Jun 18, 2020 (IAM Newswire via COMTEX) -- Even when the acute phase of the crisis has passed, this pandemic will leave a lasting impact. But telehealth stocks are among the lucky ones to be on the winning side. If we learned anything from this pandemic, it is the value of healthcare. The virus exposed many gaps in the current healthcare system, to say the least. And telemedicine is a big part of the solution. By digitalizing healthcare services as much as possible, we can reduce strain on the system, lower costs and increase access for patients with mobility issues.
There aren't many names when it comes to pure telehealth stocks as companies are just entering the arena. But don't fear, there are a bunch of quality combinations of healthcare and technology stocks that will benefit just as much as telehealth continues to flourish. And these stocks have plenty of growth potential over the next decade:
COVID-19 made a star out of Teladoc Health /zigman2/quotes/207420252/composite TDOC +0.24% for a reason. It is ahead of competitors due to a combination of good product, great marketing and first-mover advantage. It has grown its platform capacity by 5x over the past year. Another astounding figure is that it can handle up to 100 million members. So no wonder that the share price has also rocketed up and resulted in a $12 billion market capitalization. Along with a 20x price-to-sales ratio, both being quite abundant for an early-stage growth company that still hasn't reached profitability, it has a world of potential ahead.
We know Zoom Video Communications /zigman2/quotes/211319643/composite ZM +1.56% is among those who saw skyrocketing demand from the pandemic. But its telehealth superpowers are still not as well known. Back in 2017, Zoom launched an offering that is pushed as the "first scalable cloud-based video telehealth solution." It didn't immediately take off as Teladoc but as video conferencing boomed during the pandemic and health professionals benefited from it. Zoom's video healthcare solution has the built-in patient privacy protections, remote waiting rooms, remote camera control and support for cameras, digital stethoscopes, just to name a few. Along with signing key clients, such as Moffitt Cancer Center, one cannot afford to follow up on Zoom Video's progress in telehealth over the coming quarters.
Humana - insurance
Did you really think we can speak of healthcare without mentioning insurance? Humana /zigman2/quotes/203095337/composite HUM -1.53% has been among the very first adopters of virtual doctor visits even before the pandemics. And when COVID-19 swept through the globe, it provided more than 150 different but digitalized health services.
Anthem /zigman2/quotes/203808743/composite ANTM -1.22% was just as quick in taking its place at virtual healthcare, entering the field already in 2016. With more than 200 digital kiosks that allow patients access to community resources, telehealth services, video conferences and insurance benefits information, it provides time help in dozens of languages to everyone in need.
CVS - drugstores
Moving on to drugstores, CVS /zigman2/quotes/209664499/composite CVS -1.66% differs greatly with its all-in-one approach from its key rival Walgreens /zigman2/quotes/203410933/composite WBA +0.17% and its namesake pharmacies. It ties together the pharmacy and the insurance plans. Whether it will be profitable is another question as it's too soon to tell. However, once it realizes its full potential, it could become a massive telehealth player.
iRobot - more than vacuum cleaners!
Believe it or not iRobot /zigman2/quotes/206937768/composite IRBT -1.24% also helped create the first telemedicine robot. IRBT, along with parter InTouch, received Food and Drug Administration approval in 2013 for a robot that could facilitate virtual meetings between doctors and patients. Their RP-Vita robot was useful for allowing doctors to collect information, via iPad, when they couldn't meet with a patient in person. With COVID-19, it seems as a great area to direct research and development funds.
Castlight Health- software
Castlight Health /zigman2/quotes/201298689/composite CSLT 0.00% is a software company that connects various players in the healthcare space: from doctors all the way to insurance firm. It did stumble under its prior CEO which lead to the company losing major customers, but we all know the value of networking! And new management has delivered improved and strong operating results recently. Although it's too soon to see if this progress is sustainable, it helped patients identify COVID-19 test locations. Large revenues are usually not the result of such endeavors, but this did show the value of the network it provides.
Adopting virtual medicine should not only reduce costs but more importantly, improve patient outcomes. The pandemic revealed the enormous inefficiencies in the healthcare systems. Whoever removes the red tape will surely score in its top and bottom lines. And even after COVID-19 is is gone, telemedicine has a lot of potential ahead.
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