The news of a major acquisition can send tremors through an industry, whether it’s technology or tires, aerospace or pharmaceuticals.
However, in the telemedicine industry, it’s a different story. While it was big news a few weeks ago when Teladoc announced its $600 million acquisition of InTouch—it wasn’t a complete surprise. There have been dozens of acquisitions in the last few years. American Well’s acquisitions of Aligned Telehealth and Avizia over the last two years just added to the mix. Teladoc has been acquiring companies for years. Its revenue, for example, has grown the most from acquisition. It is hard to believe that in the original IPO filings, the company showed revenue in $19.9MM for 2013. That’s incredible. The U.S. telemedicine market alone is expected to reach $64 billion by 2025, continuing its rapid growth trajectory.
For Teladoc, which grew from a startup in Dallas in 2002 to a $417-million revenue company by offering telemedicine as an alternative to outpatient physician visits, the InTouch acquisition brings Teladoc an introduction into the inpatient world. It’s a unique acquisition in that the respective models have little overlap, with InTouch traditionally a hospital-based hardware platform and Teladoc’s presence weighted to the ambulatory sector. The InTouch technology platform for the hospital setting opens the door to new hospital opportunities for Teladoc.
What does the acquisition mean for Eagle Telemedicine?
First of all, the rapid growth in the telemedicine sector and industry focus is good news for Eagle. It means that the market has found value in its products and services and believes it has staying power. With this recognition, comes new opportunities for growth. But, we knew that already! 2019 was a strong growth year for us, and 2020 is unfolding in a similar fashion, keeping us busy exploring new opportunities with health systems and hospitals. We are now in more than 179 hospitals across the United States, providing a multitude of inpatient telemedicine services and growing rapidly.
Are we concerned that an industry giant is in our space?
We’re not. The telemedicine market is still young. Inpatient telemedicine care is still in its early stages. At Eagle, we were a pioneer in developing technology-enabled care, after all. We work with a wide variety of remote deployment telemedicine technologies and EMR platforms—including but not limited to the InTouch telemedicine platform. We are flexible and experienced enough to work with any technology platform our partner hospitals prefer. Our proprietary ETHOS software helps us manage this.
Many of our customers use the InTouch platform. We have more than 10 years of experience using the InTouch platform and have found it be an excellent and reliable technology. Marrying the worlds of outpatient and inpatient telemedicine with a single platform makes good business sense.
Teladoc is already helping hospitals set up their own direct-to-consumer applications to provide virtual physician visits to patients. There also is big opportunity for the company to help hospitals manage post-acute care, using telemedicine to check on patients once they return home and avoid a costly return visit to the hospitals. That is another great use of Teladoc’s physician-to-consumer experience.
No one can match our telemedicine physician teams
The InTouch acquisition also gives Teladoc a wide entrée to offer inpatient care telemedicine services to hospitals, too—but that’s an area that no one handles better than Eagle Telemedicine.
Teladoc reportedly has a network of 55,000 physicians who treat non-emergencies such as the flu, pink eye, mental-health issues and other conditions via telemedicine in physician practices, offices and other workplace settings, schools and even on the ball field.
Hospital care has a much different set of requirements. Inpatient telemedicine providers must be credentialed to work in the hospitals they are assigned to and licensed in respective states just as if they were working there in person, and they must have the skills necessary to lead “on the ground” clinical teams including doctors, nurses, therapists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists and more. Our TeleHospitalists can handle codes and rapid response, our TeleIntensivists can round on patients…the list goes on!
We’ve spent 10 years building our telemedicine physician teams, who work in small, focused groups (known as Eagle Pods) dedicated to a hospital or group of hospitals versus the other competitors who use the “uber” model where you have panels of physicians available. As a physician who began working as an internist in an office/hospital practice starting in 1983 and as a hospitalist in 2003, I used my experience to build a telemedicine clinical model I knew would work for hospitals: technology-enabled care. Our physicians lead, and the technology enables better and consistent patient consultations.
It’s that experience that leads hospitals to partner with us. It will continue to be our differentiator in the market—no matter how the competitive landscape changes in coming years.