Big Changes to Come as Sermo and WorldOne Unify


Panorama by on May 23rd, 2014

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WorldOne, a global leader in healthcare data collection, insights and intelligence, is preparing to unify the company’s various divisions, including WorldOne Interactive and Sermo, into a single brand. While the company has yet to make a formal announcement, Peter Kirk, Sermo WorldOne’s CEO, told PM360 that in the next few months the company will be making changes and the end result will be a single entity, with a final brand name still to be determined.

“In moving to the next phase of our evolution, which revolves around unification, we are breaking down walls within the organization and reorganizing our product portfolio and our commercial teams to better serve our customer needs,” explains Kirk. “What this means is that the products aren’t disappearing, they will be housed under the business pillars where they make the most sense to our customers.”

Under the company’s old model, WorldOne Interactive was formed as a separate division of WorldOne in 2011 to serve as its Global Engagement Group. The division was also responsible for some of the company’s market research and intelligence platforms (such as MedLIVE, a survey known for delivering “superfast” responses) as well as its physician engagement and competitive education products (such as DocTANGO, a social health game that derives crowd-sourced intelligence from global HCPs). The company’s reorganization aims to simplify things by making all products and services available through the combined entity. This means that WorldOne Interactive will integrate back into the parent company, which will now separate its various offering through different business pillars.

One of the reasons for this change is to eliminate client confusion. Kirk told PM360 that having three separate entities was simply too confusing for the marketplace and they wanted to make things as easy as possible for their clients. Now, the entire portfolio of products will be under one corporate umbrella and placed into business pillars that make the most sense to clients, including one called Intelligence (providing data collection and insights) and another called Engagement (providing access to physicians via engagement products).

Another reason for the change: To place Sermo at the center of the company’s future.

“In the last six months, we started thinking about how you make the sum greater than the parts and the obvious answer was unifying,” explains Kirk. “We also wanted to figure out where it is that we really wanted to center our efforts, and for us it is our social network. It is Sermo.”

WorldOne acquired Sermo in July 2012 and at the time it was the largest physician social network with approximately 130,000 U.S. members. Kirk says that there are now more than 270,000 U.S. physicians, and the combined entity of Sermo WorldOne has more than 1.8 million healthcare professionals from 80 countries.

“The core of our mission is improving healthcare and one way to do that is to actually use Sermo for exactly what it’s built for—utilizing the wisdom of the crowds, in this case the wisdom of many physicians,” says Kirk. “For instance, SermoSolves, our most popular app on Sermo, goes to the heart of that and helps solve real life cases. That in essence, is medical crowd-sourcing in a fast and efficient manner.”

SermoSolves allows physicians to author and discuss urgent and interesting patient cases from any web- or mobile-enabled device in order to get quick feedback from multiple colleagues. Kirk says they are working on more enhancements to both Sermo and the company as whole, but for now he cannot discuss specifics.

“What we can say is that by unifying the companies under one succinct entity, there will be a sharp focus on continuing to evolve the community into a quicker and more useful utility for our members,” he says. “Innovation, and meeting customer needs, is at the core of everything we do. We are also currently sharpening and evaluating our brand portfolio to better meet those customer needs.”

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