Healthcare Weekly: CVS Bids on SGFY

We all know how much I love following the telehealth trend here and the expert call transcripts have spoken to reveal new developments in the telehealth space. This just in, Amazon (AMZN), UnitedHealth Group (UNH), and CVS Health Corp (CVS) have all placed bids for Signify Health (SGFY.) *Pretends to be shocked!*

Well it’s hard to pretend when I’ve seen it coming after reading hundreds of expert call transcripts about the telehealth space at Stream by AlphaSense. The CMO of Aetna even believes that CVS has the potential to become the AMZN of healthcare, but that’s going to be difficult when AMZN itself has already moved into the space with full force.

Additionally, Global Blood Therapeutics Inc (GBT) happens to be at the top of both lists in last week’s top transcripts by unique users and by engagement. Let’s take a deeper look at what’s trending here at Stream and why below. Sign up here for a free trial of Stream to get full access to the transcripts!

Top Ten Expert Call Transcripts Last Week

Top expert call transcripts by engagement per unique user

CVS needs to bulk up its provider network to support telehealth demand and is looking towards acquisitions.

Telehealth was something CVS had started to pursue before COVID. They had an agreement with Teladoc that they were starting to use and then, of course, COVID just exploded that. They were using Teladoc very heavily but it was costly. The challenge is they just don’t have that many doctors. In CVS’s network, they have an incredible number of providers, but they’re nurse practitioners and pharmacists. They’re not doctors and that’s one of the reasons they’re looking for acquisitions in the space.

They’re looking to bulk up their capabilities now in primary care both on a remote basis as well as possibly…buying someone with facilities for it.”

-Chief Marketing Officer, Aetna (Prior)

The CMO of Aetna expects that an acquisition in telehealth is on the horizon for CVS, which explains why CVS has bid on Signify Health (SGFY) this month.

“I think they will [need to buy something in telehealth]. I think they do because right now what they have is the ability, they have nurse practitioners. From a technology perspective, they probably have enough for their backbone, but buying a telehealth provider who’s already got all the pipes they need to link back to all the payers and who’s got a good digital management system. I don’t know, I just think it’ll be easier for them to buy something than to try to build something themselves, given a whole lot of other things from a technological perspective, they still have to put money into…

CVS has so many points of presence that if they can crack the code on primary care and create a privileged Tela network that they sell through Aetna, they can hold on. I think One Medical will have to really expand its physical presence. I don’t know if Amazon wants to invest that much in that many physical presences, but it’s real. It’s definitely an existential threat.

-Chief Marketing Officer, Aetna (Prior)

CVS could beat out AMZN as the leader in telehealth with a technological overhaul, but AMZN has already moved into the space with full force.

For CVS to become the Amazon, there’s just a serious technology overhaul that they would have to do. They just hired a new chief data tech and digital officer who looks good but he’s got a big job. There’s a lot of tech to overcome to be able to have the platforms to go as far as Amazon, but CVS has bulked up a lot on data scientists.

They may have the physical delivery capabilities and piece parts and with some acquisitions and the capital to do it, they can get more of the piece parts, but getting the technology backbone to pull it all together. They’re working on it. They’re putting money into it. They’ve got a lot to do.”

-Chief Marketing Officer, Aetna (Prior)

Top expert call transcripts by unique users

This GBT transcript has three times the amount of unique user reads than the others ranking on this list and here’s why: GBT’s medication, voxelotor, is expected to be the industry standard treatment for sickle cell anemia because of its effectiveness and minimum side effects. And who doesn’t love a drug without the side effects?

“Voxelotor is a medication that works on cell polymerization so it targets that issue from its origins and it prevents the sickle link. It’s a medication that’s given to prevent sickle cell crisis, not to support it. The main target of the pathway physiology of the disease, which is the polymerization.

What’s great about voxelotor is that we can use it concomitantly with hydroxyurea. Let’s say we have a patient who was on hydroxyurea, he or she had the maximum dosage. We can act [subsequently], we can add voxelotor on top of the hydroxyurea.”

-Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine Resident, AUBMC

In a large study about voxelotor, results showed that voxelotor exhibited a one percent increase in hemoglobin than the current standard medication for sickle cell anemia, hydroxyurea. 

What they found was the group taking the voxelotor, they had 50% increase in baseline hemoglobin versus a 1% increase in hemoglobin in the hydroxyurea group. It has way lesser side effects profile. As pediatricians, we all would love to opt for the least side effect profile when it comes to medication…

With test results up right now, and the small side effect profiles compared to hydroxyurea, yes, I think [voxelotor] would be the standard of care because we’re seeing multiple side effects to hydroxyurea and our first oath is, do no harm. With voxelotor, it’s giving us a better result with less side effects. Risk versus benefit is outweighed. The benefits is way outweighed with voxelotor than with hydroxyurea.

-Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine Resident, AUBMC

It’s no surprise that ILMN has one of our top read transcripts this week again as it continues to make innovations in long-read genome sequencing. Read more about it in my previous post ILMN Makes Inroads in Long-Read Genome Sequencing to see why it’s still trending.

I’ve been watching the telehealth market with a hawk’s eye, and for good reason. Before the pandemic, utilization rates for telehealth were less than one percent until it shot up to forty percent at the height of COVID-19. TDOC has played a major factor in the growth of telehealth and continues to be a trending topic here at Stream. I’ve discussed various telehealth trends in deeper detail on this blog such as The Boom and Bust of Telehealth and Amazon’s Fearsome Takeover of Telehealth.

The Stream expert call transcripts never fail to provide value insight and even foresight to new developments in various sectors. Is it magic or are these experts just really good? Probably both. Stay tuned for next week’s Healthcare Weekly update here at Stream by AlphaSense!

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Alyees Qureshi
Alyees Qureshi
Content Marketing Specialist - AlphaSense

Content marketer at Stream by AlphaSense and experienced copywriter in a range of industries including: healthcare, financial, technology and energy. Published author of “Masala Chai,” a poetry book capturing his experience as a South Asian minority in America.

Read all posts written by Alyees Qureshi