Amazon partners with Teladoc so you can call your doctor through Alexa

Users can connect to a Teladoc physician through voice activation on their Echo devices

It was inevitable that telemedicine was going to come back down after the highs it experienced during the pandemic, and come down it has: the percentage of visits have dropped from a high of over 30% to now around 13% (though, it should be noted that those levels are still far higher than they were before 2020). 

As such, companies in the space have seen their numbers slow as well. Take Teladoc, for example: the company, which is the pioneering telemedicine company, saw its shares fall 54% in 2021 after seeing subscription growth of 2% for the year, following growth of over 40% the year prior. In its most recently quarterly earnings, the company beat expectations but still saw its stock drop over concerns about future growth.

Now, though, Teladoc has a new partnership that may help it stave off that potential drop off: on Monday, the company announced that users will be able to connect to a physician through Amazon Alexa devices, including the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show.

Through this partnership, customers in the U.S. will be able to connect with a Teladoc care provider 24/7 for non-emergency health needs simply by saying, “Alexa, I want to talk to a doctor.” The Echo device will connect the users with the Teladoc call center, and they will then get a call back on their Echo devices from a Teladoc doctor. If the member is insured, the cost can be as low at $0, or $75 if they are uninsured.

Teladoc visits on Alexa will initially be audio only, though the companies noted that video visits are “coming soon.”

“Teladoc Health’s collaboration with Amazon is yet another step in breaking down barriers to healthcare access,” Donna Boyer, chief product officer at Teladoc Health, said in a statement.

“By introducing and integrating our virtual first care experience with Echo devices, we are providing an innovative and convenient way for users to connect with a doctor. We are meeting consumers where they are, to continue to deliver value and high-quality care to members.”

Founded in 2002, Teladoc connects patients with doctors, therapists, and specialists via phone, video, or app to help with conditions such as the flu, infections, anxiety, stress, and skin conditions, as well as advice on serious medical conditions. The company has also expanded to mental health with its acquisition of BetterHelp, a mostly direct-to-consumer provider of virtual therapy sessions, and to diabetes care with its acquisition of Livongo, which it bought in 2020 for $18.5 billion.

The partnership with Teladoc is the latest move by Amazon to move into the healthcare space; the company recently announced that it Amazon Care, its own telehealth solution, is now available in all 50 states. 

Launched in late 2019, Amazon Care allows users to access primary care doctors by letting them either exchange messages with their healthcare provider, or have a video visit. Visits can include be for conditions such as allergies, cold, flu, or COVID-19, as well as ongoing care needs, including chronic conditions like hypertension, coronary artery disease, asthma, diabetes, and mild to moderate depression and anxiety.

It also provides care for trouble sleeping, managing stress, pre-pregnancy planning, sexual health options, or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), along with preventive care, such as evidence-based screening and immunizations.

In addition to its virtual platform, Amazon Care also includes at-home visits, which are only available in certain markets; these occur when the Video Care clinician recommends an in-person assessment or treatment, which is then performed by a registered nurse, or what Amazon calls a “Mobile Care nurse,” in the patient’s home, a designated room on the Amazon campus, or other private location within its service area. 

Last year, Amazon also began integrating Alexa Devices into senior living and healthcare facilities.

“We’re excited to work with Teladoc Health to offer our customers an easy, hands-free way to connect with a doctor,” said Debra Chrapaty, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Amazon Alexa.

“Whether they’re taking care of their sick child in the middle of the night or wanting to ask a doctor about allergy symptoms in between meetings during the day, we hope this experience will help customers find the convenient help they want from the comfort of their own home.”

Shares of Teladoc were up 7.31% to $75.91 on Monday.

(Image source:

Source link