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PatientSafe Solutions Expands Strategy, Buys Merck’s Vree Health

Xconomy San Diego — 

San Diego’s PatientSafe Solutions, which specializes in mobile and digital health technologies, has acquired all assets of Vree Health, a Merck subsidiary in Annandale, NJ, focused on technologies and services to reduce hospital readmissions.

Terms of the acquisition will not be disclosed, PatientSafe CEO Joe Condurso said by phone earlier this week. PatientSafe plans to maintain an outpost in New Jersey, and the San Diego company extended job offers to 20 Vree Health employees to work there, Condurso added. In a way, the deal keeps Vree in Merck’s extended family, as Merck’s global health innovation fund led a $20 million Series C investment in PatientSafe two years ago.

While the Vree buyout appears to be a relatively small deal, Condurso said it nevertheless marks a new stage in the evolution of the company, which began in 2002 as IntelliDot, a medical startup with barcode-like technology that was intended to help prevent medical errors.

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.

Joe Condurso

Joe Condurso

“We’re continuing to position and drive the company to the areas where healthcare is accelerating—moving from a hospital-oriented solution to a patient-centric solution,” Condurso said.

A primary goal of PatientSafe’s strategy is to avoid hospital readmissions. Each year, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) spend over $30 billion on frequent readmissions, Condurso said. “This brings together the full realization of digital health, and how to engage the patient in an active and interactive way to manage their care,” he added.

As part of PatientSafe’s evolution, Condurso said the company is moving into a new 30,000-square foot facility in Carlsbad, CA, about 30 miles north of San Diego. PatientSafe has grown to over 120 employees, Condurso said.

The company also is in the process of raising a new round of venture funding, although Condurso declined to discuss details. PatientSafe has raised about $73 million since its reinvention in 2009.