Top supplier of electronic medical records to pay $2.55m for cybersecurity firm

Well Health Technologies CEO Hamed Shahbazi | Photo: Chuck Chiang

What happened: Well Health Technologies to acquire Ontario cybersecurity firm

Why it matters: Vancouver company — major supplier of electronic medical records — is looking to expand cybersecurity portfolio

One of the country’s largest suppliers of electronic medical records (EMR) is bolstering its cybersecurity offerings in a deal worth $2.55 million.

Vancouver-based Well Health Technologies Corp. (TSX:WELL) announced Wednesday (July 8) it’s acquiring all assets related to Ontario-based Cycura Inc.’s services division.

The division specializes in penetration and vulnerability testing, security-focused code reviews, incident response services, cybersecurity training and cybersecurity M&A advisory.

Well Health, meanwhile, is the country’s third-largest supplier of EMRs, serving more than 1,900 medical clinics. 

It also owns and operates 20 primary healthcare medical clinics.

Cycura and Well Health had been collaborating for the past year ahead of the acquisition, while the former has seen revenue exceed $1.7 million during that period.

The Vancouver company said it plans to retain "all key employees" in the cybersecurity division and expand Cycura's portfolio of products and services.

The Cycura division will be led by Iain Peterson, who will maintain the title of CEO within the Well Health subsidiary.

Well Health plans to cover the costs of acquisition entirely with cash on hand with the deal expected to close in the third quarter of 2020.

Since the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, Well Health been involved in initiatives such as partnering with McMaster University and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to help monitor the spread of influenza and flu-like illnesses within a community.

The flu automated surveillance tool (FAST) helps collect anonymized data in real time from doctors as they determine if patients are exhibiting flu-like symptoms. 

From there PHAC will be able to respond quicker to manage the risk of outbreaks.

CEO Hamed Shahbazi, whose company is configuring FAST for the EMRs used in this partnership, told Business in Vancouver in March the tool could easily be applied to collect questions relevant to COVID-19 without putting any additional strain on resources.

“There’s no cost to doctors. There’s no cost to clinics. It’s really something we’re doing to be able to get that data back to PHAC,” he said, referring to the collection of data on flu-like symptoms.

“A digitized and automated system like this that provides a more real-time perspective on these systems is really, really helpful because it then allows authorities and public health officials in being proactive in taking steps to either prevent or contain these outbreaks.”

Meanwhile, after the Victoria-based Health Data Coalition expanded its data-sharing application in April — a move that allows B.C. family doctors to compare EMRs — Well Health signed on to ensure users of the EMR system known as OSCAR could maintain access.

The expansion means the majority of primary care physicians across B.C. have access to the data should they enroll in the program.