What happened

American Well (NYSE:AMWL), aka Amwell, didn't do well at the end of the week. The bitter pill is its fiscal third-quarter 2020 results, released after market hours on Thursday, which drove the stock down by 18% the following day.

So what

Amwell reaped almost $62.55 million in revenue for the quarter, nearly double the Q3 2019 figure. This handily beat the average analyst estimate of $55.77 million. It was also on the back of a tenfold growth in the company's number of active providers (to around 62,000) and a jump in total patient visits to over 1.41 million from the year-ago quarter's roughly 255,000.

Doctor and patient conferring via tablet.

Image source: Getty Images.

However, the healthcare company's net loss of $64.60 million, which equated to $0.92 per share, was almost twice as deep as the year-ago result. And the average prognosticator projection was a deficit of only $0.28 per share.

Amwell also proffered guidance for 2020. Its revenue estimate is $235 million to $239 million, which is above the analyst consensus of $231.7 million. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) should show a loss of $105 million to $110 million.

Now what

Amwell is a young, tech-focused company concentrated on market expansion and product innovation. Losses -- even estimates-busting ones -- are normal, even expected for such businesses.

However, the barriers to entry in telehealth aren't particularly high, so Amwell needs to prove that it can distinguish itself in some way that can ultimately make it reliably profitable down the road.

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.