Mia Finkelston delivering care via Amwell, which has filed for a public stock listing.

Photo: American Well Corp.

The coronavirus pandemic has put the once-niche category of telemedicine in the spotlight and is now driving a flurry of deal activity involving virtual health-care providers.

Telehealth company American Well Corp. in recent months explored a sale in lieu of going public, according to a person familiar with the matter. The company, known as Amwell, is one of several remote-care companies seeking ways to capitalize on a surge in usage during the coronavirus pandemic and on Monday filed a registration statement for an initial public offering.

At the same time, MDLive Inc., a rival telehealth company, is preparing for an IPO early next year, and Talkspace, the text-based therapy company, is seen by some as a target for companies interested in expanding their behavioral health platforms.

Patients have embraced virtual care as a way to stay in touch with doctors for urgent care or chronic care management without risking exposure to the coronavirus by visiting medical offices. Telemedicine visits are typically conducted between a doctor and patient using videoconferencing or a phone call and are used to address minor ailments like colds as well as management of chronic conditions like diabetes.

Telemedicine in the Pandemic

  • Telemedicine, Once a Hard Sell, Can’t Keep Up With Demand (April 1)
  • What You Need to Know About Telehealth During the Coronavirus Crisis (March 22)
  • Telemedicine Gets a Boost From Coronavirus Pandemic (March 17)
  • Hospitals Use Telemedicine to Minimize Contact With Virus Patients (March 4)

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