Department of Defense Awards McKesson $139M for Patient Engagement, Secure Messaging Contract


The US Department of Defense (DoD) and the Defense Health Agency (DHA) have awarded McKesson a $139 million, five-year service contract with RelayHealth, McKesson’s patient engagement and secure messaging business.

“We are honored to continue supporting the DHA in their readiness mission, which is to ensure a medically ready force and ready medical force,” RelayHealth SVP Ken Tarkoff said in a statement. “RelayHealth is helping to improve access to care, care coordination, care quality, and the responsible management of cost, while the DHA continues to evolve towards a more patient-centered and connected model of care.”

RelayHealth offers a clinical communication system that includes secure messaging, educational content, and care management tools. The system will be deployed to the Military Health System’s (MHS) patients, physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, dentists, and other clinicians, including physician assistants and nurse case managers. MHS will use RelayHealth’s offering to delegate more tasks so that all messages aren’t escalated to the physician.

“[Secure Messaging] is a critical access tool that allows the MHS to increase capacity to meet enrollee demand for care by supporting delivery of virtual care through patient-to-provider and provider-to-provider communications before and after actual appointments,” the DoD said in a statement.

McKesson acquired RelayHealth almost 10 years ago, in 2006.

McKesson Ventures, the investment arm of McKesson, has been fairly active in digital health. In just the past few months, McKesson Ventures invested in PokitDok, which offers a healthcare price comparison tool and API-based tools for healthcare developers, and RetraceHealth, which is a primary care service that is delivered via video visits and home visits. Other McKesson digital health deals from last year include an investment in ClearCare for its cloud-based home care platform and in Carena, which offers a video visit service for health systems.