Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CED Member Family Health Network acquires Atlanta firm

CED Member and Health IT firm Family Health Network is bolstering its software firepower with a deal that brings the company key patents on search and other Internet technologies along with a former BellSouth executive steeped in the telecommunications business.

Family Health, based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, did not disclose financial terms of its acquisition of DCS Health. CEO Harry Bailes would only say that it was an equity transaction.

But in acquiring Atlanta-based DCS, Bailes said his company gains not only the technologies and telecom connections of the company, it also gets a link to Atlanta where Family Health hopes to build connections with the healthcare, telecom and investment communities. Family Health has raised more than $600,000 in a $1 million series A round and as the company integrates DCS’ technologies into its offerings, it will look ahead to another financing round for expansion.

“We are in a position to grow and it’s going to require more capital, either from investors or strategic partners,” said Bailes, who declined to specify a funding target for the next round. The company has been funded so far by friends and family as well as angel investors.

For now, Family Health will build on its synergies with DCS. Family Health has been focused on developing its software offering for the elderly and their caregivers. The market for technology to help aging adults is expected to grow from $2 billion today to more than $20 billion by 2020, according to market research firm Aging in Place Technology Watch. Sales will be driven by the aging of the 78 million baby boomers, their increased awareness of technology and their use of that technology.

Bailes said that Internet-based technologies, particularly in healthcare, are empowering consumers to make their own health decisions and Family Health aims to be part of that emerging trend. Family Health’s “Connected for Life” software offers features such as reminders to take medication and the capability of caregivers to monitor a user’s health status and medication use.

The company is currently participating in a National Institutes of Health-funded study to evaluate how the elderly use the software. While Family Health emphasized the patient side of these technologies, DCS’ has focused on building connections to the healthcare system. Bailes said DCS brings new capabilities such as the ability to search health insurance plans or other health information. DCS calls its software platform “Health over Internet Protocol” or HoIP. Bailes said Family Health’s focus will remain on the so called aging in place market but DCS brings to the company additional tools.

With the acquisition, DCS Health founder Doug Bulleit, former BellSouth chief strategist, joins Family Health in a “senior product and planning role.” Bailes said that in addition to becoming the Atlanta face of Family Health, Bulleit will take the lead on company interaction with telecom players such as Verizon and AT&T.

Family Health is still early stage, but Bailes said that the company’s technology could reach users in a number of ways. The company is currently in talks with Johnston County, North Carolina, just south of Raleigh, on a plan to deploy a community-wide system. A separate pilot project is planned using the technology at a Research Triangle healthcare institution that Bailes declined to name. He also envisions the technology being made available to individual users.

From WRAL Techwire