It’s Official: Tech’s First Star of the 2020s
It’s not often we get to witness the birth of a star.
Let alone be able to see it happen without a telescope…
In the middle of the afternoon…
From the comfort of our own home.
But that is exactly what’s happening.
This particular star — burning hot and bright for the entire world to see, from China to Germany to the United States — is called “telemedicine,” and it just changed the patient/doctor relationship forever.
I don’t say this lightly, but…
Life will never be the same.
For thousands of years, doctors and patients have shared intimate, in-person relationships. In the wake of COVID-19, however, routine checkups are now being conducted over the internet.
“Literally overnight, the coronavirus has fundamentally shifted how people receive and deliver routine medical help,” reports The Mercury News.
In Northern California, telemedicine visits for Sutter Health patients are up 175 times since the coronavirus pandemic hit American shores.
At Stanford Health Care, digital appointments have increased 50-fold.
At BayCare in Tampa, COVID has increased digital traffic to 100 patients a day.
My 81-year-old parents already had their first telemedicine experience, too.
And guess what? They loved it.
Better yet, unless a health issue arises that requires more attention, my folks won’t see the inside of a doctor’s office for months.
At the age of 81, given how car accidents are notoriously ruthless on our elderly population — I’m grateful for anything that reduces their highway exposure.
This radical transformation that enabled telemedicine was thought to be temporary, yet it’s becoming deeply entrenched with every passing hour.
Put simply, telemedicine is here for the long haul.
Technology sure has a funny way of shattering long-standing cultural norms, doesn’t it?
It never asks for permission, either.
An Individually Unique Situation for Investors…
On March 13, President Trump announced an emergency declaration in response to COVID-19, effectively limiting economic activity to essential services only.
Three days later, the federal government expanded Medicare to include telehealth benefits.
Health providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield quickly followed suit — announcing plans to waive all copays and other patient costs associated with telemedicine services.
Here’s why these actions are historically significant…
It’s already widely known that the velocity of technology is increasing at breakneck speeds — based on market penetration rates.
For example, it took 60 years for the radio to achieve an 80% market penetration rate.
It took automobiles 50 years to hit 80%.
It took the internet 15 years.
It took smartphones only eight years.
But when the data become available, telemedicine may have done the impossible…
For routine doctor’s appointments and visits, telemedicine could achieve an 80% penetration rate in less than a year, vaulting it atop the list of historic breakthroughs.
Previous to COVID-19, of the 600 million primary care visits in the United States each year, roughly 1.5% were performed using telemedicine platforms.
Such a reality would mean every listed telemedicine stock is wildly mispriced. In fact, true valuations could be as high as 10 times current prices.
More on that next week.
Onward and upward,