Catalina Health will be combined with Adheris to form a medication-adherence powerhouse

Both companies work through retail pharmacy, but are also extending services to point-of-care and direct-to-patient

InVentiv Health (Marlborough, MA) is buying the Catalina Health subsidiary of Catalina, a major direct-marketing firm, for an undisclosed price; the acquisition will be combined with inVentiv’s Adheris unit to form what the company calls “the nation’s largest provider of tailored, direct-to-patient medication adherence programs.” Renee Selman, president of Catalina Health, will become president of the combined business, which itself is part of another inVentiv grouping called inVentiv Health Patient Outcomes.

Mark Dmytruk, president of Patient Outcomes, explains that traditionally, Adheris has managed mail, telephone and messaging refill-reminder services for major retail pharmacy chains; some 20,000 pharmacies are part of its network. Catalina Health also has relationships with pharmacy chains, but has a proprietary platform to insert reminder messaging in patient receipts and other communications. Adheris has also been extending its franchise in recent months with the selection of a mobile-communications vendor, CellepaticRx, that provides HIPAA-compliant direct-to-patient communications services for healthcare providers. Of equal interest, Adheris has been working with Dr. First, a leading electronic health-records (EHR) company, and Epocrates, a popular drug-information resource (now owned by athenahealth, another EHR vendor) to connect adherence program information with physicians’ workflows at the point of care. Messaging from pharma to doctors through EHR systems is a new channel of communications with high potential for pharma marketers.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen growing client demand for coordinated patient messaging and an increased focus on patient-centric outcome strategies,” says Dmytruk, noting its importance in the Medicare Star program for rating healthcare systems, and the “meaningful use” incentives that are part of HHS’ program to encourage EHR use. “The acquisition improves our ability to deliver exactly what our clients need.”