If you thought the COVID-19 telehealth boom was big, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Telehealth adoption in Australia and around the globe exploded last year due to COVID-19.

Specifically, many patients requiring health services were left no other choice other than to utilise telehealth services. As well as this, telehealth services were subsidised through Medicare.

As the world edges out of the pandemic and towards “new normal” you might be forgiven for thinking things would return to the way they were.

But the telehealth industry thinks the boom will continue, arguing consumers who experimented with telehealth will not just continue with it post-COVID but use it even more.

 

COVID drove awareness of telehealth

Stockhead spoke with Bayju Thaker, the CEO of Doctor Care Anywhere (ASX:DOC).

This company is unique to the ASX being the newest telehealth stock – having listed in December – as well as being focused on the UK, which has been more heavily hit by COVID-19.

Thaker noted the medical industry was ripe for disruption prior to COVID-19 and while the industry’s structural problems pre-dated the pandemic, they got exposed.

“Before COVID in the UK, telehealth was already rapidly growing and was certainly becoming a booming market,” he said.

“The structure and systemic pressures here are pretty enormous in the NHS and the private market.

“Before COVID it could take you two or three weeks to get hold of a GP. And on our platform it takes four to eight hours.

“What COVID did is drive awareness it didn’t put structural factors in place.”

Thaker said he was excited about the vaccine roll-out and lockdowns easing, saying it will help release pent-up demand and drive consumers not to want long waiting times.

“There’s no way people will wait two to three weeks to get a GP appointment when I can get one from my home in four to eight hours,” he declared.

 

Telehealth will persist beyond COVID

Stockhead also spoke with Matthew Cherian, the boss of Global Health (ASX:GLH).

His company offers various telehealth solutions including Lifecard – an online facility allowing patients to provide relevant health information directly to their health provider.

“COVID just accelerated what needed to happen, which is a move from your traditional applications to cloud-based connected healthcare which is what we have been all about,” Cherian said.

“The move towards the cloud, greater connectivity and consumer empowerment and all of these things are happening because COVID has been the catalyst.

“Our view is it [telehealth] will persist beyond COVID.”

One telling piece of evidence came from Global Health’s quarterly report which was released yesterday.

It showed growth even greater than last year’s March quarter when telehealth took off, including customer revenues gaining 17 per cent from $1.9 million to $2.26 million.

The company reported continual inbound enquiries and is aiming to report profitable and cash flow positive operations for the 12 months to June 2021.