Telehealth options remain very popular with consumers for routine appointments, according to a recent survey, preferred to in-person options for routine care. On the cusp of flu season, with hospitals dealing with a surge in RSV cases in children, investors should watch for a spike in support and interest in telehealth companies via telehealth ETFs like the ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (ARKG).
While telemedicine had already been a growing technology before the pandemic, the COVID-19 virus massively expanded access to remote and virtual engagement with the healthcare system for countless consumers in and outside of the United States. This flu season looks to be more severe than those of the last decade as well, arriving earlier and bringing the most flu-related hospitalizations since 2009.
Further, students and younger children in the U.S. are also facing a spike in a third virus outside of COVID-19 and the flu: respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV has many parents facing a March 2020 redux, which may push more parents of young children to telemedicine.
Investors should keep an eye on ARKG, as it holds Teladoc Health, Inc. (TDOC) at a 4.6% weight. TDOC is up 13.5% over the last month following a difficult start to the year and could be primed for a revival, with ARKG as a strong source of exposure to the stock as part of ARK’s commitment to investing in disruptive innovation in notable industries.
ARKG itself invests in firms that could benefit from technological and scientific advances in genetics, stem cell advances, and molecular diagnostics. Leaning towards smaller, more agile firms than the usual big pharma names, ARKG has seen a recent uptick in performance with one-month returns of 4% compared to -6.6% over the last three months.
ARKG has also seen an increase in net inflows, netting almost $80 million more over the last five days compared to the last month’s net inflows. Should regulators allow telehealth firms to continue to work under the waivers they received during the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth firms like TDOC, accessible via ARKG, could become an interesting play for investors eyeing telehealth ETFs.
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