Digital health is hot, if deal volume is any measure (and we think it is). By mid-November, some 195 transactions are already on the books. That total is sure to surpass the 204 deals announced in all of 2018, which set a new record.

In our DealSearchOnline database, the eHealth sector has grown in scope from simply electronic health records and revenue cycle management deals to include artificial intelligence and blockchain transactions in recent years.

Telehealth has been around for some time, with the earliest deal in our database recorded in 2001. But the technology didn’t really take off, deal-wise, until 2016, when the number of deals rose to six. That doesn’t sound like much, and it’s only 4% of the eHealth total in 2016.

In 2017, 11 transactions were made public (7% of the eHealth total), rising to 12 (6%) in 2018 and 14 (7%) through mid-November 2019. Financial terms weren’t disclosed for any of the deals announced in 2019.

Expect more of these deals in 2020, according to Kevin Ryan, a member of Epstein Becker Green. “We see continued activity in telemedicine into 2020. There’re a lot of start-ups in the market and we’re going to see some consolidation,” he told us in a recent interview.

Much of 2019’s telehealth deals target companies in niche areas such as neurology, perinatal care and telepsychiatry. In fact, three deals for telepsych targets are on the books in 2019, the latest being American Well‘s agreement to acquire behavioral telehealth and telepsych provider Aligned Telehealth. The company provides adult, geriatric and child inpatient services, emergency department services, as well as outpatient psychiatric consultations.

The deal, announced November 7th, creates the largest telepsychiatry platform in the United States, serving hospitals, long-term care facilities, outpatient clinics and correctional programs, as well as customized programs for accountable care organizations and health plans.

Back in August, Nashville-based Psychiatric Medical Care, which has operations in 20 states, announced a deal with Integrated TeleHealth Partners in Des Moines, Iowa. Integrated TeleHealth offers outpatient telepsychiatry services in community mental health clinics as well as 24/7 emergency telepsychiatry consultation services in hospital emergency rooms.

Even within the telepsych niche, there are niches. “On the behavioral health side there are telehealth companies focused on treating depression, eating disorders, substance abuse,” said Epstein Becker’s Ryan.

This year’s not over, but we expect even more activity in telehealth in 2020. Stay tuned.