In the latest instance of consolidation within the thriving point-of-care channel, CheckedUp has acquired fellow POC player Health Media Network (HMN). 

Uniting two of the best-regarded point-of-care organizations, the deal gives the merged entity the scale and breadth of capabilities to compete strongly in what has become one of the health media world’s most hotly contested spaces.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Discussions between CheckedUp and HMN date back to March 2020, a moment at which traditional points of care were thrown into pandemic chaos. CheckedUp CEO Richard Awdeh and HMN COO Carlo DiMarco, who knew each other from their work on the board of the Point of Care Marketing Association (then called the Point of Care Communication Council), found themselves speaking on a regular basis about the bigger-picture issues affecting both organizations. 

“There were conversations around, ‘What are things going to look like on the other side?’” DiMarco recalled. “A lot of companies in this space were built a while ago. The question was how we could make a mark with new technology and a new content philosophy, and get there quickly.”

That question wasn’t answered — and more involved discussions didn’t formally begin — until the start of 2022, when CheckedUp received an infusion of capital from PE firm Rockbridge Growth Equity. At the time, Awdeh said that CheckedUp sought out the external investment to broaden its therapeutic breadth (the company has focused on ophthalmology, dermatology, rheumatology and oncology) and, potentially, pursue acquisitions.

Once the Rockbridge deal closed, one of Awdeh’s first calls was to DiMarco.

“Coming together would give us scale, but it wasn’t only about scale,” Awdeh said. “We share the same DNA, in that patients are the center of everything we do. I saw that in the HMN team and I see it in our team every day.”

CheckedUp chief revenue officer Jim Decker agreed, adding, “When you put the patient at the center of every decision you make, most of the decisions you make are pretty good.”

It didn’t hurt that, even though CheckedUp and HMN had long competed with one another, the organizations boasted complementary strengths and resources. CheckedUp had the wallboards and depth of experience within a handful of therapeutic categories; HMN had TVs and a broader range of category experience.

“The parts fit together really well,” noted HMN EVP of marketing Ann Brown. “Advertisers in particular want to work with partners who can solve a lot of their challenges, in terms of planning and buying. By bringing a bigger entity to the table, we have leverage and clout to create better opportunities for our clients.”

Meanwhile, leaders from both organizations were keenly aware of the increasing expectations among patients, physicians and office staff around the in-office content experience.

“Patients sitting in the waiting room crave a bit of escapism,” said HMN chief revenue officer Joe Petrosino. “The idea is to show them things that are valuable, meaningful, fresh, new and cognizant of the time of year it is. We have an opportunity to provide the best content.”

As for similarly surging expectations around in-office technology, Decker noted that the unified CheckedUp/HMN offering should eliminate any concerns.

“There was this inflection point I saw when I worked in the EHR business, when people went from a fear of having all this new technology to a fear of not having it,” he explained. “You’re seeing the same thing here: You need these TVs educating patients in the waiting room and you need the wallboards in the exam room. It’s no longer a nice-to-have. If patients don’t see it, it’s going to cause them stress.”

No layoffs are expected in the deal’s wake. “There might be some back-office redundancies to address, but there’s nothing significant,” Awdeh said. “We have many new positions we’ll be posting in the weeks to come.”