Social distancing is helping to push the needle toward more telemedicine, which bodes well for ETFs like the Global X Telemedicine and Digital Health ETF (EDOC). The fund is up 9% to start 2021.

“Once considered to be merely a novel way to connect doctors with patients, telemedicine now is recognized as an essential tool in the fight to overcome Covid-19,” a Forbes article noted. “Since the start of this pandemic, there has been a nationwide push for treating non-emergency physical and mental illnesses with virtual office visits. The effort has the support of the federal government, healthcare insurance payers and professional healthcare associations.”

“The ability to hold videoconferences over smartphones, tablets and personal computers enables patients to receive care from their own homes and avoid traveling to settings where Covid-19 may be spread,” the article added.

EDOC seeks to invest in companies positioned to benefit from further advances in the field of telemedicine and digital health. This includes companies involved in Telemedicine, Health Care Analytics, Connected Health Care Devices, and Administrative Digitization.

The fund offers investors the following:

  • High Growth Potential: EDOC enables investors to access high growth potential through companies at the leading edge of a structural trend affecting the global healthcare industry.
  • An Unconstrained Approach: The fund’s composition transcends classic sector, industry, and geographic classifications by tracking an emerging theme.
  • ETF Efficiency: In a single trade, EDOC delivers access to dozens of companies with high exposure to the telemedicine & digital health theme.

EDOC is up 35% the last six months:

EDOC Chart

Will Greater Access Mean Greater Utilization?

Recent changes in policy have given patients more access to telemedicine, as well as telepsychiatry. It remains to be seen what the new administration will do in terms of telemedicine access, but favorable changes stand to boost EDOC further.

“Recent policy changes have removed barriers to telemedicine and telepsychiatry,” the article said. “Professional medical groups now endorse virtual care and provide guidance for practitioners. Before the pandemic, medicare coverage of telemedicine was used mainly to help patients who lived in rural areas, with limited access to specialists.”

“That changed with the passage of the CARES Act in March 2020,” the article added further. “The law promotes access to care regardless of location. As a result, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) now is encouraging patients to remain at home and socially distance to avoid the spread of Covid-19.”

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