What happened

Shares of Teladoc Health (NYSE:TDOC) were jumping 9.2% higher as of 11:04 a.m. EST on Monday. The telehealth services leader didn't make any announcements. There weren't any obvious catalysts behind the nice gain. So why is Teladoc taking off?

Perhaps the best guess is that we're simply seeing institutional investors pour money into Teladoc. When that happens, it creates upward buying pressure for a stock. 

Woman with laptop showing a doctor and pill bottles next to her laptop

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Institutional investor buying is nearly always a good sign for a stock. The big money typically only flows into stocks that have strong growth prospects. And Teladoc certainly appears to be a healthcare stock with strong growth prospects.

Teladoc had a great story to tell at the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference a couple of weeks ago. The company continues to deliver robust revenue growth with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the last five years of more than 70%. Institutional investors undoubtedly especially like that over 80% of Teladoc's revenue is recurring.

Even better, the telehealth leader has only begun to scratch the surface of its opportunity. In the U.S., there are 65 million members at current Teladoc clients who aren't members yet. That's nearly as many as the company's 73 million current members. And there are another 182 million Americans who don't work at current Teladoc clients.

Remember, too, that Teladoc isn't just focused solely on telehealth now. Thanks to its acquisition of Livongo last year, the company is a leader in digital health management. Livongo has around 500,000 enrollees. Teladoc estimates that there are roughly 18 million potential Livongo users at its current telehealth clients.

Now what

The challenge for Teladoc going forward will be to capitalize on its opportunity without skipping a beat. Its shares currently trade at 23 times sales. Stocks with such premium valuations tend to be volatile. However, Teladoc's valuation isn't as scary when you consider the potential market for telehealth and digital health management. The long-term prospects for the company continue to look very good.

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.