Health care survey and analytics firm WorldOne has acquired online physician network operator Sermo for an undisclosed sum.

WorldOne is a survey and analytics firm offering pharmaceutical firms and other health care businesses access to an online panel of 1.7 million physicians, health care professionals and consumers, including more than 1 million physicians in 80 nations.

Sermo, launched in 2006, is a free online community for U.S. physicians, with 130,000 members in 68 specialties. Physicians socialize, debate issues, and seek advice from others on the site.

A mobile app, for instance, enables a physician to take or add a photo, X-ray or laboratory result, choose a suitable question from a drop-down menu and send the information to relevant specialists in the network. Sermo business clients pay for access to physicians to conduct online surveys and focus groups.

Sermo has proven that an engaged online community results in higher interest and response to market research, says Peter Kirk, CEO at WorldOne, which in turn can give Sermo a global reach, he adds.

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