The coronavirus has increased demand for remote care. Photo: Teladoc Health

Teladoc's $18.5 billion acquisition of Livongo creates the health care industry's largest company devoted to multiple forms of digital care.

The big picture: The coronavirus has accelerated the shift toward virtual doctors' visits.

How it works: Teladoc and Livongo make money by selling subscriptions to their remote technology to employers and health insurers.

  • Teladoc focuses on regular doctor visits and non-emergent care. Livongo's main technology is for diabetes management, among other chronic conditions.
  • The two companies are on track to register $1.3 billion of revenue this year, a more than 80% increase from last year due almost entirely to the surge in demand stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Between the lines: The appeal of telehealth comes down to convenience (people waste less time traveling, waiting and taking off work) and the potential to save money (remote visits are cheaper than having to go to the emergency room).

Yes, but: Virtual visits cannot replace all in-person visits. And there aren't any cost savings if telehealth simply acts as a precursor to an in-person visit, which has concerned some federal health analysts.

  • And while these options seem like free benefits with a job or health plan, the costs are ultimately borne by workers through health insurance premiums.

Worth noting: Even though Teladoc has only been a public company since 2015, it has had several financial irregularities.

Go deeper: Telemedicine doesn't waste a crisis

Go deeper

Aug 31, 2020 - Health

9 things for the next pandemic

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Getty Images photos: Bettmann/Contributor and Noam Galai

At some point, this will happen again. There will be another new virus and another pandemic. And while every pandemic is different, there are some universal, concrete things we can do to try to weather that storm better than we've weathered this one.

The big picture: Here are nine things the U.S. should do in the next pandemic — some big, some small, some lessons from what went wrong this time, some lessons from what‘s gone right.

Poll: Majority of voters say election winner should fill SCOTUS vacancy

President Trump and Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A majority of voters believe the winner of the next election should fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a new poll from the New York Times and Siena College finds.

Why it matters: President Trump and Senate Republicans have vowed to swiftly confirm his nominee Amy Coney Barrett, in part hoping for a political boost as the conservative base is extremely motivated by issues concerning the court. The poll indicates that moving fast may not help them with voters they also need to win over: women, independents, and college-educated white voters.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 32,870,631 — Total deaths: 994,534 — Total recoveries: 22,749,163Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 7,079,689 — Total deaths: 204,499 — Total recoveries: 2,750,459 — Total tests: 100,492,536Map.
  3. States: New York daily cases top 1,000 for first time since June — U.S. reports over 55,000 new coronavirus cases.
  4. Health: The long-term pain of the mental health pandemicFewer than 10% of Americans have coronavirus antibodies.
  5. Business: Millions start new businesses in time of coronavirus.
  6. Education: Summer college enrollment offers a glimpse of COVID-19's effect.