Around the world and in Australia, Telehealth, as an idea is interchangeable with telemedicine with respect to utility and refers to the collection and exchange of information electronically among doctors, allied health and patients in both synchronous and asynchronous modes.
Mostly, unless in cases of high emergency, telehealth deals with provision of those selected medical services that are minimally compromised by limitations of video-based consultation. The implementation of telemedicine has been possible due to the innovations and developments in communication and computer technology.
Over the years, the application of telehealth has been particularly useful in provision of aged care, amidst natural calamity situations, for individual clinical support or for team-based support in complicated medical scenarios. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), telehealth in Australia has evolved enough to support national programs concerning mental health issues, diabetes as well as regional issues associated with urgent waiting list relief, rehabilitation, and outpatient support.
In March 2020, the Ministry of Health in Australia announced to have been making efforts, in consultation with Australian Medical Association President, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, ACCRM, RDAA, and other key peak bodies, to expand the telehealth response to the challenges of COVID-19. The Department particularly enabled all vulnerable general practitioners and other health professionals to use telehealth for all consultations with their patients and provide the much-needed medical advice in these during this unprecedented time.
For several health care providers, this is a new territory, but they have been willing to meet the challenges that arise during a crisis, as the Australian Government introduced Medicare-subsidised telehealth services to all patients by offering additional incentives to the general and other health practitioners.
At this time of crisis in Australia, telehealth holds immense significance as it is limiting the unnecessary exposure of patients and health professionals to COVID-19 while also taking the pressure off hospitals and emergency departments.
1st Group Limited (ASX:1ST)
Australian-based digital health group, 1st Group Limited (ASX:1ST) connects consumers to a variety of healthcare services providers and information.
Launch of integrated Telehealth & Telehealthclinics.com.au: In mid-April 2020, the Group launched an integrated, clinically validated telehealth solution, which includes the “Telehealthclinics.com.au” directory (the airbnb of Telehealth) powered by MyHealth1st, at the requests of its customers and in response to new Australian Government support for fighting COVID-19.
The new 1st Group telehealth product offers a range of rich, attractive features such as integration of telehealth appointment with the customers’ practice management software systems, supporting up to 4 people in a single telehealth consult, a virtual whiteboard which allows clinicians to use visual illustrations, provision to share documents like providing patients with copies of referral documentation, symptom or treatment information, e-Prescriptions etc, COVID-19 sophisticated online patient risk screening and others.
Prior to the outbreak of the virus, 1st Group’s customers had already been conducting in excess of two million face to face appointments a month, and it is probable that growing consumer familiarity will make telehealth an accepted and popular method for undertaking all type of consults in Australia.
1st Group has worked diligently and urgently to innovate new functions and services in response to the COVID-19 situation and charging standard usage fees of $5 per consult while waiving off setup fees to support rapid adoption by its customers.
1st Group’s ARR revenue up by 6.5% on previous quarter: The Company unveiled quarter report for the period ending 31 March this year wherein it recorded ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) increasing by 6.5% compared to precious quarter. Also, Sites were up by 430 versus previous quarter, noted at 11,000. While ACV (Annual Contract Value) recorded 4.1% surge on the last quarter to stand at $6.36 million.
Stock Info: 1ST stock settled the day’s trade on 8 May 2020 at $0.031, down by 6.061% from its last close, with a market cap of $ 14.01 million. 1ST has delivered a positive 1-month return of 22.22%.
ResApp Health Limited (ASX:RAP)
A digital health entity, ResApp Health Limited (ASX:RAP) is engaged in developing smartphone apps for the diagnosis and management of ailment associated to respiratory system via machine learning algorithms without having the need for accessories/hardware. Some of ResApp’s regulatory-approved and clinically validated products include ResAppDx-EU and SleepCheck.
March Quarter 2020 – key Highlights: During Q3FY20, ResAppDx-EU received Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approval in February for adult use, adding to the paediatric TGA approval received in the prior quarter. Presently, ResApp is working closely with its regulatory consultants to get the approval of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its De Novo classification request for ResAppDx-US.
In March, ResApp announced to have completed the initial integration of ResAppDx-EU into Coviu’s telehealth platform and that ResApp and Coviu had agreed upon a per test fee (range of $ 5-10 per test) for the use of ResAppDx-EU. Meanwhile, ResApp also executed Joint Development Agreement with Phenix Health for integration of ResAppDx-EU into Phenix’s Australian telehealth platform, expected to go live before FY20 ends.
ResApp’s regulatory-approved (CE Marked and TGA approved), clinically-validated at-home sleep apnoea screening app SleepCheck, is also planned to be launched on the App Store in Australia and the UK during Q4FY20.
The Company also raised ~ $ 5 million to expedite its European market entry and held $ 6.9 million cash at quarter end. As COVID-19 threw a light on respirator issues, ResApp has been helping telehealth clinicians to maintain the highest levels of care.
RAP secured final design files for handheld and wearable devices: Recently, the Company notified the market that it has obtained design files along with wearable gadgets, still being developed by Avanti Med Limited and OSI Electronics.
Stock Info: RAP stock closed the market trading on 8 May 2020 at $0.160, up 3.22% compared to its last close, with a market cap of ~ 113.94 million.
InteliCare Holdings Limited (ASX:ICR)
Australia based conglomerate, InteliCare Holdings Limited (ASX:ICR) is an initiative whereby family and caregivers are provided with a real-time view of the well-being of people (seniors and at-risk individuals) in an independent living environment whether it be their own home or aged care facility of retirement village. This helps the patient’s family to stay informed and act when something may be wrong, thus addressing the personal, social, economic and geographic challenges faced by Australia ageing population.
On 22 April 2020, InteliCare reported to have received the highest number of votes on the Western Australian Government’s iThink website, demonstrating support from the public for its smart technology assisting/monitoring seniors ageing at home. Especially during the ongoing Covid-19 situation, InteliCare has been empowering families, unable to visit their parents or grandparents, to keep an eye on the senior’s wellbeing while adhering to social distancing through installation of InteliCare’s smart home sensors.
Currently, InteliCare is preparing to debut on the ASX by 29 May 2020 and sent the allocations for the $ 5.5 million in April 2020. The Company would list with 27.5 million shares priced at 20 cent each.