Consolidation in the telehealth market may create 'all-purpose' virtual care vendors, KLAS says

While most telehealth vendors struggle to offer a full range of virtual care services today, recent consolidation among leading companies may change this trend, according to a KLAS Research report.

For the report, KLAS Research polled healthcare professionals about their experiences with popular virtual care platforms, including American Well, Epic, InTouch Health and SnapMD. The market research firm also interviewed customers of MDLive, swyMed, Vidyo, VSee and Zipnosis, although the small sample of respondents for these vendors hindered KLAS Research from generalizing its findings.

None of the vendors included in the survey seem capable of meeting provider organizations' telehealth needs, according to KLAS Research's findings. KLAS Research defined telehealth needs as falling into three buckets: virtual clinic visits, telespecialty consultations and on-demand or urgent care sessions.

Although multiple vendors offer support for all of these visit types, no single vendor had a large proportion of customers using all three. American Well and MDLive, two of the vendors used most frequently for multiple types of visits, received "generally positive," but still lower than average, performance scores, according to the report.

More specialized vendors, such as Vidyo and Zipnosis, had higher scores, but their customers also had narrower expectations for their services.

However, as virtual care vendors have been acquiring one another throughout 2018, this trend may change. "A key factor of scalability is the ability to support multiple visit types," the report reads. "No vendor meets all needs equally well, but several are reaching for 'all-purpose' status with internal development and/or recent acquisitions."

In April, American Well entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Avizia as part of a move to create an enterprise telehealth platform to serve patients in the hospital and home care settings for urgent, acute and post-acute care, the report notes. That same month, InTouch Health said it would acquire Reach Health to expand its market share.

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