBSCO Health acquires Madison-based HealthDecision

EBSCO Health acquired Madison-based HealthDecision, a health care decision support platform, on January 24 for an undisclosed amount.

The HealthDecision software platform provides decision support tools for clinicians and patients. The platform combines patient-specific medical data with medical guidelines and generates a patient’s health risk analysis. The platform integrates directly into electronic health records (EHR) systems and provides a visual outcomes assessment to facilitate treatment plan decisions between clinicians and their patients. EBSCO Health provides evidence-based clinical information tools including research databases, medical point-of-care tools, e-books and audio books, journals, and magazines. The acquisition expands EBSCO Health suite of evidence-based clinical offerings.

HealthDecision CEO and Founder Jon Keevil, MD, founded HealthDecision in 2004. He said in a press release, “HealthDecision was born out of a mission to create tools that transform complex medical information into more actionable and patient-specific formats. I am thrilled that EBSCO Health’s resources and deep expertise in the field of clinical support and evidence-based medicine will greatly enhance our ability to assist patients and clinicians at the point of care.”

Silicon Prairie News interviewed Dr. Keevil to learn more about how the acquisition came about.

SPN: Tell us about how HealthDecision was founded and why.
JK, MD: HealthDecision grew out of a need for physicians to manage complex data when explaining the pros and cons of different options to patients. Effective tools to support these processes did not exist so HealthDecision was created to meet this need.

SPN: Tell us about the HealthDecision founder(s) and team.
JK, MD: Decades ago, I studied computer science and engineering as an undergraduate and had worked as an engineer. During my medical training and as I started practicing as a preventive cardiologist, it became obvious that my engineering and programming skills could be put to good use. We built a team of people that could facilitate improved communication between what clinicians needed and the ability to develop tools that would meet that need.

SPN: What were some of the most memorable/proudest moments of start and growth?
JK, MD: There was no one big moment, but instead a string of little moments over the years. A patient whose eyes light up when the tool helps them really get the point about risk reduction. The colleague who thanks me for “making me a better doctor”. Working with a physician developer for an hour to craft just the right phrasing for statements on a single page. I am proudest looking back over the totality of what we have built so far and seeing the position that puts us in for the future.

SPN: How did the exit decision and conversations unfold? How did the decision arise, and how was the decision made? Were there concerns or challenges to overcome, and how was that accomplished?
JK, MD: As our tools became more sophisticated, it became evident that the work we were doing was really a subset of the larger work that includes taking medical literature, curating the information, and presenting it in ways that are most efficiently communicated both to clinicians and their patients. As we got to know the EBSCO team better, it became evident that our missions were very well-aligned and that we each had skill sets that could make the other group stronger. The primary challenge came from the fact that both groups were doing complex work and it simply took us a while to learn enough about each side to know that this could be an effective partnership.

SPN: Tell us about the acquisition / negotiation / execution of the acquisition.
JK, MD: The process of the negotiation and acquisition was multilayered like any complex decision. The full staff of HealthDecision, including CEO Dr. Jon Keevil and CTO Farhan Ahmad, have joined EBSCO Health.

SPN: What have been some of the unexpected or interesting changes for the team/founders/company since the acquisition? What does the future hold?
JK, MD: I have been very impressed by the intelligence and skill sets among the people I have met at EBSCO. It looks like our integration will indeed be quite synergistic and I’m looking forward to creating some tremendous products.

SPN: What do you believe are the challenges and innovations for the future in healthcare business intelligence industry?  
JK, MD: A dominant and growing challenge for medical care remains the ability for clinicians and their patients to access the best information in an easily understood way and presented at the point of care. We are still scratching the surface of how to support clinicians in this endeavor, and the level of frustration and burnout among many clinicians remains a huge driver for anything that can help the cognitive load and improve decision processes. Given the continuous growth of knowledge, the pressure to see patients quickly, and changing administrative processes, it is easy for clinicians to feel squeezed, and thus have a greater appreciation for anything that can make their jobs easier.

SPN: Anything else you would like SPN readers to know?
JK, MD: We hope you’ll reach out to us with your innovative ideas for collaboration.

Visit www.healthdecision.com and www.health.ebsco.com to learn more about these companies.



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