After the pandemic, will the healthcare system get back to normal? The stupendous growth of Japan’s M3 Inc. indicates some changes made during the crisis are here to stay.
M3, which has been largely backed by Sony, helps pharmaceutical companies, doctors and their patients access information online, cutting the need for in-person visits. The company's motto, according to its website, is “Changing the World of Medicine Using the Internet.”
The company’s shares have almost doubled this year, surging the most of any company in the Nikkei 225 stock index, reports Bloomberg news.
The Tokyo-based company’s M3 Wake Research will be among the first sites to enroll patients for Cambridge, Mass.-based Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine clinical study. Wake’s Phase III trial will enroll patients in several locations across the U.S., according to a press release.
M3’s operating profit increased 26 percent in the quarter ended in June, beating all the analysts’ estimates, Bloomberg said.
Even before the pandemic, M3 was on a roll. In 2002, it bought the Japanese unit of U.S. medical portal site WebMD.
Since then, it has ballooned into a $39 billion giant with about 40 subsidiaries and affiliates, including MDLinx Inc. in the U.S. and Britain’s Doctors.net.uk Ltd. According to Bloomberg, M3 gets about three-quarters of its revenue from Japan but also has units in China, India and France.
M3 has successfully ridden the wave of change in healthcare. Before the pandemic, getting U.S. patients to use telehealth services was a challenge. In 2019, JD Power found that only 10 percent of consumers used telemedicine. That attitude changed during the coronavirus crisis, as doctors’ offices shut down and both patients and providers suddenly saw telehealth in a brand new light.
A recent study of patient visits at NYU Langone found virtual visits rose 4,345 percent for non-urgent care between March 2 and April 14, and also rose 683 percent for urgent care. Telehealth innovators told PYMNTS that such shifts won’t be temporary, as COVID-19 has done a lot to change how consumers view healthcare.