Through the pandemic, the modern healthcare industry has experienced a sea change. Stringent lockdowns and severe travel-related restrictions have particularly caused a substantial acceleration in the use of telehealth. In fact, it was the pandemic, which made people realize the importance of remote healthcare services, which were previously not readily opted for.
A FAIR Health analysis showed an almost 3000% increase in telehealth claims from November 2019 to November 2020, up from 0.20% of medical claims to 6.01%.
Meanwhile, it is a burning issue to find out whether the post-pandemic phase is likely to continue witnessing rising demand for telehealth services.
Telehealth 2020 Snapshot
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of telehealth was limited by geographic and provider restrictions. However, the realization that person-to-person contact needed to be significantly reduced led some regulations under the purview of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to quickly get relaxed for the short term to ensure access to healthcare, which contributed to a rapid rise in telehealth use.
Per an article by OncLive, over the course of the pandemic, insurers have paid out anywhere from two to 10 times more per month for telehealth services in 2020 compared to 2019, with a huge surge in the spring, a reduction over the summer, and then a new resurgence as COVID-19 cases spiked in the fall and winter. Per a report by Mckinsey, consumer adoption has surged from 11% in 2019 to 46% now in the United States. Meanwhile healthcare providers have rapidly scaled offerings and witnessed 50 to 175 times more patients via telehealth than ever before.
In this line,
NextGen Healthcare ( NXGN Quick Quote NXGN - Free Report) achieved a significant milestone by enabling more than 1 million patient visits through its telehealth solution in 2020.
Finally, in December 2020, CMS announced that some of the telehealth services that have been expanded as per the pandemic needs will become permanent even after COVID-19.
Telehealth: The Road Ahead
The expansion of telehealth has benefited many patients. People with chronic conditions such as diabetes and many types of heart disease can be effectively monitored with the help of technology like blood glucose monitors, EKGs and pulse oximeters. The growing use of these devices, increasingly employed by families to keep an eye on distant relatives during the various lockdowns, led to accelerated adoption of remote monitoring that is likely to stay in the future as well.
The monitors along with the video interactions that characterize telehealth activity are highly effective and efficient ways to provide high-quality patient care at reduced cost. Moreover, effective mental health treatment, occupational and speech therapy, and even eye exams are being provided through telehealth technologies for the convenience of patients.
Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis “Telehealth: A Technology-Based Weapon in the War Against the Coronavirus, 2020,” projected that the pandemic will continue to reshape care delivery and will open more opportunities for virtual care in the near term. Frost & Sullivan forecasts a seven-fold growth in telehealth in the United States by 2025, a five-year compound annual growth rate of 38.2%. This opens up huge opportunities as well as challenges for providers and vendors with respect to future growth. 3 Stocks to Watch
The following three stocks are well-poised to gain amid the growing popularity of telehealth services, each carrying a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see
the complete list of Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
The pharmacy innovation company with integrated offerings across the entire spectrum of pharmacy care,
CVS Health ( CVS Quick Quote CVS - Free Report) , is first on the list. In March 2021, the company announced “Transform Health 2030” goals. The company’s new goal is to facilitate 65 billion health care interactions by 2030. The company has expanded the HealthHUB model to 650 locations in 2020 and is on track to open 1,500 locations open by the end of 2021. In April 2021, CVS Health announced that MinuteClinic is now offering Video Visits for patients in the state of Montana. The service is available in 47 states and Washington, DC.
The company’s long-term expected earnings growth rate is pegged at 6.7%. The stock has gained 35% in a year’s time compared with the industry’s 38.8% rise.
The world’s first pharmacy-led, health and well-being enterprise,
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. ( WBA Quick Quote WBA - Free Report) , is second on the list. The company is now offering customers even more convenient, safe and easy shopping solutions through the launch of “Same Day Delivery” in less than two hours for retail products. Per Walgreens’ management, as the nation gets ready to emerge from the pandemic, the company continues to focus on enhancing customer experience through integrated and simplified shopping solutions.
Its long-term expected earnings growth rate is pegged at 6.8%.The stock has gained 33.3% in a year’s time compared with the industry’s 38.9% rise.
The provider of information technology solutions and services to healthcare organizations,
Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc. ( MDRX Quick Quote MDRX - Free Report) is the final name. The company’s Veradigm -- a renowned data and technology solutions provider and a business unit of Allscripts -- recently entered into collaboration with Lash Group. With the latest partnership, Allscripts aims to gain traction in the global electronic health record solutions business. Also, Allscripts’ subsidiary, Allscripts Healthcare LLC, collaborated with Revo Health to offer Allscripts Practice Management and Payerpath to all of the latter’s Infinite Health Collaborative (i-Health) clinics.
Its long-term expected earnings growth rate is pegged at 9.1%.The stock has surged 172.7% in a year’s time compared with the industry’s 14.2% rise.
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