Telehealth Taking Healthcare in New, Necessary Direction

Niraj Sharma |
 06/03/20 |
7 min read

telehealth for healthcare

The time is certainly right for telehealth, as we see providers taking healthcare in this new, necessary direction.

As providers and patients look for alternatives to in-person appointments, telehealth is getting a turn in the spotlight. This turning of the tide offers patients reduced costs and less time in the waiting room. During our time indoors, use of telehealth has skyrocketed “by more than two years,” says Ido Schoenberg, CEO of Amwell, a telehealth company.

And the conversation for telehealth is huge. Each cluster has sub-clusters that reveal more layers of information below it. Here we see just a handful of the top trending topics.


In this trend analysis, we’ll share consumer and market intelligence around:

  • The accelerated telehealth trend; how COVID-19 made a luxury item the norm
  • Telehealth competitors leading/defining the market – and how that looks
  • What to expect as we move forward (and unexpected trends to tease them with here?)

We uncovered key insights to inform your brand’s healthcare journey in the coming months, including:

  • 3,000% of growth in telehealth since mid-March
  • Telehealth is expected to have 80% YOY (year over year) growth, and is projected to reach USD $266.8 billion by 2026
  • Ways telehealth benefits both providers and patients
  • Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have all been working on telemedicine initiatives, which could be a clue to future integrated innovations for telehealth

TeleHealth as Democratizing Healthcare

As telehealth expands, one concern has been accessibility. Not everyone owns a computer or laptop that they can utilize for medical appointments. Due to the private nature of appointments, and the current pandemic, this rules out use of library or public computers.

The solution may be found in television.

Occupying  97% of all households, this staple item may be the universal connection to medical care for those who can’t utilize a computer, laptop or smart phone. If successful it could be the solution to improved care for rural and remote residents, the elderly, veterans, those with mobility issues and those living in assisted and senior complexes.

Though utilizing TV in this way would solve the problem of easier ways to connect with patients, it does have some challenges:

  • Until recently, TV wasn’t designed for two-way communications.
  • It would need to meet stringent privacy and security requirements and integrate seamlessly with other clinical platforms for data-sharing and communications.

These issues are still being worked on, however it’s clear that the forced experiment of telehealth over the past few months has been successful.

Looking at our timeline view, the teal colored blocks show the growing conversation around telemedicine and its clear to see how COVID-19 has accelerated this trend adoption enormously:


Telehealth Patient & Provider Benefits

Telehealth offers benefits for both patients and providers. Patient benefits are more obvious, such as the elimination of travel, the reduced cost of traveling, and the decrease in the need to find childcare, or in-home care for the elderly. And the crowning glory, a reduction in medical bills.

For providers, the benefits include eliminating the wait line, enabling them to simultaneously treat more patients. And this leads to fewer cancellations and missed appointments. And then there’s the financial benefit, which can be substantial. Providers make more money working with individual patients, than they do working through an intermediary – the hospital. This could encourage more private practices to spring up.

Additional benefits to all include:

  • Virtual visits provide 24/7 access.
  • Expanded access to behavioral health, the fastest growing section of telehealth. In 2019 73% of employers offered behavioral telehealth services, 6% were planning to offer it for 2020 and 10% were planning to offer it in 2021
  • Help with other types of care and management (elderly, in-home after care for out-patient surgery to name a couple)

Providing better care all around seems to be the focus and echoing that are insurance companies.

Previously, parity legislation required insurance companies to compensate virtual care services at the same rate as in-person care. Insurance companies are now advocating for what is labeled as “Digital First” models of care. Which means medical providers will soon have a motivation to push their patients towards virtual care to reduce costs.

All of this could raise the standard of health care as we know it. Time, as always, will tell where telehealth lands. Other aspects of it will aid in this as well, such as the telehealth companies that are helping to shape the medical industry on a digitalized platform.

Who is Shaping the Market – and How?

Health is big business, and so is telehealth. There are many companies vying for a spot on the telehealth mountain. Perhaps top of that peak is Twilio.

Giving doctors and healthcare professional the ability to reach customers across multiple platforms and Apps, Twilio is hitting the heart of telehealth.

And they have competition…

Looking at Share of Voice we can see how Twilio, and its competition line up. Topping the charts with 36% is Teledoc Health, though this is an overall decrease of 25% over the past year. American Well, or Amwell is a strong competitor coming in second and holding steady over the past 12 months at 31%. We will look at them closer in a moment. And finally, our focus, Twilio is 3rd. Though they are coming in bronze, they have shown exponential growth over the year, sporting a 275% increase!


You can peel back the layers here to discover what is taking up the conversation within each company. And looking at Twilio we can see a huge chunk is their partnership with ZocDoc.

Creating medical files that are HIPPA compliant, Twilio and ZocDoc together are quickly emerging as leaders of the telehealth revolution. Twilio’s video player will be the backbone to ZocDoc’s new conversational video service being intregrated into medical offices everywhere. As of May, Twilio has seen an 850 percent increase in peak concurrent participants on its video product and a more than 500 percent increase in daily video minutes. This means, a 90% increase in bandwidth by healthcare customers.

And they aren’t alone in making their mark within telehealth.

Telehealth Share of Voice

Here we see Amwell, who offers virtual urgent care, pediatrics, telestroke, population health management, telepsychiatry and chronic disease management.  They conducted their own consumer survey before launching fully into telehealth. And their research found that more people are open to doing medical business utilizing this platform. We can see in the conversation around Amwell below that they also acquired Alligned Telehealth in order to expand and focus on mental health care.


Using a sentiment metric, we can see the social engagement and published count that Twilio, Amwell and others have, showing another aspect of each company’s share of voice.


So, Twilio joined with  ZocDoc, and Amwell joined with Aligned Telehealth, consolidation of key players is also be a trend to expect as we move into this new future. We’re seeing this same scenario play out across various markets.

But all of this doesn’t mean a thing if consumers aren’t on board. Luckily for practicing healthcare professionals and tech gods everywhere, consumers overwhelmingly are.

Consumer Love & Future Planning

The number of telemedicine consultations is projected to reach 160 million cases by 2020, that’s a 700% increase from 2015. And 77% of consumers said they would be more apt to go with a provider that offers telehealth services. The love for this tech savvy way to healthcare is increasing with consumers, and those who weren’t as sure before March, now are more interested to continue using telemedicine.

A search of sentiment drivers shows us the emotions expressed by consumers about telehealth. Cool, Happy and Great are just a few of the many positive words expressed.


Diving deeper we can unveil the why behind the emotion.

Here’s why consumers love it:

  • Virtual doctor visits from anywhere. This means while they are on vacation or away on business.
  • Telehealth covers a variety of visits, from basic check-ups to family therapy, to medicine management.
  • Safety and privacy. Telehealth platforms have robust privacy practices and security protocols. Along with this, it makes seeing a therapist that much more private.
  • It’s cheaper. Virtual visits dial in about a bit more than half the cost, taking a visit that is normally $146 down to $79.
  • And last, but not least, it’s the wave of future.

As doctors and patients grow comfortable with the use of technology as a tool,  integrations with Internet of Things (IoT) devices like the Apple Watch or Fitbit can be expected. And, of course, tech moguls Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have all been working on their own telehealth projects.

Telehealth & Technology

Expect speedy innovation to continue in the healthcare industry, for sure. Both Google and Apple have seen increases in mentions, while Amazon and Microsoft are seeing decreases, in context of Telehealth:


And we can view what some of those topic mentions are in relation to each company to give us an idea of what’s happening.

Marked in coral, the largest portion of topic mentions within each category is healthcare. After that is politics and technology for all companies, aside from Amazon, who shows these two categories neck and neck. It will be interesting to see what new tech will be conceived and shown in the next few years from these giants of innovation.


Looking at companies in our patent view, we can see the patents companies have applied for, and it’s apparent by the size of the clusters that the race in telehealth technology is on!


Here we see 5 of the 14 patents applied for by Apple, along with a small preview of the descriptions.


And Google will not be left behind, the clusters highlighted show in what areas Google has patents. From client payments, to cameras, memory and cloud computing, they are leaving no stone unturned.


And this brings us to the question, with all the talk of technology merging with healthcare, what can we expect the future of healthcare tools to look like?

The Future of Telehealth

Research is showing that we could see growth of tools like these below:

  • Home messaging devices providing Q&A for patient education and self-management
  • Clinical tools such as blood pressure or heart rate monitors, stethoscopes, glucometers, and pulse oximeters.
  • Monitoring center links connected to the medical practice to monitor fetal movement, cardiac, pulmonary, or other associated care.
  • Telemonitoring devices for the elderly or diminished that helps to capture room motion and respond if the patient falls or has a long period of inactivity.

The world of health and medicine seems to be getting closer to making science fiction a reality. These inventions could be today’s moon landing. Be there to see it happen and be among the first to step foot in new territory – reach out for a demo!


Premier social media analytics platform

Expand your social platform with LexisNexis news media

Power of social analytics for your entire team

Media analytics and market intelligence platform

Enrich your media analytics with social data

Social media benchmarking
and competitive intelligence

Data streams & custom KPIs for advanced data science

AI, Image Analytics, Reporting Tools & more

Out-of-the-box integration with other data sources