Teladoc plans to launch its first chronic condition management program by the end of the year, CEO Jason Gorevic revealed at a session toward the end of the American Telemedicine Association convention in Minneapolis.
“We’re still in the final stages of deciding whether it’s going to be cardiovascular disease or diabetes,” he said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for more longitudinal care. Behavioral health was the first step in really moving from acute episodic to a longitudinal relationship between provider and patient and providing this patient with care over a long period of time where we track their progress. Having now built that infrastructure we’ll be able to leverage that over more chronic conditions.”
He added that the product may not be entirely an in-house production of Teladoc.
“In many cases we’re going to build that ourselves, in others we’re going to partner with other parts of the market,” he said. “We don’t feel like we have to build everything ourselves, but we do feel we have the opportunity to be the single point where people come for all things remote care. That may be for immediate access to a provider or to schedule multiple visits over the course of time. It may also be as a distribution channel for devices that enable them to interact better with a provider at a higher level and with a greater depth of clinical intervention.”
At a session the previous day, Roy Schoenberg, CEO of Teladoc competitor American Well, also indicated that his company sees the space moving beyond acute care into chronic disease management, though he didn't share any launch plans. Diversification of telehealth offerings is one of the goals of the Exchange marketplace Schoenberg launched Tuesday morning.
The implicit question raised by both companies’ plans is what will the relationship of providers and telehealth companies be going forward. Gorevic said, as he has in the past, that providers are their largest growing customer group.
“I would say the employers are past the early adopters, even past the fast followers, into the mainstream [stage of adoption],” he said. “The providers are more in the early adopter stage. Not that we didn’t want to sell to them before, but providers weren’t buying. They were occupied with the ACA and other big changes. Now they’re starting to understand, if they’re at risk, they have to start delivering care in a way that uses resources more efficiently and delivers care the way the consumer wants it.”
Because the biggest problem hospitals have is the over-taxing of their resources, Gorevic says there isn’t much worry that Teladoc will replace them, even if the company is moving into the chronic disease management space.
“The hospitals are some of our best partners,” he said. “They need help interacting with their patients in a remote fashion. And not all of their physicians want to participate: 10 to 15 percent of the physicians within any given hospital want to be part of the telehealth network. In many cases, we enable them to be the front line and then wrap our coverage network around them sort of like a big call coverage group.”