Welltok Buys Predilytics to Improve Health Optimization Software

A health IT startup that wants to use IBM’s Watson supercomputer to make personalized recommendations might be getting a bit smarter about which customers to seek out and how to motivate them, following a deal that was announced Tuesday.

Welltok, a Denver-based company, has acquired Predilytics, a Burlington, MA-based company, for an undisclosed amount. Welltok is developing what it calls health-optimization software that consumers can use to track their progress towards health goals and to consolidate data from health and wellness apps and exercise trackers. Eventually, they will be able to get personalized recommendations from IBM’s Watson supercomputer about ways to attain their goals.

Predilytics uses machine learning and other technology to understand healthcare consumers, and it said it has collected and analyzed data for 250 million people. In addition to health data, the company also collects consumer data, helping its customers, such as health insurers, understand “who needs your help, who wants your help, and how you can help them.”

Predilytics has about 30 employees, and they will remain in the Boston area after joining Welltok, a Welltok spokesperson said.

The advantage Predilytics gives its customers—and now Welltok—is that its information goes beyond medical records and insurance claims and enables them to make better predictions, the companies said.

“For too long, healthcare analytics has been focused on what the patient is doing, rather than the consumer. The data is largely clinical, retroactive, and inadequate to understand the needs of consumers,” Welltok chairman and CEO Jeff Margolis said. “This is why Predilytics is so incredibly important—it strives to understand consumers and gain unparalleled insights on behavior and preferences before they engage with the healthcare system.”

While Welltok is developing a consumer-facing product, its customers are insurance plans, healthcare provider networks, and other organizations that have a stake in improving the health of their customers and clients, either so they can cut costs or meet the Affordable Care Act’s requirements. Predilytics will help those organizations understand how to reach and engage the people they’re trying to serve.

Welltok’s software “has the capacity to engage, activate, and reward consumers, but before we can do any of that, we have to understand who the consumer is and where they are,” Margolis said.

Welltok now has about 150 employees and has raised more than $90 million from investors.

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