Teladoc reports strong gains in virtual visits driven by growth of behavioral telehealth

Strong growth in behavioral health virtual visits helped to boost Teladoc's visit volume by 70% in the second quarter of 2019. (Teladoc)

Telehealth company Teladoc saw revenues grow 38% to $130.3 million in the second quarter of 2019, up largely due to increasing volumes, officials said upon releasing their earnings on Wednesday.

During their quarterly earnings call on Wednesday with analysts, Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic said second-quarter virtual visits jumped 70% to 908,000, with behavioral health virtual visits being a strong driver of that growth.

"During the quarter, we set several single-day high watermarks for our business-to-business service in terms of the number of visits with members coming to us for an increasing number of conditions," Gorevic said.

Teladoc has seen a 200% year-over-year increase in request for proposals for behavioral telehealth platforms through the first half of 2019, Gorevic said.

Health plans and employers are showing an increased interest in expanding behavioral health services to their members, Gorevic said. The company is on target to grow its behavioral health business by more than 50% this year, he said.

Over the first half of the year, the company saw its revenue grow 41% to $258.8 million compared to the first half of 2018. In all, total virtual visits increased by 73% to 1.9 million visits compared to the second quarter of 2018.

RELATED: Teladoc CEO says company eyeing virtual-first strategy with health plans

Teladoc also recently hired two new executives—health technology veteran David Sides was tapped to be chief operating officer and Mala Murthy was named chief financial officer. Their appointments fill a six-month vacancy since former CFO and COO Mark Hirschhorn resigned in mid-December amid allegations that he fed stock tips to a company employee he was having an affair with. 

Sides previously led revenue cycle management company Streamline Health as CEO and previously served as CEO of iMDsoft and as senior vice president of worldwide consulting at Cerner Corp. Murthy joins Teladoc from American Express, where she served as CFO of its global commercial services segment.

Revenue from global subscription access fees totaled $111.3 million in the second quarter of 2019, a 39% increase compared to a year ago. This accounts for 85% of Teladoc's total revenue in the quarter, Murthy said during the earnings call.

Revenue from U.S. subscription fees in the second quarter increased 31% compared to a year ago and international subscription fees rose by 75% year over year. The company ended the second quarter with 26.8 million paid members, up 19% compared to the second quarter in 2018.

RELATED: Teladoc CEO says company should be cash flow positive for first time in 2019

Visit fee revenue increased to $19 million, increasing 29% compared to the prior year and constituted the remaining 15% of Teladoc's global revenue.

Still the company's net loss grew in the second quarter of 2019, from a loss of $25.1 million in the second quarter of 2018 to $29.3 million in the past quarter, or a net loss per diluted share of $0.41 in the first quarter of 2019, up from $0.40 in the second quarter of 2018. The company forecast a net loss per share to be between $1.52 and $1.60 for 2019. 

The company reported adjusted earnings before interest taxes and amortization (EBITA) of $6.3 million for the second quarter of 2019, up from adjusted EBITA of $2.7 million in the second quarter of 2018. Murthy said this change reflects Teladoc's ability to generate improved operating leverage.

Murthy reiterated that the company expects to be cash-flow positive for the first time later this year.

RELATED: Teladoc expands international business with acquisition of MédecinDirect

Teladoc sees opportunities to deepen its partnerships with large insurers and retail drug stores, officials said. CVS Health uses Teladoc's platform to offer virtual visits through its MinuteClinic locations and the telehealth company also has a partnership with Aetna, a CVS Health company.

Gorevic said he is encouraged by a recent announcement from CVS Health regarding MinuteClinic virtual visits expansion to eight additional states as well as the broader HealthHUB expansion. "We're actively engaging with CVS Health leadership on their enterprise virtual care strategy, including potential applications of our wide range of services, as well as joint development areas in connection with their HealthHUB strategy," he said.

Gorevic said he sees the partnership with CVS Health evolving with increased integration of Teladoc's services with CVS' MinuteClinics.

"I think the bigger opportunity comes down the road when they can virtually bring in our specialists into maybe the evolved HealthHUBs rather than the traditional MinuteClinics to treat the chronically ill and supplement the nurse practitioners that they have on-site so that they can take advantage of a remote workforce," he said. "We're excited about that opportunity as well as thinking bigger about what can be done in a bricks-and-clicks environment between the CVS physical locations and the Aetna-insured population."