16 Minutes on the News #38: Teladoc & Livongo, Is Virtual Care Fully Here?

In this episode of 16 Minutes — our show where we cover recent headlines; tease apart what’s hype/ what’s real; and help orient where we are, trends-wise, on the long arc of innovation — we cover the merger of Teladoc and Livongo, which was announced just a few days ago. The $18.5B deal is a big deal not just because of the dollars and validation in public markets, but because it’s aimed at creating “the first true health tech giant“, and an end-to-end digital health platform at scale. However, the scale and opportunity in healthcare is so massive — this is akin to a reasonably sized hospital system — that this may be a drop in the bucket of what’s out there.

And beyond the buzz, where are we, really, when it comes to the broader category here of virtual care? What’s our taxonomy of key trends and shifts such as telehealth/ telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, and virtual care? Given that this deal and virtual care itself was accelerated during the pandemic — is “the pandemic effect” a harbinger or will we see the rubber band snap back once things go “back to normal” (is THIS the new normal)? Where do specific policies and regulations come in, such as for reimbursement, physician licensing, and more?

General partners Julie Yoo and Vijay Pande break it all down in conversation with host Sonal Chokshi. We also discuss what it takes, practically, to not just merge the two entities but meet in the middle of the spectrum; what the implications are for incumbents (including payers and providers) and startups; and where go-to-market and partnerships come in. Distribution, as always, is everything.

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