Teladoc To Spend $440M On Medical Consultation Firm

Teladoc is buying medical consultation firm Best Doctors for $440 million in cash and stock in a sign consolidation could be ahead in the business of video doctor consultations by I-phone, laptop and tablet.

The deal announced Monday comes amid expanding commercial coverage and employer health benefits administered and offered by large insurers like Aetna, Anthem,

UnitedHealth Group and most Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.

Meanwhile, more states are easing regulation to allow more patient access to telehealth consults.

Teladoc is among the telemedicine companies pushing into mental health services, offering consultations with therapies, psychiatrists and psychologists via computer, smartphone and tablet.

Telehealth offers access to physicians and patients via smartphone, tablet or computer. Employers and private insurers are already embracing the trend as a way to make healthcare more convenient and avoid costly and unnecessary trips to the emergency room or a more expensive physician’s office.

“Our vision has always been to provide the central, trusted source for consumers to find resolution to the broadest array of healthcare needs, on their terms,” Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic said. “Now with Best Doctors’ network of world-renowned experts in over 450 specialties, global footprint, and exceptional analytic capabilities, we are taking a monumental step towards making that vision a reality.”

Terms of the deal call for Teladoc to pay $375 million in cash and $65 million in Teladoc common stock for Best Doctors.

Best Doctors brings an ability to address a higher acuity patient to Teladoc’s portfolio of telehealth solutions, executives said. Best Doctors, founded in 1989 by Harvard Medical School physicians, "connects individuals facing difficult diagnostic or medical treatment decisions" with physicians from around the world, the companies said.

Earlier this year, Best Doctors announced a deal with IBM Watson to improve cancer care for employers.

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