Best Doctors, which offers second opinions and reviews from medical experts around the world, has scooped up the Chicago-based population management company Rise Health for an undisclosed sum.

Rise Health studies large groups of patients and helps payers and providers determine how to treat them all, from the healthiest to the sickest. With Rise Health’s people and technology on board, Best Doctors hopes to be able to predict which sick patients might be best served by its expert opinions.

This might dramatically increase the number of medical reviews Best Doctors arranges every year.

Rise Health also sells patient engagement systems to healthcare providers. The company’s 40 employees will stay in Chicago and Baltimore, the companies say.

Boston-based Best Doctors, which was founded by Harvard doctors in 1989 and now has 650 employees, contracts with large employers to provide expert physician opinions to employees. The experts are chosen by their peers as among the best in a particular treatment area. Most of these doctors are located outside the U.S.

Many of Best Doctors’ customers are Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies that operate all over the world, like Pepsico. Best Doctors makes it easier for these large companies to send executives and their families to far-flung places around the world with some guarantee of good healthcare. Those employees can get access to physicians nearby or can consult with Best Doctors physicians from virtually anywhere.

Best Doctors also designs, implements, and administers health plans for individuals and families. The company says it now has 30 million members worldwide.

“Best Doctors is well-positioned to take advantage of changes that have taken place due to the Affordable Care Act,” says the company’s COO John Varvaris, in a note to VentureBeat. “We are always examining the best ways to optimize our capital structure and believe we’re in a very unique position within the industry.”

Best Doctors has raised a total of $65.5 million in venture funding from Brown Brothers Harriman and Nippon Life Insurance Company of Japan.

Varvaris says the company grew 18.6 percent from 2012 to 2013, and he expects a similar growth rate from last year to this year. The expert physician opinion service and the insurance business contribute roughly equal amounts to the company’s bottom line.

Best Doctors is one of five companies VentureBeat predicts will be the next five IPOs in the digital health space.


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