Raul Kallo is the CEO & Founder of Viveo Health, an e-health innovator based in Estonia. Taking inspiration from the example of his country Estonia — considered one of the most advanced digital societies in the world — Raul founded the e-health company in 2017 with the objective of bringing together healthcare and insurance to make the latter more efficient and accessible to the public.
Raul is an accomplished leader in the global insurance industry with corporate experience in the US, EU and Central and Eastern Europe. He joined the insurance industry at a young age of 18 and within three years, went on to set up Vanden Insurance Brokers, which became a global firm with clients in the US and Europe.
Raul has conceptualised Viveo Health to enable borderless healthcare; helping people choose doctors from across geographies and empowering doctors to rethink their business model by setting up virtual offices.
In conversation with Divya Choyikutty, Kallo explains his company’s big plans for India and what makes Viveo Health different. Edited excerpts:
Viveo has announced its plans to expand operations in India. What made you choose India?
When we started to look very closely at potential markets, we first assessed how we could [make them] better and how big the need is. What we noticed in India is that there is a lot of demand for accessing proper healthcare among people from tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Also, it felt logical for me that if I entered any good hospital in the world, whether it is the US, UK or Spain, I would see a lot of top doctors from India. So, for us, it made sense to link the best technology in the world in health to the best doctors in the world. That is why we worked [our way] directly into the Indian market.
Viveo set foot in India in December 2020 and is currently operating in Mumbai and Pune with 4,200 doctors on board. Is it true that you plan to expand to 20,000 doctors in six months?
We started our operations with two cities — Mumbai and Pune. Now, we are expanding to more cities, including Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. Once we have set foot in these metros, we will then move to tier 1 and tier 2 cities where there is actually a big need for health care facilities because they do not have enough doctors. So, there, we want people to be able to access quality healthcare. As of now, we have more than 4,000 doctors who are using our platform and we intend to expand to 35,000 doctors. So, we are looking at joining hands with various partners who can help us in getting these doctors. This could help make our facilities available to a large number of people with ease and at high security.
Which are the other geographies Viveo has operations?
Globally, in addition to Estonia and India, our offices are located across 8 countries, including Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Lithuania and Armenia. There are also plans to foray into the US soon. The company has raised $5 million so far and plans to raise $20 million in the next few months to meet global expansion needs.
How is Viveo planning to bring in more efficiency in the healthcare industry through its platform in India?
Our platform is simple to use for both doctors and patients. We have integrated the platform with the full ecosystem, enabling access to lab tests, prescriptions and e-pharmacies. We also want to be the most affordable platform in the segment, yet offer the best technology. It is also very important for us to be local to each market we enter with relevant solutions.
What we see in India is that there are many doctors who receive patients from all around the world, but do not have proper tools to handle them. Our “Virtual Office” platform for doctors enables them to carry on secure chat and video presentations, collect payments and write prescriptions. Ours is one of the most secure and the fastest platforms and that differentiates us from others. The company also plans to offer health insurance in the next six months through the platform.
How does Viveo ensure “secure virtual healthcare”?
Data privacy has been, from the start, one of the most critical issues that we wanted to make sure of. That is why we are technically and legally compliant. We have implemented safety and security measures in every aspect of this platform, which is GDPR, HIPAA and PCI DSS 3.2 compliant. We have also applied for a CE certificate for secure data storage.
We provide the best platform for doctors and patients, which is also the most secure.
Virtual Office for Doctors offers a centralised platform to accommodate not only remote consultations but also emails, an appointments calendar, EMR (electronic medical records) access and secured note-taking capabilities.
Viveo is offering telemedicine free. How did the company achieve this goal? In what way does the company meet its operational costs?
When we made this platform, we made it available free of charge for the doctors. We then enabled doctors to collect payments via smart payment systems, and when they started to use the payment system, we collected a small percentage for the platform.
The COVID-19 pandemic has opened up unparalleled opportunities for telemedicine. Yet, the uptake is not as fast as expected, particularly in many regions of the world. What are the major barriers you see in this regard?
One of the major barriers we find is that many doctors in the world are not using appropriate tools for telemedicine sessions, which means that data is not properly stored or the basic information is not secure. This is what is happening most often as the hospitals use WhatsApp, zoom, skype, or facetime call for the telemedicine session. But these tools are very similar and there is a spike in security breaches in apps that are not compliant and they may not even be friendly for the patients or doctors to use. So, we need to work together to change that and ensure that health data is exchanged on a secure platform.
How has been the reception to Viveo’s platform since the launch in India? How is it progressing?
It is too early to comment about the response as we have released the platform only a month back. As of now, access is limited only to those doctors
who consult their own patients. We are not yet into the market model. Our market model will come in March or April. By that time, any patient can reach out to any doctor. So, this was launched [in India] keeping in mind [the need] to make it available during the COVID time, where patients are finding it difficult to reach their doctors. It is easier than apps like Zoom and has better clarity.
We have recently partnered with Indian companies Doceree and Credihealth. We have tied up with Doceree to set-up digital clinics for over three lakh doctors, providing a virtual office platform that would be offered free of charge by Viveo to doctors and other medical professionals. The partnership with Credihealth will enable these doctors to connect with over 10 million patients annually.