As we approach the middle of 2020, the investment environment surrounding the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic remains complex.

Along with threats, there will be plenty of opportunities. And it’s against that backdrop that this week marked the launch of Stockhead’s new video conference series — an interactive concept aimed at gleaning unique insights from experts in a given field.

Three expert panels and six company presentations later (with our resident expert Dr Nigel Finch), the first V-Con is in the bag.

The focus for the inaugural conference was around opportunities in telehealth solutions — a sector that has warranted a significant increase in investor scrutiny in the wake of social distancing requirements which effectively enforced its accelerated adoption.

In Australia that increased adoption has been accompanied by significant developments on the regulatory front, most notably in the federal government’s decision to provide temporary Medicare cover for telehealth consultations.

With the sector now benefiting from positive market forces and regulatory tailwinds, the value proposition of companies in the space is being more closely scrutinised.

And the V-Con offers Stockhead users the opportunity to review company presentations from CEOs of the following ASX small caps:

ResApp Health Limited (ASX:RAP)
1st Group Limited (ASX:1ST)
HeraMED Limited (ASX:HMD)
Respiri Limited (ASX:RSH)
LiveTiles Limited (ASX:LVT)
Intelicare (IPO complete, expected to list in May)

The company presentations were complemented nicely by three others interviews; healthcare analysts Scott Power & Iain Wilkie from Morgans Financial, leading cardiologist Dr Ross Walker, and an expert panel with the respective CEOs of three medtech businesses — Coviu, Medipass and Kinela.

The combined effect of all that knowledge provided the ideal framework to help investors form a view on how the sector will advance.

In a good example of the complexities involved, Walker pointed out that rather than replace existing practices, the rise of medtech and telehealth solutions would form a complementary service going forward.

He noted that the Medicare subsidy for telehealth could be revised once the crisis was contained, but he hopes that’s not the case.

“I hope they don’t, and not just for my sake. With telehealth, for someone who lives far away or prefers not to commute, an experienced specialist or GP can speak to them on the phone and decide what is necessary. It’s always best to speak to a person who’s had years of experience who can give good advice,” Walker said.

He added that some aspects of health examinations would always need to be done in person, however “talking to the patient is the most important aspect”.

“If a patient rings me with a problem and doesn’t live close by, and asked should they see me or go to the hospital — I can decide that from the conversations I have with them,” Walker said.

“There’s greater scope of availability for medical professionals who have the experience. You may not solve the problem, but can get an understanding and direct that person to the solutions they need.”

And based on the insights from the companies that presented at V-Con, that’s where the key opportunity lies — to provide tech solutions that complement existing medical services to increase flexibility and give patients the information they need in a timely manner.

Within that environment, it will be up to the companies themselves to execute on their strategy. And from an investment standpoint, it’s all about assessing specific opportunities within the broader tailwinds facing the sector.

On that front, we hope you enjoyed the first Stockhead V-Con, as a way to cut through the noise and gain key insights amid the ongoing market volatility.