Telehealth vendors expand their solutions
May 6, 2019
NEW ORLEANS – The annual American Telehealth Association meeting, held here in April, was used by several vendors to announce the launch or imminent launch of new or upgraded platforms. As telehealth pivots from being proprietary hardware-based to hardware agnostic, the future battleground for vendors will be platforms.
Signify Research has produced a report on projected telehealth trends and the ATA conference: https://www.signifyresearch.net/digital-health/ata-2019-dont-fooled-first-impressions/
- InTouch Health, a leader in the inpatient telehealth market, announced its acquisition of its competitor Reach Health at the show 12 months ago, having also purchased virtual clinic platform vendor/service provider TruClinic in January 2018. In New Orleans, it demoed the fruits of its labour over the last 12 months with its new platform “Solo.” Solo brings together many of the features of the three companies’ legacy solutions into one platform that serves both the inpatient, direct-to-patient and remote care/virtual clinic markets. The solution will be available from July this year, but InTouch used the show to demonstrate and soft-launch Solo. InTouch has for some time been developing its strategy and solutions to address the enterprise-scale needs of its customers, across a range of care settings. Its launch of Solo marks a major milestone in this journey and positions it well as providers are increasingly demanding solutions that can be scaled across multiple settings and specialties.
- AMD Global Telemedicine (AMD) also announced the launch of a new platform – AGNES Connect – a cloud-based upgrade of its legacy AGNES Interactive solution. The update simplifies navigating internal IT firewalls when providers roll out AMD telehealth solutions. AMD positions this as key in supporting providers when expanding their use of telehealth across different locations, particularly those scaling up enterprise-wide telehealth implementation. This latest announcement marks another step for AMD along the journey from point-solution cart provider (a category most telehealth vendors can’t wait to shake) to enterprise-scale platform vendor. AMD’s strength has historically been in rural care telehealth solutions; however, this platform upgrade and its launch of a direct-to-consumer platform – OnDemand Visit – in April 2018 enables it to increasingly boast an enterprise-scale offering. Its challenge will be differentiating as other larger vendors, both from consumer and inpatient legacy markets, are also following a similar strategy, particularly in the highly competitive US market. The last 12 months have seen a spate of companies that historically sold physician support services starting to offer providers and health systems access to their platforms without having to use the accompanying services. This has been seen in both inpatient and direct-to-consumer settings with several relatively new solutions being demoed during ATA.
- SOC Telemed (formerly Specialists on Call) was demonstrating its TelemedIQ platform, which it first launched in 2018. TelemedIQ is the platform that SOC Telemed had been using internally to support its neurology, critical care and behavioural health telehealth service offerings where it provided over 150,000 consultations during 2018. By uncoupling its platform and service offering it can now support its customers as they expand their use of telehealth beyond these three specialities, allowing it to provide a platform and service solutions for critical care, neurology and behavioural health and just a platform solution for other specialities. It also allows providers to “balance” their internal behavioural health and neurology specialist capacity against demand. Not only does this ensure it has a better chance of retaining its existing customers, but it also opens up its addressable market as customers look for more flexible solutions. However, this move is not without risk as transforming business models from physician support services to technology provision is a significant challenge. It is now competing with a new set of vendors from the pure-play platform and hardware sectors. It also runs the risk of a fall in average revenue per session should some of its existing service customers opt to just use the platform in future, resourcing the physician support services internally. That said, overall Signify Research believes the upside potential is greater and it’s a move SOC needed to make – not only to support enterprise-scale telehealth demands from its customers, but also as technology vendors encroach on its physician support service market.
- GlobalMed had previously used HIMSS to announce several key platform developments (such as the implementation of its eNCounter platform on Microsoft Azure and the launch of its cost simplified cart and platform packages). It instead used ATA to push the advantages of uncoupling the link between services and providers, albeit from a platform vendor perspective, with its message “just add your providers,” a dig aimed at the direct-to-consumer vendors such as MDLive, American Well and Teladoc Health, who have historically tied platform and service provision together. That said, those direct-to-consumer companies which traditionally just targeted the payer/employer market, have also decoupled their platform and service offerings recently, particularly as they increasingly target the provider market. Teladoc Health and MDLive have both recently opened-up their platforms for providers to implement on a white label basis using their own internal physician resources, something one of their largest competitors, American Well, had offered for some time.
- Indeed, during ATA American Well announced how its platform and Tyto Care’s remote monitoring hardware was being used by Ochsner Health System in its white label deployment, “Ochsner Anywhere Care.” This marked the first occasion a healthcare provider in the US had deployed an American Well platform alongside Tyto remote monitoring hardware.
- Teladoc Health and MDLive didn’t make any specific announcement during ATA in relation to this trend. Teladoc Health’s announcements focused on the expansion of services into Canada just prior to ATA. This was the latest international announcement from the company which has transformed itself over the last 18 months (mostly via acquisition) from a US only, consumer-focused service provider to an international vendor addressing a range of acuities, products and customer types. MDLive announced its new clinical quality metrics tool, CareLink. The tool supports its customers (providers and health plans) maximizing reimbursements and bonuses, particularly in relation to quality measures such as HEDIS Scores and Star Ratings, placing telehealth at the core of population health/patient engagement initiatives, a trend we discuss next.
- Vivify Health was demoing its Vivify Pathways solution, with a particular focus on how its offering has morphed from a traditional RPM solution aimed at monitoring the highest risk patients, to a comprehensive PHM solution with RPM offerings for “Healthy and at Risk,” “Rising Risk” and “High Risk” populations. Its solution now goes beyond RPM to include risk stratification tools, care management tools, educational content and video constulation tools.
- Medocity was also at ATA demoing its virtual care platform. Similar to Vivify Health is has transformed its largely RPM focused solution into a broader population health management offering, again with the addition of modules to suppport risk stratification, care coordination, care management and patient education.
- Resideo Technologies (formerly Honeywell Life Care) had announced a “refresh” of its LifeStream telehealth platform for RPM (LifeStream 5.4) during HIMSS two months ago. It continued to push this announcement during ATA with a particular focus on some PHM type features such as videos to support patient engagement/education, “pain monitoring” and an updated UI that supports click and call video consultations. Whilst not at ATA, Philips, a leader in RPM, has also followed this strategy recently demoing the integration of its PHM and RPM solutions at HIMSS in February. It should be noted that we don’t see this overlap between telehealth and PHM being restricted to RPM. There are similar trends in relation to on-demand, care transition and ambulatory care; however, RPM is certainly leading the way.
Our final comment relates to the standing international business received at ATA this year. Much of the recent market excitement relates to US developments in reimbursement and the opportunities that this will present. However, throughout many of my vendor meetings a regular theme was how many countries vendors sold into (some now boasting numbers in excess of 100), and how many they’d added to their list during the show.
Many of those discussed above, such as AMD Global, InTouch Health, GlobalMed, American Well/Avizia, and Teladoc have a significant international footprint in terms of the number of countries they sell telehealth solutions into (although actual revenues tends to be proportionally less).
The US still takes a disproportionately large share of the market, but other regions are forecast to grow faster over the next decade and those vendors that have already put in place networks, sales channels, partnership and strategies are likely to see the rewards in the medium-term.
About the Report
Signify Research is currently producing the 2019 update to its market report “Telehealth (Acute, Community and Home) – World.” The report is an update on its 2018 edition and will present the market for telehealth platforms, hardware and services for more than 20 countries across a range of care settings including acute, surgical/medical support, care transition, RPM and on-demand consumer telehealth. The report will include a strategic analysis of all of the vendors mentioned here, including SWOT analysis and a dive into the key challenges for each vendor as the market develops.
About the Author
Alex Green (pictured) has 21 years’ experience in tech market intelligence. He leads on Signify Research’s Digital Health offerings focusing on population health management, EHR/EMR and telehealth. Prior to joining Signify he served as a Senior Research Director at IHS and as a Business Analyst/IT Project Manager in a joint NHS/Government role.