“They’re lucky it wasn’t worse,” my husband told me, exhausted after a shift at the hospital.
As a registered nurse in the midst of a pandemic, he’s dealt with a lot in the last year. But this case made him particularly upset.
That day, an elderly patient had been rushed into the emergency room, completely unable to control the right side of her body. She had been experiencing this for 24 hours before coming in.
But her son had waited to bring her in due to fear of her contracting COVID-19 at the hospital.
After concluding that she’d suffered a stroke, the staff informed the patient’s son that they’d gotten lucky. Had it been any worse, his mom may not even have made it to the hospital.
The crazy thing is that it didn’t need to be this way.
If the son had simply been able to call a doctor and describe the symptoms as soon as they started, he’d have known to get her to the emergency room immediately. Or, if it had been something mild, he’d have known it was alright to wait it out.
Unfortunately, situations like this are common in hospitals right now. Many people are worried about the pandemic and putting off going to the hospital until their condition — whatever it may be — gets critical.
But one technological innovation is helping health care workers fix this problem: telehealth.
People are now able to schedule virtual appointments with urgent care physicians or primary care providers from the comfort of their own homes — eliminating the fear of contracting COVID-19 while being assessed.
One of my editors was even recently able to call into an urgent care facility for some relief from some severe stomach pain.
That kind of visit doesn’t often require an in-person scan, and she was able to avoid the dreaded waiting room in a pandemic. The quickest available doctor was in another state, and they were able to speak over a video call link. Then, the prescription was sent right to her local pharmacy.
You can’t beat those kinds of results.
And despite the rate of COVID-19 infections dropping, this innovation is here to stay…
Changing the Game
Although telehealth had already started gaining traction, the pandemic gave it a significant boost.
In 2020, the number of Americans engaging in at least one telemedicine visit reportedly increased 57%.
After all, from a patient’s perspective, why make a trip to a crowded office when you can meet with a doctor from the safety of your own bedroom?
And from a business perspective, doctors and hospitals can recoup some of the business that they have lost in the pandemic. One research firm found that hospital admissions were down almost 70% in the early days of 2020.
Those practices that don’t offer telehealth were forced to consider it (at least) while visits and insurance payments dried up.
According to one report from last year, the number of physicians who cited telehealth as a skill increased around 20% annually after 2015. But from 2019 to 2020, that number increased to 38%.
Experts predict that hospitals and smaller doctor’s offices in particular will continue to struggle even after the pandemic because of the lost revenue.
Nearly a quarter of hospitals polled in a recent study showed that they only had enough cash to cover about eight days of expenses if revenue stalled.
That kind of crisis in health care can’t be ignored.
Unfortunately, innovations like telehealth can’t just happen on the business and personal level. Because the U.S. health care sector is so essential, major changes will need to be implemented nationwide. Regulations will need to be set down by Congress.
We expect that to happen eventually. But that means we’re still in the early innings today. And that gives us an opportunity…
Profiting off a Revolution
Hospitals and doctor’s offices have been slow to adapt to innovations like telehealth and artificial intelligence algorithms. But that will change. New technologies are becoming entrenched in patients’ and caregivers’ lives. And they could save millions of lives in the long run.
Health care as a business is becoming even more essential, too. Aging baby boomers will require more care in the decades ahead. That will lead to more health care spending. This industry will only continue to grow.
We expect health care-related stocks to do well in the long term. But the companies that support innovation and technology in this industry will benefit even more.
That’s why my mentor and Alpha Investor Founder Charles Mizrahi has been working on research for a company that’s at the intersection of these two trends. It doesn’t just have tailwinds behind it, it has a veritable hurricane primed to push it forward.
Charles will be releasing this report as part of his Alpha Investor service soon. As a veteran of the stock market, he’s weathered massive trends like this before. So, he knew exactly where to look for a company like this when he realized the opportunity.
If you’re already an Alpha Investor, keep an eye on your inbox. We’re putting the final touches on this report and it should be coming to you very soon.
If you’re not an Alpha Investor yet, you’ll want to sign up here. Charles will be keeping an eye on this trend in the future and you don’t want to miss any of his recommendations in this space.
Smart investors today could become rich investors very soon.