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Teladoc Witnesses Higher Visits Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

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Teladoc Health, Inc. (TDOC - Free Report) , the global leader in virtual care, is witnessing higher patient visit volumes due to coronavirus outbreak.

Last week, patient visit volume was up 50% compared with the week prior to that. The company had been handling visit demand consistent with peak flu volumes, but in the middle of the last week that number accelerated to as much as 15,000 visits requested per day.

Year to date, the stock has gained 52.8% against the industry’s decline of 13.2%.

The company has provided approximately 100,000 virtual medical visits to patients in the United States in the past week. Coronavirus outbreak has brought telehealth services in the limelight.

Despite the U.S. government’s measures to make telemedicine mainstream for the past few years, primarily to minimize healthcare cost and increase access of care, the sector is yet to receive mass acceptance.

Nevertheless, post the COVID-19 outbreak, the situation has drastically changed. A TIME report states, “If extreme measures like mass quarantines come to pass, telehealth could finally have its bittersweet moment in the spotlight, potentially generating momentum that proponents hope will continue once life returns to normal.”

Telemedicine stocks received an impressive response, when in February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked healthcare service communities to increase the use of telemedicine in broader ways. Added to this, the House recently passed an emergency spending bill, allowing medicare reimbursement for telehealth during crisis situations.

In order to address this crisis, the company has setup an interactive arrangement that allows patients to talk to a U.S. board-certified physician by phone or video. Further, it is currently enabling health systems to provide virtual care on a greater scale through the technology and capabilities of both Teladoc Health, as well as its newly-acquired InTouch Health platform.

Notably, CVS Health Corporation’s (CVS - Free Report) health insurance division Aetna (which was merged in 2018) too is developing and expanding its telehealth offerings, in an effort to restrict the spreading of COVID-19. Anthem, Inc. (ANTM - Free Report) is currently working on boosting adoption of its telehealth app called LiveHealth Online. Per a CNBC report, a huge number of physicians and other health professionals have been lined up on this app, who can be consulted through LiveHealth Online.

Teladoc carries a Zacks Rank#3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. A better-ranked stock in the healthcare space is UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH - Free Report) with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The stock surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the positive surprise being 3.65%, on average.  

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