Video source: YouTube, Teladoc
Teladoc Health ( Chart TDOC - $0. 1.77 (5.331%) ) has been on a roller coaster for years. The company started out as a great idea in the telehealth space, but growth was not rapid. Then COVID-19 hit, and business as usual ground to a halt in many sectors. Nevertheless, we still had an ongoing need for medical care, so telemedicine, which was still in its infancy, was a great alternative. Teladoc rode that growth wave. Now as the pandemic subsides, so has Teladoc's performance. Let’s take a closer look at the company, the sector and what to expect going forward.
If I had a crystal ball and could see into the future, I believe that I'd see Teladoc, and similar companies in the healthcare space, ultimately growing and become more important. The entire sector will be strong and growing and a solid addition to the medical and healthcare industry.
Getting to that new world order, however, takes time and effort. It always has and it always will. We can look at countless other examples which point to the same conclusion.
Teladoc and entire telehealth sector will take time to grow
We have seen this before. There have been many products and services and companies with forward thinking ideas, which were simply just too soon for the marketplace. They had great ideas, but they were too soon. So, many struggled and many failed.
Once the idea was planted, however, the marketplace ultimately changed, ideas changed and thinking changed. It took several years, but these new companies were now in demand.
Human nature cannot be changed overnight. Breakthrough ideas take time to develop and nurture. Over that time, many ideas simply fade away, while other ideas continue to advance, slowly, until things are right, before they ultimately take off.
There are many examples.
Consider how the wireless world has changed with regard to post-paid and pre-paid services. Today, Verizon Wireless ( Chart VZ - $0. 0.32 (0.765%) ), T-Mobile ( Chart TMUS - $0. 1.76 (1.198%) ) and AT&T Mobility ( Chart T - $0. 0.45 (2.219%) ) are still the three largest, national wireless networks selling post-paid services. (Remember that Sprint was acquired by T-Mobile.)
These companies are not alone any longer, however, as many new competitors have moved into the pre-paid space. This was an area which once struggled for a smaller share of the wireless market, but it is now a very rapidly growing segment of wireless.
Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile, Optimum
Think about MVNO services like Comcast Xfinity Mobile ( Chart CMCSA - $0. 1.14 (2.773%) ), Charter Spectrum Mobile ( Chart CHTR - $0. 5.95 (1.443%) ) and Altice Optimum ( Chart ATUS - $0. 0.28 (5.204%) ) wireless services, all of which are showing strong growth today.
The wireless industry was in transition from a basic cellphone to a smartphone. The app market was small, starting with just a few hundred apps. Today there are millions.
It took time and effort, but this idea grew and changed the wireless industry.
People adopt, change and move forward, but it takes time.
Why Teladoc is struggling for growth in telehealth after COVID-19
The same thing is happening with telemedicine.
Teladoc is facing the same challenges as the entire healthcare industry struggles with change.
The future is in all these new technologies interacting with and driving the healthcare industry.
That being said, it takes time to make the shift. It’s not an overnight process.
What is different this time around is that the coronavirus caused shutdowns. This caused an unexpected and immediate change, driving an unnatural, temporary surge for the entire telehealth area.
Pandemic enabled Teladoc to punch its way onto the map
That boosted Teladoc to a new level virtually overnight. The problem is, the pandemic was just a short-term growth opportunity.
The good news is it allowed the company to punch its way into the consciousness of the marketplace. That will have long-term effects. But it will take time to mature and develop.
As the pandemic eases, companies and stocks that exploded with growth are now dealing with the fall-off on the other side of the growth wave they all experienced.
There are many companies which got a boost, but which are now dealing with the hangover. Think about companies like Netflix (NFLX), the video conference service Zoom (ZM), Amazon with all their warehouses and many others.
These are all strong brand name performers. They all rode the growth wave during the pandemic. But now they're all coming to terms with a world getting back to normal.
Teladoc faces same challenges as Netflix, Zoom and others
So, Teladoc is not alone. The challenges the company faces are not isolated. Many companies face the same thing. This was just a bump in the road which lasted several years, but which has a lifespan.
Some companies were forced out of business. Other companies saw explosive growth. But the party is over and reality is setting back into place.
Now as we start to come back to a more normal pace, things will start to settle down once again.
Remember, on one hand, the troubles faced by Teladoc are simply caused by this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. This caused the company to suddenly explode with growth, then come back down to a more normal pace of growth.
On the other hand, Teladoc and the entire health tech industry are on a solid growth track. It will just take some time to develop as the entire industry shifts in order for it to fit into this rapidly growing space.
It’s just a matter of timing, and that is not something anyone can predict. Some companies will hang on during this shift. Others will not. That’s the big question, but I believe this is the right path for the long run.
Jeff Kagan is an Equities News columnist, wireless analyst, consultant, speaker and author. Areas of interest include wireless, 5G, telecom, Internet, AI, IoT, pay TV, autonomous driving, healthcare, telehealth, Metaverse, mobile pay, new technology, drones, regulation, M&A, changing political environment and more. He has a strong following on Twitter and LinkedIn. Kagan has been an influential independent industry analyst and columnist for more than 30 years.His web site is www.jeffKAGAN.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/jeff-kagan/.
Equities News Columnist: Jeff Kagan
Source: Equities News