As part of its efforts to buttress its data and analytics capabilities with additional artificial intelligence muscle, Real Chemistry has snapped up AI firm ConversationHealth. The acquisition, announced today, brings ConversationHealth’s platform, which was specifically engineered for the healthcare industry, under the Real Chemistry banner.

The platform, SaaS, builds what the companies call “conversational micro-journeys” for healthcare providers and patients. To do so, it employs AI virtual agents — generally considered a step up from what have traditionally been known as chat boxes.

The goal is to expand upon conversations HCPs might have with sales reps or pharma companies with patients, according to ConversationHealth founder and CEO Dr. John Reeves.

“People wouldn’t necessarily say they’re looking to have more conversations with their banker, but people are looking to have more conversations with their healthcare providers,” Reeves said. “In healthcare, conversational experiences are actually really important, and that’s why we focus on expert virtual assistants rather than a chat box.”

For Real Chemistry, the acquisition was motivated by a desire to add that conversational AI function to its data and analytics armamentarium, Reeves said.

“Our platform allows us to understand those questions and not only respond with an accurate, immediate response but also be able to offer up resources at a later date,” he explained. “The partnership with Real Chemistry allows us to use their data and to personalize that interaction. It makes a conversation feel humanlike and not robotic in nature.”

The AI virtual agent is thought by many health technologists to represent the future of hybrid communications between pharma companies and HCPs. While many sales reps turned to digital tactics during COVID-19, Reeves believes a desire for more human interactions has led to a new hybrid approach. That includes an expansion of the AI virtual agent beyond a company website and out to where the user sits, whether through banner ads or websites where physicians can be found.

The acquisition of ConversationHealth is Real Chemistry’s tenth since it cemented a partnership with VC firm New Mountain Capital in 2019. ConversationHealth will be housed within Real Chemistry’s data and AI solutions group, which includes Swoop and Real Chemistry acquired both firms last year.

According to the company’s results announcement last month, Real Chemistry saw revenue rise by 35% in 2021, to $439 million from $324 million the year prior.