Telehealth is seeing sizable demand.
As health professionals urge people to avoid in-person visits to doctors, telehealth just rocketed 50% higher in March 2020, according to Frost & Sullivan consultants, as noted by Accuweather.
In addition, analysts at Forrester say virtual care visits could soar to one billion this year. “Forrester also expects time and resource constraints to create a supply crisis for virtual care during the pandemic, especially as only 24 percent of US healthcare organizations (HCOs) had an existing virtual care program as of January 2020.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also gave a big boost to telehealth.
In fact, he just announced the government would spend more than $240 million for online mental health care and medical services. “If we can use apps to order dinner and video chats to stay in touch with family – we can use new technology to keep each other healthy,” Trudeau said, as quoted by CTV News.
This comes just weeks after President Trump’s telehealth announcement.
“My emergency declaration allowed us to waive regulations to give nurses and doctors maximum flexibility to respond to the virus and to protect our frontline professionals that we’ve authorized through telehealth nationwide, which is really becoming big stuff — telehealth. It makes it a lot easier for patients, and it really has been working out amazingly well,” said President Trump, as quoted by the White House.
Even better, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services just awarded $20 million to help increase telehealth access. “The funds will assist telehealth providers with cross-state licensure to improve access to healthcare during the pandemic,” reports Healthcare Finance. As demand increases some of the top companies leading the charge include CloudMD Software & Services Inc. (CSE:DOC)(OTCQB:DOCRF), Telus (TSX:T)(NYSE:TU), Loblaw Companies Ltd. (OTC:LBLCF)(TSX:L), CVS Health Corp. (NYSE:CVS), and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NASDAQ:WBA).
CloudMD Software & Services Inc. (CSE:DOC)(OTCQB:DOCRF) BREAKING NEWS: CloudMD Software & Services Inc., a telemedicine company revolutionizing the delivery of healthcare to patients, is excited to announce that it has entered into a non-binding Letter of Intent (“LOI”) with Save-On-Foods and separately with Pure Integrative Pharmacy to pilot telemedicine kiosks in nine stores throughout British Columbia.
For 6 weeks starting on May 26, 2020, CloudMD’s telemedicine software and services will be offered free of charge to Save-On-Foods and Pure Integrative Pharmacy clients. Telemedicine kiosks will be installed in existing private consult rooms in participating Save-On-Foods and Pure Integrative Pharmacy locations across BC. Patients will be able to see a doctor for prescription refills and non-emergency health concerns in real time on-site, and after the virtual visit, the prescription can be submitted directly to the same pharmacy for fulfillment. The delivery of these services will be billed under provincial medical plans.
Save-On-Foods is Canada’s largest Western-based grocery chain with over 170 stores across BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and in Whitehorse, Yukon. Pure Integrative Pharmacy is one of BC’s leading independent community pharmacies and has been servicing patients with 16 locations across BC since 2008.
In addition to the corporate arrangement, CloudMD and Save-On-Foods are joining forces to help provide home based telemedicine and delivery services (where available) of medications to at risk patients who cannot, or should not, leave self-isolationBC patients unable to travel out of their homes can advise their CloudMD doctor they require home delivery of their medication and Save-On-Food’s pharmacies will take care of fulfillment and delivery.
Dr. Essam Hamza, CEO of CloudMD commented, “One of our key growth drivers is our kiosk implementation program, and we are excited to work with Save-On-Foods and Pure Integrative Pharmacy on the first major step of the roll out. CloudMD, Save-On-Foods, and Pure Integrative Pharmacy share a community centric vision and are all aligned in maintaining customer focused businesses.” He continued, “Our priority is providing patients with innovative, accessible healthcare when and where they need it and in doing so, integrating the pharmacist into their team-based care. The initial paid pilot program is the first phase of our kiosk implementation and will hopefully lead to long term, mutually beneficial relationship with Save-On-Foods and Pure Integrative Pharmacy.”
Other related developments from around the markets include:
Telus (TSX:T)(NYSE:TU) announced the expansion of its Home Health Monitoring (HHM) solution so that nurses and other healthcare providers in British Columbia can digitally monitor more patients remotely while they recover from COVID-19. Launched in partnership with the B.C. Ministry of Health and local health authorities, this digital health dashboard enables healthcare providers to track the symptoms and provide medical help for more patients as they recover outside of hospitals in the comfort of their own homes. “As we face the immense challenge of COVID-19, TELUS Health is committed to working alongside BC’s healthcare leaders to expand the use of technology solutions like Home Health Monitoring to support more British Columbians while recovering at home,” said Darren Entwistle, president and CEO, TELUS. “By enabling clinicians to remotely observe the vitals of patients with COVID-19, as well as those who are vulnerable to the virus, and provide necessary interventions early, we can reduce exposure and also help to alleviate the pressure in hospital emergency rooms and clinics.” Easily accessible through a mobile device, the program sends daily prompts to the patient to report their biometrics such as temperature, physical symptoms and overall health condition. This provides crucial information on the status of a patient’s health to their clinicians who are regularly and remotely monitoring their well-being through a digital dashboard.
Loblaw Companies Ltd. (OTC:LBLCF)(TSX:L) announced its unaudited financial results for the first quarter ended March 21, 2020. Late in the quarter the Company experienced unprecedented consumer demand and stockpiling relating to COVID-19, with sales surging in the final two weeks of March. The result was both a sharp increase in revenue and profit followed by ramp-up in spending to protect and benefit colleagues and customers. The Company continues to invest in its strategic business initiatives and has accelerated some in response to the changing demands of customers. “These are unprecedented times and I am incredibly proud of how our colleagues have risen to the challenge of ensuring that Canadians have access to the food and health essentials they need. And we will continue to make significant investments to keep our colleagues and customers safe through the pandemic” said Galen G. Weston, Executive Chairman, Loblaw Companies Limited. “As we remain focused on long term value creation, and we see signs of fundamental change in consumer behavior, our conviction around the strategic importance of our leading positions in loyalty, digital retail, and connected healthcare is stronger than ever.”
CVS Health Corp. (NYSE:CVS) announced that as part of its COVID-19 relief efforts it is re-purposing a portion of its three-year, $40 million commitment to invest in California’s health care delivery system. Nearly $1.5 million in grants will immediately help four local nonprofit organizations expand access to telehealth services, address food insecurity among California’s most vulnerable populations and support the state’s paramedics and EMTs. “Supporting local communities is part of our purpose of helping people on their path to better health,” said Kristen Miranda, California Market President for Aetna, a CVS Health company. “The role of our nonprofit partners has never been more important, which is why continued support is critical.”
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NASDAQ:WBA) announced that its board of directors has declared a quarterly dividend of 45.75 cents per share, unchanged from the previous quarter and an increase of 4 percent from the year-ago quarter. The dividend is payable June 12, 2020, to stockholders of record as of May 20, 2020. Walgreens Boots Alliance and its predecessor company, Walgreen Co., have paid a dividend in 350 straight quarters (more than 87 years) and have raised the dividend for 44 consecutive years.
Legal Disclaimer / Except for the historical information presented herein, matters discussed in this article contains forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. Winning Media is not registered with any financial or securities regulatory authority and does not provide nor claims to provide investment advice or recommendations to readers of this release. For making specific investment decisions, readers should seek their own advice. Winning Media is only compensated for its services in the form of cash-based compensation. Pursuant to an agreement between Winning Media and CloudMD Software & Services Inc., Winning Media has been paid four thousand dollars for advertising and marketing services for CloudMD Software & Services Inc. We own ZERO shares of CloudMD Software & Services Inc. Please click here for full disclaimer.