Health IT

NantHealth moves into payer realm with NaviNet purchase

The desire to include payers on the NantHealth platform apparently has long been part of Soon-Shiong’s plan.

Patrick Soon-ShiongDr. Patrick Soon-Shiong‘s NantHealth empire is breaking new ground, moving over to the payer side with its acquisition of payer-provider communications platform NaviNet. Culver City, California-based NantHealth and parent company NantWorks announced the deal Tuesday, but did not reveal financial details.

The desire to include payers apparently has long been part of Soon-Shiong’s plan. “The acquisition of NaviNet completes our 10-year vision at NantWorks and NantHealth to integrate and coordinate our complex healthcare ecosystem from the knowledge domain, to the care delivery domain and now to the payer domain, as a single sign-on, seamless, cloud-based, secure adaptive learning system for patients, payers and providers,” the billionaire biotech baron said in a company statement.

NaviNet historically had been a claims processor and number cruncher, but added secure communications for clinical collaboration in 2014 through a service called NaviNet Open. This element in particular intrigued Soon-Shiong.

“Our dream was to address the cognitive overload that faces clinicians today especially in the complexity of cancer, and support community oncologists as well as major academic centers. Finally, we have the infrastructure in place to make this a reality,” he said.

NantHealth President Robert Watson called the NaviNet purchase the company’s “most significant” acquisition so far.

“The company’s large installed base of health plans and provider offices gives us the payer relationships and scale for delivering best-in-class genomics and clinical solutions directly to providers,” he said. “Together, we can now go to market with the industry’s most comprehensive and integrated portfolios for cancer care, population health and wellness by deeply engaging every member of the healthcare ecosystem – payers, providers, patients and pharma.”

Boston-based NaviNet has eligibility and benefits information from more than 450 health plans, and reaches upwards of 170,000 provider locations nationwide, including 2,000 hospitals.

NantHealth has been growing through a combination of product launches, acquisitions — most recently precision medicine startup Health Heritage — and outside investment, including from health IT giant Allscripts Healthcare Solutions.

The company had been planning an initial public offering, but Soon-Shiong told the Los Angeles Times in November that he would postpone the IPO until market conditions improved.

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images