PatientsLikeMe Buys ReliefInsite to Help Patients Track Their Pain Online

2/16/10

PatientsLikeMe is pursuing new ways to enable patients to manage their healthcare online. The Cambridge, MA-based firm, which operates a social networking website for patients, reports today that it has acquired the online pain management firm ReliefInsite. Financial details weren’t disclosed.

ReliefInsite’s software helps people to track their pain levels online and share the data with their doctors. The technology will be integrated into PatientsLikeMe’s website, providing a new tool for more than 20,000 patients in its online communities who have noted that they experience serious aches due to their illnesses, according to the buyer. PatientsLikeMe also plans to continue supporting ReliefInsite’s existing pharmaceutical and clinical clients.

Fred Eberlein, the founder and CEO of ReliefInsite, is becoming an employee of PatientsLikeMe in Cambridge, according to a company spokeswoman. PatientsLikeMe also plans to continue operating ReliefInsite’s main office in Hungary.

PatientsLikeMe, which has a user base of more than 55,000 patients, makes this acquisition as competition heats up among providers of online health management tools. Last week the firm’s West Coast rival, Keas, announced a deal with New York-based drug giant Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) to expand the use of the startup’s Web-based software, which is designed to help people monitor their health and receive health advice from medical experts.

PatientsLikeMe president and co-founder Ben Heywood gave me an overview of his firm’s strategy and progress earlier this month, saying that the company has been growing as more pharmaceutical firms work with companies like his to, say, access information about patients with specific diseases or recruit those patients for clinical trials. The company has provided services to Swiss drug giant Novartis and Brussels-based biotech firm UCB, among others.

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