Virtual care provider Teladoc Health is refreshing its app more than two years after acquiring Livongo Health for $18.5 billion.
Teladoc introduced the new app at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show conference, held in Las Vegas. The app will provide primary care, mental health and chronic care management services across a single platform in either English or Spanish.
This app represents the end of a long merger process between Teladoc and Livongo, which began when the two companies combined in October 2020. Dr. Vidya Raman-Tangella, Teladoc’s chief medical officer, defended the amount of time it took for Teladoc to integrate Livongo’s chronic care monitoring platform and other new products into a single user experience.
“It’s not just Livongo. It’s a whole host of assets that we’re sitting under one umbrella,” said Raman-Tangella at CES. “I wish it were as easy as let me take A + B + C + D and then pull it together into an E—it is not.”
To get to this point, Raman-Tangella said several processes had to be optimized and connected. She said the app will make it easier for the company to plan future growth, especially as employers, providers and patients have all shared a growing distaste for point solutions.
“I think the market wants us to produce the clinical outcomes that we’re capable of producing,” Raman-Tangella said. “If we have broken front doors [and] broken components, people will give up and that’s what we’re trying to avoid.
Other experts have shared similar insights on the changing market dynamics.
“Selling point solutions into hospitals is really hard, because they’re getting inundated,” said Peter Micca, a partner in consultancy Deloitte’s life sciences & healthcare practice., “What they really want is not a sleek technology solution, they want an integrated, combination technology.”
As part of this refresh, users will no longer have duplicate logins for the company’s primary care, mental health and chronic conditions offerings. Raman-Tangella said the number one challenge users express is navigating the different apps.
The Livongo acquisition was a financial challenge for Teladoc in 2022. The company’s net loss for the first nine months of 2022 totaled $9.8 billion, almost all of which was due to a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of $9.6 billion related to the Livongo acquisition. Cigna, a major insurer, dropped Livongo as its preferred digital health tool for chronic care conditions.
Raman-Tangella said the deal was important to the company’s strategy of increasing the number of touch points it has with each patient.
“If were sitting here talking about a day where obesity rates were not going up, chronic conditions were not going up the conversation would be very different, but the truth of the matter is all of those are continuing to go up,” Raman-Tangella said. “How else would you do it if not through these virtual mechanisms and by virtually engaging with people? This is one of the big reasons why I came to Teladoc. You cannot just provide a sliver of care. You have to address the mind and body together.”
Teladoc’s acquisition of BetterHelp, its mental health service, was for a much smaller price at $17.2 million in 2015. The company’s finances were bolstered last year by interest in the BetterHelp mental health brand it said during its third quarter earnings call in October 2022.
The app is available to specific customers for now but more widely available later in the year, Teladoc said.
This story first appeared in Digital Health Business & Technology.