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Dutch technology conglomerate Philips has acquired a small Boston-based health-tech start-up called Medumo for its health care business.

Medumo uses a combination of email and SMS to deliver instructions to patients, on behalf of its hospital customers. The company, which has fewer than 30 employees, fits into the so-called “patient engagement” trend, which involves providing tools for medical providers to stay in touch with their patients outside of the four walls of the doctor’s office.

For Philips, the acquisition could present an opportunity to build a service for its pre-existing health system customers.

Philips has been on an acquisition streak for its health care portfolio, which includes a variety of products for hospitals, like medical devices, imaging systems and alarm systems to help doctors attend to the most critical patients. Several months ago, it acquired Carestream’s health IT business to add to its radiology informatics business, and it snapped up a handful of other health start-ups in 2018 in areas ranging from sleep and respiratory care to next-generation biosensor technology.

Philips and other traditional health tech providers could face increasing competition with traditional tech giants like Amazon, Apple and Alphabet. These technology companies are all building their own businesses in health care, ranging from consumer-focused smartwatches with health monitoring features to IT systems that are designed to help clinicians fill out patient medical records.

Medumo’s partners include Boston Children’s Hospital, which has said hospitals lose billions of dollars every year due to missed appointments and improper procedure preparation or discharge instructions. Its other major customer is Harvard hospital Brigham Health, which recently raved that Medumo is one of its best start-ups. One of Medumo’s initial applications is to guide patients through a colonoscopy, earning headlines about how it “texts you about your poop.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Phillips sent out an internal memo announcing the deal on Wednesday, but had not disclosed the acquisition publicly.

A spokesperson confirmed, “Philips has signed an agreement to acquire US-based health startup Medumo, which will bring an advanced Diagnostic Patient Management (DPM) offering to Philips’ expanding diagnostic digital services portfolio.”

They added, “With Medumo’s software application aimed to remind and prepare patients for pre-exam tasks, we are enhancing the connection to the patient and their care, while improving operational outcomes for our customers.”

Philips explained that it makes acquisitions as an “add on” to fill in specific gaps in its portfolio.

Medumo, which got its start in 2013, raised a small seed round in 2018. It’s a graduate of the Silicon Valley accelerator program Y Combinator and the MassChallenge health-tech program in Boston. 

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