The exponential transmission rate of Covid-19 pandemic disease has led to an environment of social isolation. The patients are not going to hospitals unless it is an emergency. This has led to loss of business at several established hospitals and health clinics. But their loss is the gain of Telemedicine, a sector that has been around for quite some time. For the uninitiated, Telemedicine, or telehealth means remote delivery of healthcare from doctors to patients, via live video, chat, online prescriptions, and medicine delivery. Telemedicine not only facilitates the patients’ consultation in the sanitised confine of their homes, but also helps to increase productivity of the hospitals in reaching substantially more patients without adding those many doctors.
Despite being a great concept, Telemedicine did not quite pick up as the patient quintessentially wanted to see the doctor physically and the same went true for the doctor.
The global market for telemedicine has already seen a growth spurt in the last 2 months, with shares in Teladoc, the sector’s only publicly traded firm, have doubled in value since the start of the year while the S&P 500 is down about 30% in the same period. French firm Doctolib SAS has seen an 18-fold jump in the number of video consultations since March. In the US, Telemedicine startup, CirrusMD raised $15 million in a series B VC funding earlier this month. Closer home, Doctor Anywhere, a Singapore based telemedicine startup has raised $27 million in a series B funding round in March of this year. According to APAC Healthtech Funding Report by Galen Growth Asia, Telemedicine recorded 8.5 times increase in funding value in Q1 2020, the biggest deal value increase compared to same period last year. So, the signs are clear that Telemedicine is finally poised for the growth that has hitherto eluded it, provided the players work on long term retention of both doctors and patients on their platform.