Parsippany-based MD On-Line to be Acquired by Minneapolis-based ABILITY Network

Photo: MD On-Line's CEO Bill Bartzak was a panelist at a NJTC big data meeting in late 2013. Photo Credit: Courtesy NJTC
MD On-Line’s CEO Bill Bartzak was a panelist at a NJTC big data meeting in late 2013. | Courtesy NJTC

Parsippany-based MD On-Line has agreed to its acquisition by Minneapolis-based ABILITY Network, a health-care technology company. The terms of the deal were not disclosed by the parties, according to an Oct. 15 statement.

Bill Bartzak, who has been the CEO of MD On-Line since he started the company in 1995, will join ABILITY’s senior leadership team, helping to continue to drive the company forward, the statement said.

According to an ABILITY spokeswoman, MD On-Line’s headquarters will become an ABILITY office, and Parsippany will become one of the locations in the ABILITY network.

ABILITY is not only acquiring a company with a vast customer base in the small-practitioner  arena (i.e., practices that have at most six doctors), but also a company with a great deal of technical expertise in applying big data to medical problems.

According to Bartzak, who spoke at an NJTC Big Data event in late 2013, the company has touched 80,000 health care providers across the country, and is recommended to physicians by the websites of 47 major insurance carriers.

MD On-Line was founded to eliminate the paperwork in interactions between doctors and insurance companies, but in recent years it has developed a deep expertise in big data, which it offers as a resource for physicians and their patients.

“Today, for 80,000 providers, we know at all times what doctors are seeing what patients for what conditions,” Bartzak said recently. MD On-Line acquired several companies that have enabled it to use an expanded database to help educate doctors, and help doctors educate their patients, about the latest advancements in medicine.

After acquiring a company specializing in continuing medical education, MD On-Line was able to supply doctors with materials geared to specific conditions. For instance, if a patient is diagnosed with a blood disorder, MD On-Line can inform the doctor about a continuing education symposium on this topic within 100 miles of his or her practice.

“We know clinical trial research,” Bartzak added. “Trying to match patients to the proper trial can be like finding a needle in a haystack. We can make a doctor aware that there is a clinical trial available for a patient with a rare disease within a 100-mile radius of his patient population.”

Another example of big data utilization was MD On-Line’s ability to find patients with extrinsic (allergic) asthma, even though none of them had been identified by code. The company was able to look for patients with allergies and asthma. “We found over 10,000 doctors and over 80,000 patients, which told us that doctors needed to be educated on a new therapeutic solution for extrinsic asthma and needed to recall their patients to come in for a test,” he said.

In the prepared statement about the acquisition, Bartzak said, “Given both ABILITY’s reputation and area of expertise, naturally we gravitated towards an opportunity to align ourselves with their company. We believe this deal holds enormous promise, both for our partners and our providers, and look forward to complementing their existing services with our robust and innovative offerings.

“Through leveraging our respective connections, together we can further expand our reach to penetrate new markets and explore yet untapped areas of potential growth.”

In the same statement, ABILITY CEO Mark Briggs said, “By combining [MD On-Line’s] ambulatory provider customer base with ABILITY customers in the acute and post-acute arenas, we will more effectively deliver solutions that serve patients as they move across the continuum.”

In 2011, Abingworth, an international investment group focused on life sciences and health care, acquired a minority share of  MD On-Line.

Evercore has been the exclusive financial advisor to MD On-Line and its board of directors.

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