Two months ago, digital health behemoths Livongo and Teladoc Health announced their $18.5 billion merger under the name Teladoc following huge leaps in earnings for both companies.
The deal, which is expected to be finalized by the end of the fourth quarter in 2020, builds upon the shared company culture at both organizations, said Teladoc Health CEO Jason Gorevic.
“It starts with a common vision: a vision for bringing together two complementary companies, with complementary capabilities and assets driven towards delivering whole person care and changing the healthcare experience for consumers,” said Gorevic during a HLTH VRTL 2020 panel this week.
“That mission-orientation is very strong with both companies,” he said.
The organizations have framed the deal as a way to offer “whole person” healthcare to users.
“We think of it as a consumer-centric virtual care experience, and all of us really want that,” said Glen Tullman, Livongo founder and executive chairman. “So, the idea and the opportunity to put that together in one place from start to finish, that’s really what we saw.”
Tullman said the merger news excited clients and members, “because for the first time there was one place to have all of your healthcare needs taken care of and yet not lose the empathy, not lose the human touch, and not lose the connection to physicians,” he said.
Livongo’s chronic care management strategy, combined with Teladoc’s telehealth network, can allow for health needs to be met on a long-term basis, said the execs.
“Rather than a checkup once a year or two visits for sore throat or the flu and no interactions in between that, this becomes a longitudinal relationship that brings [together] multiple professionals, digital assets and data science all to bear for the consumer,” said Gorevic.
For example, a patient may not notice if their health data is gradually changing over time – such as if their blood pressure numbers are slowly increasing along with a decrease in activity levels. But those shifts may be flagged for clinicians, who can in turn bring them to the attention of individuals and make a change sooner rather than later.
By bringing together digital health capabilities, said Gorevic, companies like Livongo and Teladoc are “really reimagining what primary care should be.”
During the session, Gorevic and Tullman announced that Livongo and Teladoc have made their first cross sale to a major health plan, which they called a “deeply collaborative process.” Guidewell, the parent company of Florida Blue, was already working with Teladoc. Now, Livongo’s service will be available to Guidewell’s 50,000 members as well.
“Our goal was how [to] get to Livongo to as many people as possible,” said Tullman. ‘The expansion opportunities for us would have taken us years.”
As with other facets of digital health, the coronavirus pandemic has sped up adoption of telemedicine and remote patient monitoring, with Tullman calling telehealth an “essential need” in the face of social distancing.
“It empowers people,” said Tullman. Through patients’ ability to access clinicians from their own homes, more on their own terms, he said, “We put people back in charge.”