Making healthcare more
accessible with technology
Back in 2013, a team of Swedish entrepreneurs were discussing how hard it was to access health care services when you are ill. These frustrating experiences sparked an idea, and in 2014 they founded Visiba Care with the vision of making healthcare more accessible and straightforward with digital tools. However, this was early days for digital healthcare, and at the time, there was not any wide-spread interest in moving doctor consultations to an online environment. There was one exception, though – a Finnish healthcare company Doctagon who had been developing a digital solution for doctor-patient appointments. Sharing Visiba Care’s vision for the future of healthcare, Doctagon became an investor and the first customer of Visiba Care, thus starting their journey into the world of digital healthcare. Fast forward to today, Visiba Care provides a fully scalable virtual clinic software that enables healthcare providers to meet patients online by using various digital channels such as video calls, text messaging and smart forms.
Since the beginning, Visiba Care has had a strong vision to expand internationally. “From day 1, we knew that if we wanted to make a difference in healthcare, we would need to expand outside Sweden. With a market capped at 10 million, focusing only on Sweden would not allow us to have the kind of impact we wanted. Since very early on, we have kept an eye on the international markets, following what is going on and scoping the potential markets for us”, Johan explains. Besides leading the market for online and video consultations within healthcare in Sweden, they are now also advancing in other markets such as Norway, Finland and the UK.
“We had been active in the UK market for a couple of years, but we wanted to grow faster and move Visiba Care to the next level. For this reason, we engaged Goodwille as our local partner in the UK. They helped us take control of our corporate responsibilities, implement scalable accounting processes, and ensure everything relating to our employees is taken care of. Trying to run these administrative things from abroad was never easy when we were not clear on our responsibilities.”
Johan Gustafsson, CEO
Bringing value to the UK market
After some initial market research, Visiba Care realised they could bring a lot of value to the UK healthcare system. Following the release of the NHS Long-Term Plan, which embraced digital solutions in healthcare, Visiba Care launched in the UK in Spring 2019. They did not aim for quick wins but approached the market with a long-term strategy. Johan describes their approach: “The UK market is big and competitive and for a good reason – many companies want to go there because it has such great potential. However, it can also be a quite tough market to operate in. I think you have to understand that things may take a very long time and be patient. Implementing this kind of new technology in health care is a marathon, not a sprint. My advice is that you should start out by finding the small areas where you can test your product and prove your value – and then build on that success.”
Goodwille, who have helped hundreds of businesses from abroad to expand to the UK recognise the challenges that Visiba Care faced. More often than not, it does take time to gain a foothold in the UK market, which often comes as a surprise to overseas companies. For this reason, it can be a significant advantage to have a local partner that helps you navigate the complexities of the UK market. This is exactly what Visiba Care has done. Since entering the UK, they have worked with partners to ensure they have the necessary local support and knowledge in an unfamiliar market. When their operations grew, they needed someone with more capacity and turned to Goodwille.
“We had been active in the UK market for a couple of years, but we wanted to grow faster and move Visiba Care to the next level. For this reason, we engaged Goodwille as our local partner in the UK. They helped us take control of our corporate responsibilities, implement scalable accounting processes, and ensure everything relating to our employees is taken care of. Trying to run these administrative things from abroad was never easy when we were not clear on our responsibilities”.
Visiba Care has now been in the UK for one and a half years and has managed to secure their position in the market. From February 2020, Visiba Care has partnered with Livewell Southwest, the largest community health and social care enterprise in the UK who provide integrated health and social care services across Plymouth, South Hams and West Devon, as well as some specialist services in parts of Devon and Cornwall. Together with Visiba Care, they have launched a virtual clinic to meet the rising demand for online consultations.
COVID-19: Accelerating digital
transformation in healthcare
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed health care systems to their limits around the world. Consequently, it has also accelerated the development and adoption of healthtech in many places. Visiba Care is no stranger to this phenomenon – since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, they have seen the number of online consultations increase by around 800%. In the span of just a few months, from March 13th to the end of May, the number of healthcare professionals using Visiba Care platform increased from 5000 to 25,000 users.
Johan describes the turbulent but rewarding time in their company’s history: “It was crazy. Healthcare was in a very desperate state. They wanted as many patients as possible to stay at home, and we did everything we could to help them. We worked to identify new use cases and new ways of working while onboarding and training new health professional every day, as fast as we could.”
Having received funding the year before, Visiba Care was able to invest in its workforce and technology to ensure they would keep up with the sudden increase in demand. This year has been challenging, no doubt, but for Visiba Care it has been rewarding as well. They have successfully overcome the challenges of scaling up and have thus been able to strengthen their position in the digital healthcare market.
What’s next in the healthcare sector?
In the past, one of the challenges for Visiba Care was that the digital healthcare market was relatively immature. Due to COVID-19, however, the market has taken a giant leap forward. “The worldwide pandemic significantly pushed the digital transformation in healthcare forward. What we had expected to achieve in the coming two years, happened in just a few weeks. Thousands and thousands of healthcare professionals have now tried online consultations for the first time and witnessed firsthand how technology can make their job easier. So in that sense, the market has matured quite a lot, and that enables a broader implementation and adoption of digital healthcare solutions in the future.”
When asked what the future of healthcare will look like, Johan says: “One important thing that has been under discussion recently is developing integrated care systems. In essence, this means breaking down the silos in healthcare – where primary healthcare works in one silo, secondary healthcare in another and so on. The aim is to organise the different health, care and support services in a way that provides a holistic experience for people in need of these services”.
Moving towards integrated care is also on NHS’s agenda and its ambition is that every part of the country should be an integrated care system by April 2021. Visiba Care is in a strong position to help NHS to achieve their goal. “Sweden has to some extent already implemented the model of integrated care to its healthcare, and therefore I think we have great potential to bring high value and expertise to the UK healthcare market with our technology. The UK is a high priority market for us, and we will keep investing heavily in it in the future too.”
Read more about Visiba Care here.