JPM23: Teladoc revises its Q4 to sunnier projections while shining a light on BetterHelp and digital 'whole-person approach'

Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic began the telehealth company's Monday presentation at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco by calling back to the same conference three years earlier: before the pandemic, before stay-at-home orders, before the telehealth boom.

“Telehealth was something that some people knew about, people had engaged, but I would say, legitimately, people didn't really appreciate the scope and the scale of what telehealth could do,” Gorevic said. “Virtual care now is expected to deliver on the full scope of consumers' healthcare needs.”

The virtual care platform now serves 80 million people, resulting in 21 million visits and half a billion digital health interactions with 30,000 providers in 2022, he said.

Just before the presentation, the telehealth giant released revised quarterly guidance narrowing its revenue range to a brighter estimate between $633 million and $640 million for the quarter and $2.403 billion to $2.41 billion for the year. That compares to its previous projections issued during its third-quarter earnings for fourth-quarter revenue of $625 million to $640 million and full-year revenue of $2.39 billion to $2.41 billion. The sunnier outlook was driven by strong performance for Teladoc’s teletherapy arm BetterHelp. The digital mental health provider brought in roughly a billion dollars in revenue for the telehealth company.

Teladoc shares jumped 6.53% Monday after the guidance was released.

Gorevic reiterated his previous comment that quarter three was a “catch-up” quarter in which the company’s bookings and subsequent revenue rebounded from early-year losses due to “macroenvironmental things.”

The growth marks a notable rise from the same time in 2021 when the company’s stock plummeted and marks a significant increase from the company's 2021 revenue of $2.03 billion.

The first half of 2022 had also left investors concerned. While the recent expansion is notable, it falls short of Gorevic’s prediction at the 2021 JPM conference that the company would show 30% to 40% annual average revenue growth through 2023.

“This has been a methodical march to be able to expand the scope of our capabilities, the clinical programs that we deliver and therefore the value and impact we have for the clients who buy from us, the partners who work with us and the consumers that we serve,” Gorevic said. “And you can see in ‘23 and beyond, we're continuing this march to be able to deliver more value and make a bigger impact on health outcomes and on cost of care.”

Gorevic highlighted expansions including populations served with Centene and products offered with Teladoc’s Primary 360 program. Chronic care complete, demonstrating the company’s commitment to whole-person virtual care, saw increased use with Blue Cross Blue Shield partners.

Just last week, the company unveiled a revamped virtual care app to specific clients in order to centralize all areas of care, including primary care, mental health and chronic condition management, in one digital home. Full market availability is expected later in the year. The last year has also been spent making the app more welcoming to Spanish speakers. 

In 2017, less than 10% of Teladoc’s population utilized more than one product, today that’s up to half of clients, according to Gorevic. In 2019, only 3% of people used the company’s chronic condition management program, now up to 28%.

After years of serving Southwest with general medical services, Gorevic announced that the airline is now taking advantage of Teledoc’s entire cardiometabolic chronic care solutions. He also announced Teladoc’s new inpatient-connected care offering that places nurses and clinicians directly into patient rooms via virtual calls in order to address staff shortages.

“We've been talking about whole-person care for a couple of years now,” Gorevic said. “This is where it all comes to life in a single experience for the consumer. And most importantly, it delivers better clinical outcomes, because it's all together in one experience.”

The company's “whole-person approach” resulted in increased member engagement from 3.4 average device checks a week to 6.7 checks when a patient is enrolled in two or more programs, he noted. For every additional program added to a patient’s program, the company reported, hemoglobin A1c levels decreased by 0.2%. Members enrolled in mental health programs saw a 1.8% increase in weight loss and a 9.6 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure.  

Gorevic took time to show the real-world impact of Teladoc’s Primary 360 program. According to the CEO, 65% of members did not have primary care before subscribing to Primary 360, 56% of those with high blood pressure lowered their blood pressure and detection of diabetes and hypertension were up by 37% and 25%, respectively.

When asked about how Teladoc’s business model will change post-pandemic, Gorevic responded that what has changed most in the digital space is consumer expectations. When Teladoc entered the scene, the CEO said, patients came for “limited episodic capabilities." Now, patients want longitudinal relationships, “holistic relationships that are more than virtual urgent care, products that take care of them regardless of what they need but also are integrated with the physical delivery system.”

“And as I look toward ‘23 and beyond, that's what we're seeing from buyers. Among health plans, among large employers, what we find is, whereas pre-pandemic, the majority of buyers were looking for individual point solutions, we're now at the stage where it's 50-50—50% of buyers say, 'I'm looking for best of breed individual points, and I'll do the integration of them.' And the other 50% are saying, 'I'm tired of all that.' Seventy-five percent of our sales last year were multiproduct sales.”