Charleston-based benefit services co buys smart searching company

Charleston-based provider of software services for the healthcare industry, Benifitfocus, has bought Charleston-based provider of smart searching software, BeliefNetworks.

BeliefNetworks provides "semantic" searching technology in which Benifitfocus sees a chance for customers to better find relevant information to their benefit plans. 

Think of it like this: You're checking your benefits and the software can scan and interpret what it is you're interested in and offer recommendations. Instead of looking for keywords to match ala Google, BeliefNetworks' software instead aims to understand the words.

Anyways, here's the whole release:

Benefitfocus today announced the acquisition of BeliefNetworks, Inc., a leader in transforming real-time data - including consumer behavior, marketing campaign data and social networking conversations - into actionable knowledge for customers. The agreement includes three patent applications and proprietary software code. These assets and the highly-experienced staff of BeliefNetworks are a valuable addition to Benefitfocus, the leader in Software as a Service solutions for health and voluntary benefits.

BeliefNetworks' unique content and analytic solutions will extend Benefitfocus' current offerings to guide customers in making informed decisions about their benefit elections. In addition, BeliefNetworks' technology will enable Benefitfocus to surface emerging trends and behaviors of interest to both consumers and insurers. For example, consumers can opt to have the content of their individual health profile scanned in order to receive recommendations for benefit selection and suggest behavior changes to improve their personal health and wellness. All recommendations adhere to HIPAA regulations.

The acquisition adds advanced data mining, semantic intelligence and machine learning to Benefitfocus' existing Web-based platform. BeliefNetworks CTO, Ted Tanner, Jr., a veteran of several successful Silicon Valley startups who has also held architect positions at Apple and Microsoft, joins the Benefitfocus team as Vice President of Core Systems. Lisa Maki, President of BeliefNetworks and formerly of Microsoft's Incubation and Research Division, assumes the role of the Director of Design Management. The rest of the BeliefNetworks team becomes part of the Benefitfocus Research and Development division.

"Semantic intelligence will redefine the healthcare industry by proactively connecting consumers, insurers and benefit plans to promote personalized coverage and support for healthy behaviors," said Shawn Jenkins, Benefitfocus President and CEO. "We are fortunate to have obtained this technology from one of the leading companies in the field."

Benefitfocus offers employers, health and voluntary carriers, brokers and consumers a single Web-based platform for benefit shopping, enrollment, management and industry-standard data exchange. In its 10th year of operation, Benefitfocus continues to create innovative software for the healthcare and voluntary benefits market.

About Benefitfocus

Benefitfocus is the largest healthcare and voluntary benefits software provider in the U.S. with 10,571,660 consumers, 326,987 employers, 58,040 brokers and 2,907 carrier representatives live on the Benefitfocus Platform(TM). Benefitfocus offers a single Web-based platform for benefit shopping, enrollment, management and industry-standard data exchange. Benefitfocus - All Your Benefits. One Place.