ContextMedia, AccentHealth merge point-of-care networks to create industry's largest doc-office media footprint

Point of care marketing firms merge in move to become biggest provider

ContextMedia’s purchase of rival AccentHealth consolidates two of the largest point-of-care networks to make the industry’s largest player, with 55,000 healthcare practices. 

That scale is important in part because ContextMedia will now be able to rival mass media reach, Ashik Desai, ContextMedia’s executive vice president of business growth and analytics, told FiercePharma.

“You’re very quickly building a network where you’re able to reach a volume of targeted patients and providers that looks as large as many of the TV networks that a lot of pharma companies have invested in for years,” he said.

Desai added that he believes the advantage the ContextMedia point-of-care network has over TV is better measurement and the ability to influence in-office decisions.

The two companies will remain separate for now, but one of ContextMedia's first priorities is to get the AccentHealth network upgraded to its technology, he said.

Each network has its own range of in-office marketing technologies, including waiting room tablets, TVs and wallboards that show medical programming along with pharma and healthcare client messaging. AccentHealth recently bought programmatic ad buying specialist PageScience, which also integrates digital, as a way to track patient journeys outside the office.

ContextMedia alone already works with 93 brands across small and big pharma companies, including Novo Nordisk, for which it ran a diabetes campaign that yielded 5-to-1 results, president and co-founder Shradha Agarwal told FiercePharma earlier this year.

Last year, ContextMedia expected to take in $100 million in annualized revenue, according to a Crain’s Chicago Business article, and it was shooting to reach $1 billion in sales by 2020. Total point-of-care industry revenue now represents about $500 million in annual ad sales, according to estimates reported by Mediapost.

For ContextMedia, hitting that goal will mean adding a lot more doctors’ offices. ContextMedia projects that at its current rate of adding 1,500 practices per month, it will have a presence in 70% of all healthcare practices by 2020.

However, bigger is not always better, said Linda Ruschau, the chief client officer of PatientPoint in an interview with FiercePharma. PatientPoint will now be the second largest point-of-care network, with 30,000 physicians' offices.

“At PatientPoint, our message is we will remain a formidable competitor,” she said. “... What I think is important, and the feedback that I’m getting from clients, is that clients still want and need choices. Competition is a very healthy thing in any industry.”

She said her company's focus will continue to be on education so that it will continue to be well-received by doctors and patients, adding, "Quality over quantity. There is a reason there are a lot more Macy’s locations out there, but I still like to shop at Nordstrom.”