Structural changes weaving their way through the U.S. healthcare system were reflected in many of the large deals that closed during the fourth quarter of 2018. Some of these gained considerable mainstream media attention, such as CVS’s purchase of health insurer Aetna and insurer Cigna’s purchase of Express Scripts. But less reported were transactions that could significantly impact healthcare technology and media service businesses: 3M’s $1 billion purchase of a business to improve electronic medical records for physicians, McKesson’s investment in a blockchain operator, and the decision by Pfizer and GSK to combine their non-pharma businesses, presumably to allow them to focus on expanding their pharmaceutical drug businesses.
US conglomerate 3M acquired the tech business of healthcare speech recognition company M*Modal for $1 billion, highlighting the company’s bullishness on voice tech in healthcare. M*Modal sells voice software that integrates with electronic health record (EHR) systems and allows doctors to verbally create, edit, and sign patient notes. The acquisition builds on 3M’s existing healthcare portfolio, which includes clinical documentation software according to ZDNet. Voice tech is at a tipping point in healthcare as tech companies push their way into the space and providers look to improve clinical documentation.