What Teladoc’s Q3 earnings reveal about the future of telehealth

The news: Teladoc reported $522 million in revenues in Q3—an 81% year-over-year (YoY) spike. But its total net loss was $84.3 million in Q3 this year, which is more than double its net loss from Q3’2020.

Q3 also marked business growth for Teladoc in terms of partnerships and membership:

  • It struck new deals with CVS Health and Centene and rolled out its new primary care (Primary360) offering.
  • Total visits in Q3 went up 37% YoY, topping 3.9 million. However, its actual membership in the US only grew around 2% YoY.

The bigger picture: Telehealth use is plateauing, though it's still 38 times higher than pre-pandemic levels.

  • The volume of telehealth claims in the US has gone down from 7% in January to 4.2% in July, per Fair Health’s Monthly Telehealth Tracker.
  • That’s still around 1,750% higher than the volume of telehealth claims in January 2020 (0.24%).

And it’s not just patients who are warming up to the idea of telehealth being a permanent fixture of the healthcare ecosystem:

  • 58% of physicians view telehealth more favorably than they did pre-pandemic.
  • And 40% of consumers say they’ll continue to use telehealth in the future—up from 11% pre-pandemic, per a 2021 analysis from McKinsey.

What does the next chapter of telehealth look like? Telehealth giants like Teladoc and Amwell face pressure to be dethroned by growing competitors like Amazon Care, Hims & Hers, and Ro.

  • Amazon Care only just launched its virtual care service to employer customers nationwide, and it’s already expanding to in-person home care visits in 20 major cities as of September.
  • And direct-to-consumer companies like Hims & Hers and Ro are doubling down on their patient-centric branding, partnering with retailers, and branching into different telehealth specialties (like dermatology, mental health, diagnostics, and pharmacy).

Nontraditional telehealth entrants are coming out of the woodwork—and they come with new consumer appeal:

  • For example, 23andMe recently acquired Lemonaid to merge its genetic insights capabilities with telehealth to bring precise and personalized healthcare to its consumers.

The big takeaway: Altogether, this competitive landscape could push telehealth giants like Teladoc and Amwell to potentially partner with or acquire a telehealth company that focuses on a high-cost/demand specialty like musculoskeletal care firm Hinge Health or digital diabetes management firm Virta Health.