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Behavioral Telehealth Seen as Particularly Bullish by Teladoc

Teladoc is the first and largest telemedicine company to made a public offering. In light of their first earnings call as a publicly traded company last Wednesday, Teladoc’s CEO Jason Gorevic and CFO Mark Hirschhorn gave positive earnings figures, with revenues growing by 78% during the first quarter of the year. Membership, subscription fees and the number of visits per covered individual are growing steadily. However, according to MedCity News, Teladoc lost $29.8 million dollars in the first half of 2015, compared to $5.5 million the previous year. Investors have differing opinions about how much of these losses are to be expected. Regardless, Teladoc is setting is sights on behavioral telehealth to fuel the company’s growth in the long term.  

What about Those Legal Battles?

Teladoc reported financial losses last week include an expensive series of recent legal battles. As reported by MobileHealthNews, Teladoc spent $7 in legal fees in this last quarter alone. In February of 2015, TMHI News gave you a glimpse of a legal battle between Teladoc and the Texas Medical Board in an article entitled, Teladoc Wins Restraining Order Against Texas Medical Board. In April, we posted the article, Are US Regulatory Boards Unfairly Limiting Competitors? Telehealth Implications of Recent Supreme Court Ruling, when the US Supreme Court was delivered a ruling that left Teladoc victorious over that Medical Board.

In May of 2015, TMHI News discussed our impressions after hearing Teladoc’s Chief Medical Officer, Henry DePhillips, MD. participate in a highly publicized panel discussion of the Texas Medical Board battle in an auditorium with over 2,000 American Telemedicine Association (ATA) attendees  at the ATA2015 conference in Long Beach, California. See Federal Court Supports Teladoc in Ongoing Saga Against Texas Medical Board for details. 

Then in our June article, Who “Owns” Telehealth? American Well Sues Teladoc Over Patented Telehealth Intellectual Property, we reviewed details of a competitive battle between Teladoc and American Well, one of Teladoc’s leading competitors. Most recently, we reported that on July 1st, Teladoc was the first telemedicine company to go public: Teladoc Went Public at $19 on July 1 —  Share Price $27.50 Today.  Why are we focusing so heaving on Teladoc? Many insiders consider behavioral health to be the key to the success of these companies in the short term.

Bright Spot: Teladoc’s Focus on Behavioral Telehealth

Teladoc’s next focus for maximal growth is with their offerings in telemental health, also referred to as behavioral telehealth (and more recently, “telebehavioral health” for those of you watching the evolution of this terminology). To spearhead their behavioral effort on August 3rd, Teladoc brought aboard Julian Cohen, former CEO and president of Breakthrough Behavioral. As the new president of Teladoc Behavioral Health, Cohen will undoubtedly aim to serve the millions of people who are in need of behavioral care, but unable or unwilling to access such services through traditional systems.

How will this be accomplished? Considered by some to be the “Uber” of healthcare, Teladoc offers behavioral care at a fraction of the costs of traditional care, from the convenience of the Internet, and 24/7. The devil’s in the details, and many behavioral professionals are watching these historic developments with great interest.

Questions for You

After reading reports such as the above, I can’t help but wonder what you are thinking about the re-engineering of behavioral health care through technology. Please use the comment box below to let us know where you mind goes with these questions, or any other questions that occur to you:

  • What do you imagine the role of traditional professionals will be in this brave new world of technology?
  • Can you also imagine career paths for those of us who dare to think about joining such efforts?
  • How can we best educate our graduate school students to be equipped to handle an employment with such companies?

 

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2 comments on “Behavioral Telehealth Seen as Particularly Bullish by Teladoc

  1. To ignore the emergence of telemental health is like the dinosaurs paying no attention to that big rock falling from the sky 65 million years ago. I consider this movement as I did the onset of managed care back in the 80’s. This is the next juggernaut, only let us hope it doesn’t do the damage mangled care did for nearly two decades. Those who do not prepare for this change will likely perish.

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