- Teladoc is integrating its virtual care platform for hospitals and health systems with Microsoft Teams in a bid to streamline clinician access to telehealth within the existing workflow.
- More hospitals and health systems have adopted Teams to connect with patients via video during the coronavirus pandemic, the companies said Wednesday. Teladoc's Solo platform will be integrated into the Teams environment, meaning doctors will be able to access clinical data within the EHR via Solo without leaving Teams, by early 2022. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
- Teladoc and Microsoft said the integration was the first of new tools they plan to bring to market to improve care quality and health system efficiency. "We're not making any additional announcements today but with the breadth of care capabilities and data of Teladoc Health and the technology capabilities of Microsoft there will be a lot of opportunities," a spokesperson for Teladoc told Healthcare Dive. Teladoc's stock perked up almost 3% in premarket trading Wednesday following the news.
Telemedicine utilization snowballed during the coronavirus pandemic amid skyrocketing demand for virtual care in 2020 that's continued into this year. Though early data shows utilization is beginning to trail off, telehealth visits remain significantly elevated compared to pre-COVID-19 levels.
That demand has oiled the growth of existing virtual care players like Teladoc, Amwell and Doctor On Demand, while giving rise to a crop of digital health startups seeking to capitalize on historic levels of investor interest in the sector. The first half of 2021 alone brought in $14.7 billion in digital health funding, already smashing 2020's full-year record of $14.6 billion.
But despite the fervor, it's still a massively underpenetrated market, experts say. Tech behemoths have elbowed in seeking a slice of the action: Amazon, for example, is currently expanding its virtual care pilot, Amazon Care, to employees and third party employers nationwide, though experts say the effort is more of a threat to employer-facing point solutions, not market giants like Teladoc.
For its part, Microsoft launched its first industry-specific vertical in healthcare in May last year, to help providers with telehealth, care management and patient engagement through apps. And in September, Microsoft said it was integrating Teams directly into EHR systems, in order to allow clinicians to launch virtual visits from within their existing workflows.
The computing giant has also acquired Nuance Communications, an AI-enabled voice assistant, to build up its cloud services in healthcare, and has integrated Nuance's transcription service into Teams so physician-patient interactions can be automatically documented.
Integrating such services directly into clinician's workflows eases administrative burden while fostering easier access to their tools. That's the logic behind Teladoc and Microsoft's agreement, Joseph DeVivo, Teladoc's president of hospitals and health systems, said.
But despite the hot market, some investors are concerned about a potential digital health bubble that could pop as COVID-19 cases wane in the U.S. and in-person services resume in earnest. The marketplace is also highly fragmented and volatile as myriad vendors duke it out for prominence, with many snapping up smaller point solutions to build out a more longitudinal model.