The Wellness Network acquires Milner-Fenwick

Pewaukee in-hospital TV distributor adds video production firm


Pewaukee-based in-hospital education television network The Wellness Network has acquired Maryland patient education video publisher Milner-Fenwick Inc. The terms of the transaction, which closed Friday, were not disclosed.

Dave Ross

The Wellness Network, which has 51 employees, also has offices in Eau Claire and in New York, as well as a technical operations center in Melbourne, Florida. About 25 of its employees are in Pewaukee. Owned by New York private equity firm Wafra Partners LLC, TWN is the largest in-hospital education television network in the U.S., with 2,300 hospitals, 300,000 tablet and TV screens, and a monthly online engagement of 550,000 people. Among TWN’s products are the Newborn Channel, Patient Channel, Your NICU Baby, Bundoo, HeartCare Channel, Med Serenity Channel, Logicare Patient Instructions and Joint Commission Resources Quality & Safety Network. The channels, which can also be viewed on a mobile device, offer more than 2,800 clinically reviewed educational videos and print resources to inform, empower and engage patients in self-management.

Milner-Fenwick, which has about 20 employees, creates peer-reviewed health education videos, including HealthClips Essentials, HealthClips In Depth, HealthClips Home DVD and HealthClips Waiting Room. Its videos serve health providers, like hospitals; payors, such as insurers; partners, including web publishers; and advocates, such as gyms. All of Milner-Fenwick’s employees will be kept on in the transaction, including former owners David and Richard Milner.

“(Milner-Fenwick is) a very strong production and content company and they do a lot of original production out of their Baltimore facility,” said Dave Ross, chief executive officer of TWN. “We don’t do any of that original production out of our group here, or at least we don’t have production employees. So it’s a good fit.”

With the acquisition, TWN has gained a library of nearly 700 videos, most of which are available both in English and Spanish, to increase its selection of condition-specific educational content and offer providers a more complete solution for patient education.

“We’re a good distributor and maker of patient education videos, but they really are best in class in my opinion, in making patient education videos,” Ross said. “I think they’re the best in the country and that’s why I was interested in them.”

TWN has been growing rapidly as more hospitals adopt patient education products. It has set itself apart from about five national competitors by having more content and more ways to access its content, Ross said.

“There’s so much technology and evidence-based practice of medicine, but that hasn’t been applied as much to the patient experience,” he said. “Patient awareness and understanding and buy-in to their treatment plans will actually lead to better patient outcomes. There’s more and more need for the tools for increasing patient understanding.”

Combined, the companies work with more than 53 percent of U.S. hospitals, about 3,200 of them. They will continue to expand their video library and deliver it to patients to increase understanding and engagement.

“My family has spent over 40 years pioneering and evolving the patient education video format to enhance and support today’s health care communication environment,” said Dave Milner, president of Milner-Fenwick. “As part of The Wellness Network, our tremendous library will be seen by more patients and their families and ultimately have greater impact on ROI for health care providers.”

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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