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Telehealth Providers Look to Expand Their International Presence

Just months after InTouch Health joined a global telehealth network, Teladoc Health is flexing its international muscles with a connected care platform targeting multinational companies and Americans living and travelling abroad.

Source: ThinkStock

By Eric Wicklund

- One of the nation’s largest telehealth providers is expanding its platform to offer connected care services to multinational companies, Americans living abroad and those going on vacation outside the US.

Teladoc Health’s new Global Care platform targets the growing global workforce and travel industries, offering consumers in other countries an mHealth resource to access local care services for non-emergency issues.

“Regardless of their location, when an individual is seeking care for themselves or for a family member, they need to have complete confidence in the medical decisions being made,” Lew Levy, the company’s Chief Medical Officer, said in a press release. “With our global physician network, Teladoc Health can uniquely provide the comfort and clinical expertise for members whether they are home or thousands of miles away from home. We’re reducing stress, we’re lowering costs, and we’re improving care around the globe.”

The New York-based company expanded that global physician network just a few months ago when it purchased Advance Medical for about $352 million. The acquisition of the Spain-based telemedicine company boosted Teladoc Health’s footprint to 125 countries – including high-growth countries like China and Brazil – added new services that include virtual medical home and clinical risk assessment, and increased the number of languages served to 20.

The deal positioned Teladoc Health to be a player in the private health insurance markets in Asia and Latin America, which is reportedly double the size of the US market and is expected to double that size by 2025. It also enables the company to better tap into the more than $1.33 trillion in global business travel spending and more than 66.2 million expatriate workers worldwide.

“Navigating an unfamiliar health system while traveling heightens uncertainty and stress for employees and can result in higher costs for plan sponsors,” Dan Trencher, Teladoc Health’s senior vice president of product and corporate strategy, said in the release. “With the introduction of Global Care, Teladoc Health is transforming how people access and experience healthcare around the world, and successfully accelerating the pace of innovation with truly differentiated virtual care offerings.”

The announcement comes just two months after an international expansion by one of the company’s biggest competitors.

This past July, InTouch Health, the California-based company that made news earlier this year with a high-profile deal at the American Telemedicine Association conference and a partnership with Rite Aid, joined the newly formed World Telehealth Initiative to support connected care programs around the world.

“By leveraging the innovative technology at InTouch Health, we plan to focus on saving and improving as many lives as possible through the Initiative's work and those we partner with,” Sharon Allen, the WTI’s Executive Director, said in a press release.

Just last week, InTouch Health signaled its interest in a Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) market with a collaboration with Intuitive Surgical, the global distributor of da Vinci surgical systems.

The partnership aims to enable health systems around the world who use Intuitive’s robotic-assisted digital health technology with InTouch Health’s telemedicine platform.

“Hospital firewalls and security requirements are purpose-built to keep outsiders outside, which makes in-facility telehealth between two unaffiliated institutions with separate security protocols and VPNs a major challenge,” Joseph M. DeVivo, InTouch Health’s Chief Executive Officer, said in a press release. “Today, healthcare companies, like Intuitive, which want to push and pull data to and from their devices are asking InTouch to help them build an equally secure, reliable, and scalable network for IoMT. As we look for new ways to maximize the impact technology has on healthcare and enable the increasing demand for data, I believe InTouch’s IoMT network will be as big of a market opportunity as our core telehealth business.”

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