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How Estonia’s e-Health sector reacted to COVID-19: health startups raising investments, doctors making another decisive move towards digital

It is not a surprise that e-Health companies see their opportunity in the situation related to the global spread of COVID-19. And that startups from innovative countries, such as Estonia, are helping to move the medicine systems across the Globe online. Though every move needs to be calculated and steps in the field of medicine taken cautiously, there seems to be no way back to the times before.

Estonian e-Health companies, such as the telemedicine portal MinuDoc and Viveo Health, a participant at Invest in Estonia’s recent Online Startup Demo Day feel that the world needs their services more than ever before. Thus, both companies have recently been already been able to raise considerable amounts of and are looking for additional investment, business newspaper Ärileht writes.

A move from the startups

The COVID-19 brought along a situation where physical visits to the doctor’s office had to be replaced by virtual ones. “What did we do? We took existing technology, repacketed it and made it available for free,” Founder of Viveo Health Raul Källo told Ärileht. “It is like Zoom but created specially for the communication between a patient and a doctor.” In just two days, 800+ doctors from across the world had started using their system. Viveo Health recently raised € 4M and is currently looking for additional investment.

Minudoc is Estonia’s leading health teleconsultation platform, which aims to provide on-demand quality primary and secondary level healthcare advice. Minudoc platform involves only licensed health specialists and we are cooperating with the leading health service providers in Estonia. Its Founder Tarmo Pihl said that as the company is planning to expand to foreign markets (beginning with the ones physically closest to Estonia), they are looking for an investment of at least a million euros in total.

Quick reaction from the medical staff

According to the Head of Innovation at Estonia’s Health Board, Kitty Kubo, Estonia did not widely use telemedicine solutions in specialized state medical care until the emergency situation emerged. The use was higher in family medicine – but still not sufficient for the emergency situation.

To protect the patients and the medical staff from the possible virus threat that a physical visit to the doctor’s office would have posed, a quick reaction from Estonia’s doctors and nurses was needed. In addition, a system needed to be created on the go to fund these online visits.

In total, out of 200,000 visits to a doctor during the emergency situation, about 40 per cent were online. Admitting that how things worked during the emergency situation can be called only a beta – the medical staff had to improvise a lot – Kubo is sure that online visits to a doctor are here to stay.

And that is still just step one – online health monitoring being the next step. “We will not want to see every run in the forest you take,” Kubo stresses. “But when you have a heart problem, having the data could help us prevent it or to “go back in time” to see when things started going wrong if something does happen”.

Estonia is already a world leader in digital prescriptions, e-health records and e-Ambulance. You can read about these solutions on e-Estonia’s webpage and about investment opportunities in health here. If you need more information, do not hesitate to use our unique e-Consulting service.

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