Aetna Inc. is placing a $400 million bet on the value of health care data analysis.[@@]

Aetna, Hartford, has agreed to pay that much in cash for ActiveHealth Management Inc., New York, a privately held company formed in 1998 that sells a variety of tools for helping doctors, employers, health plans and others collect and use detailed information about patient care.

Aetna says it hopes to complete the deal for ActiveHealth, which has about 300 employees, by June 30.

One ActiveHealth product that Aetna has been using since 2002, the CareEngine System product, can create a virtual patient medical record from health plan claims data, drug claims data and lab test results. Once the system creates the medical record, the system can recommend “treatment opportunities” by drawing on a collection of information about standards of care, Aetna says.

Dr. Lonny Reisman, the president of ActiveHealth and an ActiveHealth co-founder, says the company is selling to get the resources it needs to develop new products.

Aetna, which says it wants to keep the ActiveHealth brand name and ActiveHealth’s managers and employees, is talking about using increased access to ActiveHealth tools to improve its medical management capabilities.

Aetna says it will be taking extra steps to reassure the other health carriers that now do business with ActiveHealth.

“There will be separation of duties for its management and continuation of the technical measures required to secure data and ensure confidentiality among clients,” Aetna says.