Athenahealth Gets Personal Assistant, A.I. With $63M Praxify Buyout

Athenahealth is further building out its suite of applications and programs that help physicians and patients interact with electronic medical records with its largest acquisition since 2013, announcing today that it has bought Palo Alto, CA-based Praxify Technologies for $63 million.

With Praxify, Watertown, MA-based Athenahealth (NASDAQ: ATHN) is getting a company that has built physical-focused apps, including a personal assistant program that’s integrated with existing electronic health records and artificial intelligence programs that aim to engage patients, the companies say. Praxify’s technology gives Athenahealth expertise in mobile and user experience design, according to a news release.

“Leveraging advancements in machine learning and natural language processing, Praxify has invested several years in developing highly intuitive technology to enhance the delivery of high quality patient care,” Prakash Khot, Athenahealth’s chief technology officer, said in the news release.

While Athenahealth hasn’t been an active acquirer, it has made a few notable buyouts during the past few years to add to its technology stack. In August, the company acquired Filament Labs for $15.2 million, an Austin, TX, startup that does business as Patient IO, the name of its patient-focused app that has some similarities to Praxify’s software. The service aims to help healthcare providers encourage patients to follow a healthcare plan they might receive after visiting a doctor or hospital.

Athenahealth’s last big tech purchase was in 2013, when it acquired San Mateo, CA-based Epocrates for about $293 million. Epocrates had an app for clinical content and tools used by some 330,000 physicians at the time, and was an attractive asset as the company continued to raise its profile among doctors, its primary customer base. In 2015, Athenahealth paid almost $40 million for RazorInsights and another $22 million for WebOMR, companies with cloud-based offerings for electronic health records.

Praxify, which also has an office in India, is being incorporated into Athenahealth’s overall cloud technologies, the company says.

Athenahealth made headlines last month when activist investor Elliott Associates bought a 9.2 percent stake in it, sending its stock soaring. Elliott said it believed Athenahealth’s stock price at the time provided an attractive investment opportunity.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at [email protected] Follow @xconholley

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