Management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton announced the acquisition of Epidemico, a Boston-based informatics company providing early insights, continuous monitoring and consumer engagement for varied aspects of population health, including disease outbreaks, drug safety and supply-chain vulnerabilities.
The deal is part of the company's strategy to further develop advanced analytic capabilities in areas such as population health.
By combining innovative data acquisition and analysis technologies with public health expertise, Epidemico delivers surveillance systems and consumer-centric engagement tools, and is also known for its global population health solutions.
"While a small business, Epidemico will have a tremendous impact on Booz Allen. This acquisition represents our commitment to investing in industry-leading capabilities, which Epidemico clearly has in digital disease detection and product safety, that will help position the firm to capture new work and business," Mark Jacobsohn, senior vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton, told eWEEK. "Along with bringing superior public health and data science expertise, the Epidemico team has a culture of innovation and a level of client commitment that fits excellently with our own values at Booz Allen."
The team at Epidemico, which is a commercial spinoff of Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has particular expertise in how to extract value from multiple large data sets.
The company's proprietary software platform is also transferable to multiple industries and business use cases.
"Epidemico will play an important role in our broad next-gen analytics strategy by bringing leading-edge expertise in epidemiology and social media analytics as well as relationships with world-class institutions, like Boston Children's Hospital," Jacobsohn said. "Ultimately, we want to offer a full portfolio of analytic platforms and solutions to address the critical needs of our entire client base and provide the firm with alternative revenue streams through license and data sales. Epidemico's expertise in social media analytics and bio surveillance is captured in their set of products and solutions, which will be helpful to that goal."
One of Epidemico's commercially licensed products, HealthMap, is one of the leaders in the field in digital disease detection, tracking more than 200 infectious diseases worldwide in 15 languages.
Data is automatically aggregated from more than 50,000 online sources, including news aggregators, eyewitness reports, expert-curated discussions, validated official reports and social media.
Through natural language processing and proprietary algorithms, alerts is tagged, filtered, analyzed, and visualized by machine and public health experts.
Another one of the company's products, MedWatcher, is a suite of tools aimed at helping the general public, clinicians and regulatory scientists better understand potential risks from medical products.
It collects and visualizes adverse event data from online sources, including individual reports, social media, patient communities, news outlets and the FDA. Further, the public mobile app allows users to submit adverse event reports directly to the FDA using a simple form.
"Innovation in the tech industry has revolutionized multiple aspects of everyday life, including how we purchase retail products, manage our finances, interact socially and more," Robin Heffernan, chief operations officer at Epidemico, told eWEEK. "The health space is one of the most exciting areas for IT, as it remains a large driver of overall economic activity as well as personal daily impact. There is a huge opportunity to disrupt traditional health care systems and practices to achieve greater quality, efficiency and satisfaction on multiple levels."