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MyHealthDirect deal is a push for a seamless patient experience

Experian's acquisition of MyHealthDirect is a step toward a better patient experience by providing real-time scheduling services across the continuum of care.

Experian PLC is increasing access to scheduling options for patients. On Thursday, the credit reporting agency announced it was acquiring MyHealthDirect, a cloud-based care coordination platform provider, for its healthcare division.

MyHealthDirect's platform provides real-time scheduling across disparate systems, making scheduling easier for providers, payers and consumers, according to a news release. Frost & Sullivan analyst Greg Caressi said the increased scheduling capability guides patients to the right primary care doctor or specialist, and makes patient check-in at healthcare organizations a smoother process.

Jennifer Schulz, the Experian group president overseeing Experian Health, said in a news release that acquiring MyHealthDirect will help the healthcare division evolve its front-end patient access and patient engagement capabilities by "creating solutions that improve consumer convenience while optimizing care across healthcare providers."

The care coordination platform also opens the door to Experian's data, analytics and financial assessment capabilities, combined with capabilities from Experian Health products such as revenue cycle and patient management products. Caressi said the acquisition could help Experian get a step closer to providing a one-stop-shop experience for patients. The terms of the deal were not released.

Experian Health, which collaborates with more than 3,400 hospitals and 7,300 healthcare organizations, nearly 60% of the market, has been reselling the MyHealthDirect platform since 2017. Caressi said that kind of experience with the platform gave Experian time to vet the product and determine if it was a good fit for the company.

What analysts say   

Analysts described the move as unsurprising. Forrester healthcare analyst Jeff Becker said the acquisition is just another example of a non-traditional company driving into the healthcare industry.

"There is frantic interest in controlling patient flow into the traditional healthcare markets and influencing their initial decisions on where to seek care," he said. "Getting that right has meaningful cost savings and revenue generation implications."  

Becker doesn't expect to see much near-term impact on existing Experian customers, as it will take time for Experian to develop and execute its plan for integrating MyHealthDirect's technology. Experian will work to keep the customer experience seamless, but once the company establishes a sales strategy, he expects they will be "courting their existing clients as prospects for the platform."

Caressi said the acquisition makes sense for Experian and that MyHealthDirect's offerings support its healthcare division's products and specific initiatives such as improving patient identity management and providing better care coordination.

How Experian Health works

Experian Health has been in operation for several years. The division is working to use Experian's capabilities as a credit bureau to its advantage, Caressi said.

As a credit bureau, Experian collects information about individuals from across different financial services such as banks and other organizations. It's using the same kind of model for its Experian Health division to collect patient records from across hospital specialists and primary care.

"That's been part of their play … this identity management coming out of their experience in the credit bureau world and using that to help providers connect data on patients across different provider organizations," he said.

Experian Health has also tapped Experian's knowledge about an individual's financial status to build price transparency modules for patients, making them aware of co-pays and other costs for appointments and operations. If patients' financial records indicate they might have trouble covering the cost of an operation, for example, the module offers patients the option of setting up a payment plan. The MyHealthDirect acquisition could help support patient portal modules by connecting patient scheduling and information between different providers.

Caressi said the acquisition is "aligned with this concept of better patient experience through the online portal, more self-service capabilities -- and that's been a big pitch of Experian to its hospital and health sector clients." He also said MyHealthDirect can help Experian with care coordination and connecting the dots between primary care, specialists and hospitals.

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