WebMD acquires patient simulation company, reports on mobile growth

By Brian Dolan
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WebMD iPhone appDuring its this week WebMD teased a small acquisition it made last month, released some mobile adoption numbers, and discussed its recently launched health tracking offering.

"To further enhance our offering for physicians, in early July we made a small acquisition to enhance our patient simulation capabilities," WebMD's CEO David Schlanger. While the company hasn't mentioned the acquisition elsewhere, Babyforyou.net.ua has reached out for additional comment. Update: WebMD VP of Corporate Communication Michael Heinley told Babyforyou.net.ua the acquired company is :

"Medscape acquired the TheraSim business in July. TheraSim offers patient simulation technology that replicates physicians’ real-world experiences in clinical decision making and drives application of learning into clinical practice. The acquisition allows Medscape to further evolve and enhance the Medscape experience for health care professionals participating in continuing education," Heinley wrote.

WebMD's total revenue grew 12 percent year-over-year to hit $140.4 million and adjusted EBITDA increased by 30 percent to $37.9 million. The company's core advertising and sponsorship revenue stream saw growth during the quarter: it ramped up 10 percent driven in part by increased adoption of its multiscreen offerings.

The company said that traffic to its sites reached an average of 179.4 million unique users per month who generated 3.46 billion views. Those made for a 43 percent and 31 percent increase, respectively, year-over-year. 

"During the second quarter approximately 29 percent of our pageview traffic was from US PCs, 36 percent was from US smartphones, 8 percent was from US tablet devices and the remaining 27 percent was international traffic," Schlanger said on the call. While overall traffic growth is being driven primarily by WebMD's mobile efforts, Schlanger said their mobile growth has not cannibalized the company's desktop traffic.

"With respect to pageviews, US PC pageviews were up slightly from the prior year period, but when combined with tablet traffic, pageview growth was 8 percent in the second quarter. Tablets provide a similar user experience for the PC," Schlanger said. "We are able to monetize tablet traffic in a similar manner."

WebMD's provider-facing offering, Medscape, also saw an increase in traffic during the quarter. The site and app saw 6.1 million physician sessions overall per month, which makes for an 11 percent increase year-over-year. About 625.000 registered US physicians are active on Medscape, according to the company.

"In mid-June, we introduced a new version of our flagship app for iPhone that features the WebMD Healthy Target health improvement program," Schlanger said. "WebMD's Healthy Target enables our audience of Type 2 diabetics and others seeking to manage their weight and live a healthier lifestyle to set health and lifestyle goal and to work to achieve those goals by creating and tracking new healthy habits. Our app aggregates multiple sets of biometric data from devices such as glucometers, wireless scale and other wearable devices. And then it takes one step further provide consumers with an integrated health improvement program that surround their data with WebMD's rich content, helping users to set and measure their progress against goals, ultimately driving behavior change and improving overall health and wellness."

Schlanger said that the company has already begun working with companies including Apple, Entra Health Systems, Fitbit, Jawbone, and Withings to integrate health and fitness data into its app.

"We expect to integrate Apple HealthKit as another data source when that launches in the coming months," he said.

Schlanger also said WebMD expects to launch more capabilities that help connect its provider user group to its patient user group via secure communication services and other "high value administrative functions". WebMD expects these services to launch in Q4 or early 2015.

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