Telemedicine has been growing in popularity this year, as stay-at-home orders and rising COVID-19 case counts have discouraged in-person doctors office visits. And one company that's benefited tremendously from the trend is Teladoc Health (NYSE:TDOC), which has seen its shares skyrocket 146% this year, soundly beating the S&P 500 and its 8.5% returns.

Teladoc is still performing well, coming off a third quarter that showed continued strong results and gave investors many reasons to remain bullish on the stock. Here are three of the best numbers from the company's most recent earnings report and why investors should be paying close attention to the telehealth giant. 

Stethoscope and pen on a laptop.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Almost 3 million virtual visits are projected for the fourth quarter 

On Oct. 28, the New York-based telehealth company released its earnings report for the period ending Sept. 30. Virtual visits for the three-month period reached 2.8 million, a 206% increase from the prior-year period. That number was also higher than the top end of the guidance it issued in the second quarter, when Teladoc was expecting the number of visits for Q3 to come in no higher than 2.7 million.

Now, the company is estimating that its fourth quarter will be the strongest of all in its fiscal year, with the total number of visits for the period projected to be no lower than 2.8 million and as high as 3 million. For perspective, Teladoc's virtual visits totaled 4.1 million for all of 2019. It's on track to smash that number this year, already reporting 7.6 million visits through the first nine months of 2020. Even if the company misses the bottom end of its forecast for Q4, it'll likely come in well above 10 million in total visits for the full year. And as COVID-19 cases increase across the country in another wave, it's more likely that Teladoc will once again bring in better results than its forecasted numbers next quarter.

2. Growth rate of 109%

As a result of the strong increase in virtual visits, Teladoc's top line also got a big boost in Q3, climbing 109% to $288.8 million. When the company released its Q2 earnings, Teladoc was only projecting Q3 sales to fall within a range of $275 million to $285 million. In Q3, it also achieved a higher sales growth rate than what the company reported in Q2 (85%).

The important takeaway here is that even deeper into the pandemic, there is still strong demand for telehealth. It suggests that patients are repeatedly using the services and have found virtual visits effective.

On Oct. 30, Teladoc completed its merger with Livongo Health, which opens up even more growth opportunities from a huge new customer base. Livongo's focus is primarily on treatment for people with diabetes and other chronic conditions. Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic previously stated that there was only a 25% overlap in customers between the two companies.

3. Loss of $19.9 million

Teladoc reported a loss of $35.9 million in Q3, but after removing $16 million in expenses that are related to the Livongo transaction, its loss was about $19.9 million. That's a slight improvement from the prior-year period, in which Teladoc incurred a loss of $20.3 million. When looking at adjusted earnings before income, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), Teladoc reported a profit of $39.5 million compared to $9 million in the same period last year.

Regardless of which number you want to focus on, what's important here is that the company's bottom line is getting stronger as it's growing, which isn't always easy to achieve. Teladoc is showing that it can scale its business without getting deeper into the red, which is a trait that investors in every sector should be looking for in a company. 

What do these numbers tell us?

Although the healthcare stock has more than doubled this year, it could continue soaring, especially now that its deal with Livongo is complete. Rising COVID-19 cases may also result in a greater demand for Teladoc's services in the near future. Combine that reality with the company's impressive growth numbers, and it becomes easy to see why investors are excited about Teladoc's prospects. The company is moving in the right direction in terms of profitability, and it has already become a dominant force in the emerging telehealth industry, which MarketsAndMarkets is projecting to grow at a rate of 16.9% until 2025, at which point it will reach a market value of $55.6 billion. Teladoc is setting itself up to control a big portion of that total value.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.