Teladoc Health + Livongo: The Path to a Healthy Society is a Better Consumer Experience

  • October 1, 2020
  • by Hemant Taneja

The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a bright light on the difference between the 80-year-old-term “healthcare” and what I call “health assurance.” 

In a health assurance world, care moves from today’s reactive, scaled, one-size-fits-all paradigm to a proactive, data-driven, individualized approach. Health assurance companies emphasize and bring forward modern, consumer-driven experiences. That means more tailored interactions for both those receiving and providing care. Currently, our health system and our own personal behaviors are simply too passive. Health assurance will, over time, rewire the habits of both. Revolutionary technologies are tied to how easily consumers can use and access them. General Catalyst’s portfolio company Stripe, for example, accelerated the migration to e-commerce by creating a platform that made it effortless for anyone to transact online. The platform created by the combination of Teladoc Health and Livongo is similarly poised to accelerate the migration of care online by making it seamless for care providers to digitally help consumers stay healthy. 

The combined platform, with its scale and offerings, gives consumers, providers and payors the experience they are asking for:

  • A whole-person virtual care experience that brings together best-in-class primary, ambulatory, acute, complex, and chronic care management. 
  • Delivery of a highly personalized, real-time continuum of care. For example, the new Teladoc Health will monitor and know when an individual with diabetes’ blood sugar is not properly managed and bring in a physician to titrate their medication. 
  • Data-driven insights that empower physicians and allow them to focus on empathetic and effective care delivery. 
  • A platform that helps consumers prevent the progression of potentially lethal and costly conditions and, ultimately, achieve the vision of health assurance. 

The life and cost savings of this more logical and efficient system has immense value for consumers, clients, shareholders, and above all, society at large. Data-driven virtual health won’t just lower costs and streamline the behind-the-scenes health bureaucracy, it will change how consumers choose and use their treatment options. 

Our belief that virtual care will not merely enhance efficiency but entirely transform how we interact with and receive care is not a stretch. It is consistent with what has happened in every other facet of the economy that has undergone a digital evolution. Experiences like the ones Amazon and Netflix provide – where individual needs are understood and catered to – should act as a blueprint for what we can successfully accomplish.   

I am optimistic that a combined Teladoc Health and Livongo platform can become the market-leading virtual health system for the simple fact that, before the two companies saw the potential of their synergies, they were powerful examples of what health assurance can deliver. Teladoc Health reduced primary care costs – achieving $472 of cost savings for general medical visits – and Livongo kept consumers with chronic conditions healthy – helping those with diabetes achieve improved HbA1c levels, lower blood pressures, an average 7.3% weight lost, and 55% improvement in DASS with client retention rates for each company over 90%.1

The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare how untenable our current model of healthcare really is. The resiliency of e-commerce and other tech-enabled industries is starkly contrasted with the near shut-down our physical health system faced. This moment has catalyzed a consumer behavior change and created a new normal for virtual care. Over one billion virtual care visits are expected to take place in 2020 alone.2 The telehealth market is expected to grow at a greater than 38% compounded annual growth rate over the next five years.3 The funding for virtual care is expected to increase 250% year over year.4 5 And an astonishing approximately $250 billion in U.S. healthcare spend is capable of being virtualized.6

We remain humble about the problems embedded in our health system and have much to learn about what comes next, but we feel the potential is huge. We are heartened by the start we have made, and believe that the joining of the Teladoc Health and Livongo teams will create the rare combination of Silicon Valley and healthcare talent that is exactly what society today needs. 

I am honored to serve on the Board of the combined Teladoc Health-Livongo, and I believe fully in its mission. The new Teladoc Health-Livongo is not in the business of healthcare. It is in the business of building a better consumer experience to create the new paradigm of health assurance.

— Hemant Taneja

1 Demonstrated at Fortune Brands after their Members spent 2 years enrolled in the Livongo for Diabetes solution over a 6-week period in individuals with BP of at least 140/80 in a peer-reviewed study prepared by Livongo and presented to the American College of Cardiology in April 2019;  Average reduction in weight for Members who used Livongo’s solution for 12 months as of December 1, 2018; Depression Anxiety Stress Scale improvement shown in 55% of Members from the time of enrollment as of March 31, 2019.
2 US Virtual Care Visits To Soar To More Than 1 Billion, Forrester, 4/10/2020.
3 Frost & Sullivan research.
4 CB Insights, as of 8/10/2020.
5 Mercom.
6 Telehealth: A quarter-trillion dollar post-COVID-19 reality? McKinsey & Company, 5/29/2020.

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