With Governor’s Approval, Teladoc Expands Texas Telehealth Services
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and a patient. In the years since, Teladoc—as well as a few other competitors such as MDLive and Doctor on Demand for mental health services—offered services over phone calls, but that prompted further regulatory scrutiny. Shortly after going public in 2015, Teladoc sued the state.
Abbott’s signature this weekend, as the Texas Legislature winds up its regular biennial session, makes the suit moot.
Gorevic, a longtime health plan executive, said that artificial intelligence tools are likely to be the next frontier for telehealth companies. He first got into the field in the mid-1990s when telehealth services consisted of nurse advice lines he helped to put into place when he worked for Oxford Health plans.
Teladoc’s primary customers are large companies and health plans, which pay a per-member per-month fee to access telehealth services for treating more quotidian problems such as cuts, rashes, and urinary tract infections. Recently, the company began to provide its services to hospitals and health systems providing care for remote populations. Gorevic says Teladoc now cares for more than 20 million people nationwide and will host 1.5 million telehealth conversations this year.
“We see a greater integration with biometric devices, digital thermometers, and the like that send the information directly into our platform, and enables our physicians to see a longitudinal record of the encounter,” he says. “This gives us an opportunity to treat more complex patients who have more challenging clinical conditions.”
Gorevic says Teladoc has introduced other services in the last 18 months, such as those related to behavioral care, tobacco cessation, sexual health, and a program that enables caregivers to be connected with a healthcare provider along with an aging family member without having to be in the same physical location.
The proliferation of smartphones in the last decade has meant expanded opportunities for patient-physician interaction, Gorevic says. “That may be a consumer taking a picture of pink eye or a rash from being in the yard over the weekend, and uploading [them] that so a physician can review prior to or during an interaction,” he says.