Philips' Consumer Healthcare Division has made another acquisition (press release). This time the target was Health Watch Holdings, a provider of emergency response services - yes, another one of those "I've fallen and I can't get up" companies. Philips paid $750 million for Lifeline last year, but pays only $130 million for Health Watch's 100,000 subscribers. Health Watch also distributes QuiteCare. I would expect an acquisition of a company with a product like QuiteCare at some point, unless Philips comes out with their own product.

Like everyone else circling the nascent home health/remote monitoring market, Philips wants to be a major player in home based chronic disease management. Unlike most everyone else, Philips is going after a related market that, you know, actually exists - the self-pay market.

The acquisition of Health Watch represents a further step for
Philips in building up its presence in the consumer healthcare market –
a business-to-consumer market, where consumers generally purchase
healthcare products and services. Health Watch will add over 100,000
US-customers to Philips Lifeline’s existing base of more than a half a
million subscribers in North America, thereby further expanding
Philips’ presence in the region’s personal emergency response market.
The deal will also increase the number of healthcare organizations and
healthcare referral sources in the Philips Lifeline network, further
contributing to future growth.

Philips Lifeline’s and Health Watch’s twenty-four hour a day
services give independently minded seniors the confidence to maintain
an active life at home, knowing if they suddenly need help, they can
send an alert to a monitoring center indicating they need assistance.
Two-way communication allows a professionally trained operator to
establish the nature of the problem so that appropriate action can then
be taken.

The business delivery system and customer base built up through acquisitions like Health Watch and Lifeline should allow Philips to move quickly when the Healthcare Unbound market actually takes off.

In the past year, Philips has gotten 15% growth from Lifeline and demographics will result in inexorable growth. Pictured right is a snazzy photo that Philips was nice enough to include on their web page with the press release.