Telehealth company Amwell made its public market debut Thursday after months of rapid growth due to the coronavirus pandemic. Co-CEO Ido Schoenberg told CNBC that the "enormous" digital transformation of healthcare remains a process that will take years.
"This enormous increase in visits may not continue at the same pace, and we assume that it will decrease a little," Schoenberg said in "The Exchange". "Our goal is not to count visits. … Our main performance indicator is the number of active providers on our platform."
Schoenberg, who co-founded the company with his brother Roy in 2006, said it was important to get more doctors on Amwell's platform as it was important to offer patients flexibility in healthcare.
"We just believe that in the future, your doctor will be in touch, sometimes in person and sometimes online," he said. "It's easy to explain, but of course it's a different story to actually make it happen. There are many obstacles and complexities in what we do.
Amwell's shares rose more than 25% on Thursday to nearly $ 23 apiece on its first day of trading. Amwell shares closed 28% on Thursday's first day of trading at $ 23.07 apiece. The company, which also secured a $ 100 million investment from Google's cloud division, has valued its IPO at $ 18 per share.
Boston-based Amwell has seen a user explosion as the crisis kept people sheltered to slow the spread of Covid-19. The entire digital health industry saw a surge in popularity during the pandemic. Last month, Teladoc saw a significant development when it announced the acquisition of Livongo.
Amwell had sales of $ 122.3 million for the first six months of 2020, up 77% from $ 69.1 million for the same period last year. This emerges from a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The first half of this year saw a net loss of $ 113.4 million, up from $ 41.6 million in the first half of 2019.
In April, when the pandemic was in full swing, the number of active providers using Amwell's platforms was nine times higher than in the same month of 2019.
While telehealth service usage may not stay at as high a level as the situation in Covid-19 is improving, Schoenberg said there will likely be other changes to the pandemic that are "strong tailwinds for digital connectivity implementation". He noted the efforts of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to expand telemedicine services to Medicare beneficiaries.
"We are seeing more and more payment parity, which of course should be the method to pay the doctor fairly for his time. There is no real difference whether I meet my patient online or in the office," he said. "This is really beneficial to the model we have created."
Schoenberg said Amwell's long-term vision makes it easier for people to see a doctor whenever they need to, especially as they age. And he said the company is "patient enough to build the platform that enables this tremendous transformation."
"Our goal is simply to enable our parents, grandparents, maybe ourselves, to age gracefully in our home and, whenever possible, connect us to the existing health care system. It's not a document in the box in the cloud," he said . "It's basically just another tool in our trusted vendors tool set and it will take years to develop."