Business

Going to the doctor for routine checkups may be a thing of the past

Posted July 30, 2020 12:45 p.m. EDT

— A doctor's office may be one of the last places people want to visit given concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic. That's why more Americans are flocking to virtual health providers like Teladoc.

Teladoc reported after the closing bell Wednesday that its revenue soared 85%, topping Wall Street's forecasts. And the number of virtual doctor visits on the company's platform more than tripled, to nearly 2.8 million.

Shares of Teladoc rose 4% on the news Thursday. The stock is now up nearly 170% this year and is not far from an all-time high. CNN Business spoke with Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic Thursday morning about the company's results.

Gorevic said that nearly 15% of the company's overall visits during the quarter came from people who said they wouldn't have sought medical care if they actually had to go to a physical office.

He added that the company is seeing increased demand for virtual doctor visits for a variety of medical reasons.

Some patients are seeking medical treatment for more common ailments like the cold and flu.

Teladoc doctors, who work in a variety of disciplines, can usually diagnose and treat most medical problems virtually by discussing patients' symptoms. That way, patients don't have to risk leaving their homes to get blood work or other diagnostic tests.

Doctors on the network can digitally prescribe medications, which are filled by big drugstore chains such as CVS and Walgreens or online pharmacies like Capsule and Amazon's PillPack and are then mailed to patients.

But some patients are looking for more specialized treatment for ailments that range from back pain and dermatological issues to anxiety and depression.

Gorevic said many Americans are seeking guidance from mental health professionals due to worries about coronavirus. The company now has thousands of therapists, social workers and psychiatrists using the platform. Many of them are contractors working specifically for Teladoc.

Teladoc is just one of many firms riding the virtual medicine wave. In fact, ETF firm Global X launched a new Telemedicine & Digital Health fund Thursday, and the company is one of its top holdings.

The fund also owns healthcare information software providers Veeva Systems and Cerner as well as diabetes management firms Tandem and Dexcom.

"The accelerating adoption of telemedicine solutions over recent months puts into focus the immense benefits that digital technologies can have across the health care sector," said said Global X ETF CEO Luis Berruga in a statement.

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.