The recent times have shown us how urgently healthcare needs to change. And one of the most promising leaders of this mission is the Estonian e-health company Viveo Health. When healthcare providers all over the world closed their waiting rooms at the beginning of the pandemic, doctors and patients turned to their phones and various internet environments. Yet it all felt so superficial, inconvenient and – most importantly – unsecure.
“Security has always been our top priority. Many communication channels used by medical professionals today are not protected from the patients’ health data leaking out,” explains Raul Källo, CEO of Viveo Health.
Viveo Health provides a virtual doctor’s office of essential systems ranging from a prescription centre to medical labs and a payment function. Källo explains that doctors can operate independently, without a reception room or support staff. When they introduced the free version in March over 800 doctors worldwide – from Nigeria to Qatar to Japan – signed on within the first two days. Doctors from 42 countries joined the platform at the beginning of what has been an exhilarating journey.
Extremely rapid development
In total, Viveo Health has raised €4 million in investments to support urgent expansion as demand escalated. They also decided not to open in 42 countries simultaneously, which might have led to chaos. Instead, in addition to the Baltic states where the company was already active, they extended operations to Mexico and India, as well as a development centre in Armenia. “It was very important to us that there was no serious competition in those countries, that our activities would not be prohibited by gaps in legislation and that demand for our services was high,” explained Raul Källo.
Today Viveo Health employs 80 people orldwide. The company has worked systematically to build operations in select new markets. Locally-based teams are bringing together existing medical enterprise from pharmacies to specialised medical professionals. Meanwhile, the free platform for doctors is still on offer globally.
Källo makes no secret of the fact that Viveo Health has been approached by global investors who expressed interest in investing in an Estonian company.
“There are several due diligence processes underway. We will have an intermediate round of raising investments. We will meet with the global leaders in the new year when we have more time available,” Källo explains.
Significant changes to the platform
Raul Källo admits that the free version of the platform, which was made available last spring, may be slightly too complicated for people who are not at home in technology. However, Viveo has listened to its users and made user-friendly adjustments. Today it is a solid virtual doctor’s office which includes the functions of issuing referrals and prescriptions as well as making payments.
“The benefit to the patient is much bigger. Doctors can accomplish more tasks more comfortably. In each country we have to create separate integrations with prescription centres, laboratories and pharmacies. It is not a typical product which you can scale globally,” explains Källo.
In the first wave of the pandemic, traditional medical treatments were interrupted in many parts of the world. When the situation reversed and physical doctor visits could resume a strong demand for virtual appointments remained.
“One month ago we carried out a survey in Latvia and 92% of respondents claimed that they wish to make a virtual doctor visit. We asked the question before the second Corona wave,” says Källo.
Medical systems undergoing change
“Quality medical services must be available to everyone and technology and digital solutions help serve this end,” he says.
Källo predicts that medical services will be personalised, not because every person has their own specific family doctor, but because it will be based on data that is collected and placed directly on the virtual desks of doctors.
“Once the doctor sees it, they will be able to say if a problem is likely to escalate or not,” Källo said, explaining his vision of a healthier future.
A change in thinking
In most circumstances, medical systems tend to be conservative and slow to change. However, COVID-19 has made clear that virtual interaction is not the future, but the present.
It is pivotal that doctors adjust because patients seem to be getting used to the concept faster. And no wonder, since global statistics indicate that the average visit to the doctor takes three hours. Virtual visits save a significant amount of time.
During the pandemic crisis, South-Korean doctors who suffer from chronic disease themselves helped man the clinics by joining Viveo. And an 87-year-old doctor from Mexico – invited to help out but was clearly at risk because of his age – learned the Viveo system in order to work remotely. Källo says that when someone so old was willing and able to adapt to new medical digital technology, nobody else has an excuse not to.
Viveo Health is creating the future of medical service with movement from the physical environment to a virtual one. Yet it is important to emphasise that in order for long-distance interaction between the doctor and the patient to work, it is not sufficient to use Zoom or the phone, nor for doctors to be jumping from one online system to another or taking physical notes on paper. The future of first level medical help, a comprehensive digital solution, has been created by Viveo Health.
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