A Finnish man lived far from his aging parents, so their main way of contact was by phone calls. He wished there was some video solution so that he could see his parents and health care providers could give them remote care. Since there was nothing satisfactory on the market, he decided to create it himself.
VideoVisit is a family company, founded in 2010 by a Finnish video communication pioneer Mr. Esa Ojala. VideoVisit provides a complete remote care platform with all necessary tools for social and healthcare providers. Over one million virtual care visits have taken place on their platform.
“The challenge healthcare systems around the world face is to provide the best care with a limited amount of resources. We help them meet their goals,” says Juhana Ojala, co-founder and CEO of VideoVisit Global.
Lowering costs and carbon emissions
Finland has been a good place to develop such a solution. The population is comfortable with technology, there are many talented high-tech workers available, and healthcare authorities are eager to try innovative ideas. The City of Helsinki first partnered with VideoVisit in a pilot in 2014 and they are still working together today.
“Today 30,000 virtual visits are made every month on our system, and that is just in Helsinki. About 200 municipalities all over Finland use us. We could practically use the Finnish healthcare system as a reference case,” says Ojala.
Helsinki is a good example of the problems many healthcare systems around the world must solve. They have an increased demand for their services but are constrained by their budget. More people have long-term diseases or chronic ailments and need increased care. Helsinki added virtual visits not as an add-on service, but as an integrated part of their home care.
Helsinki enjoyed major efficiency improvements due to embracing virtual visits. A healthcare worker might be able to make 5-10 physical home visits per shift, but can make 60-80 virtual visits in the same amount of time. Similarly, each physical home visit costs about €40–50, but a virtual visit is only about €5. The City of Helsinki is saving about €10 million annually in operating expenses due to VideoVisit.
Moreover, with about 100,000 kilometres in travelling saved each month, virtual visits are much more environmentally friendly and help municipalities achieve their sustainability goals. Cutting out 100,000 kilometres in unnecessary car travel saves about 12.34 tonnes of CO2 emissions every month.
Safer during the COVID-19 pandemic
“Today we even have another challenge: how to safely provide healthcare in a pandemic,” says Ojala. “Remote care is the answer.”
Healthcare workers are a high-risk group. They need to serve many members of the public but still remain safe and not spread the disease. A good example is the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). When the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic began to be clear, the UK asked for innovators who could support people digitally. Eighteen different solutions were handpicked for the “Techforce 19” programme out of 1,600 applicants. VideoVisit was the only non-UK company selected.
VideoVisit has also expanded to Baltics and Iberia and will add more efforts into other markets such as Nordics and UK. In the fall they launch in Japan, which faces another challenge. Japan’s demographics are aging rapidly and they need homecare solutions for their elderly.
Saudi Arabia interested in virtual care
“The Saudi Ministry of Health had an official visit to Finland and saw a demo of our services in Helsinki. They even got to talk remotely to a patient at home to see how it worked and what he thought about it,” Ojala says. “They were very interested in our solution and invited us to Saudi Arabia.”
Saudi Arabia’s healthcare system faces unique challenges. While Japan needs help with an aging population, the demographics in the Middle-East are different. Saudi Arabia is more concerned with efficiently and effectively treating long-term and chronic diseases.
VidoeVisit’s solution is versatile enough to fit the needs of different countries. It is capable of combining home, primary and secondary care in one system. It can be used by everyone from a social care worker to a specialist surgeon to consult with patients.
“We provide the technology platform, but we also help healthcare systems evolve their care models so they can implement virtual care services,” Ojala explains. “They can change their operational model to give better care to their patients while improving efficiency.”
Helping to make patients happier and healthier
Although healthcare systems can improve care and lower costs, some of the greatest benefits goes to patients and their families. VideoVisit also provides a mobile application for family members so they can talk to their loved ones over a secure connection. This gives them peace of mind when they can see and talk to their family, regardless of how far away they are.
Many patients might have difficulty leaving their homes, due to COVID-19 restrictions or their own conditions. VideoVisit gives them opportunities to socialise with other people.
“We’ve had group-based activities, like physical rehabilitation sessions, book clubs or even virtual visits from local priests,” says Ojala. “Many patients tend to be lonely, so this contact can be very important for their happiness and well-being.”
If you are interested in seeing how virtual visits can help your patients while increasing efficiency, please visit videovisitglobal.com.
Editor: David J. Cord