Announcing our new Finnish telehealth partners: Near Real

Photos of Antti Hulkko holding a GEIS camera box in the snow of Finland

Visionflex telehealth technology is literally spanning the globe with the announcement of our latest international partnership with Finnish health-tech experts, Near Real.

Based in northern Finland, Near Real is distributing the GEIS® General Examination Camera HD, which is designed and manufactured by Australia-based Visionflex.

Despite being at opposite ends of the globe, Finland and Australia share something in common: a large rural population that has embraced the benefits of delivering remote health services via telehealth technology.

We chatted with Near Real’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr Antti Hulkko, about the company’s business, the Finnish healthcare sector, and where digital health solutions such as the GEIS® camera, fit into Finland’s healthcare landscape.

Please tell us about Near Real and the products and services you provide.

Near Real is a Finnish health-tech company that was founded in 2014, with a mission to help healthcare professionals treat their patients online. We want our customers to succeed in taking their healthcare business online, and we enable this by offering them a secure and reliable video appointment solution and high-quality telehealth devices. With our solutions, we enable doctors and patients to meet remotely and safely from their own homes. We save people’s time by not having to travel to a physical appointment room and more importantly, we help people to see their doctors without the risk of contracting COVID-19.

Near Real’s video appointment solution offers special value for Finnish people living in rural areas, where the scarcity of doctors is a major issue. With the help of video appointments and telehealth devices, people in rural areas can receive medical treatment more easily.

Your clients work across many sectors – health, fitness, taxis, real estate etc. How is Near Real helping them, and what benefits do your services/products provide?

At the start, Near Real’s initial focus was to offer secure video appointments for multiple sectors. For the last few years, our primary focus has been on the healthcare sector, but we always keep an eye for expanding our business to other sectors as well.

Our customers are B2C and B2B healthcare businesses, and they operate in many segments in the healthcare sector. Mostly our customers are private clinics, which earlier offered their doctors’ services in brick and mortar only, but we also have therapists, EHR-system providers, and public-sector healthcare providers as our customers.

Our video appointment solution and telehealth devices enable our clients to expand their businesses securely online and offer the opportunity to treat a geographically broader range of customers around the country. In practice, we want our customers to have remote healthcare solutions that feel as simple as possible to use, so that the professionals can solely focus on treating their patients.

Photo of person using a GEIS camera with dermatology hood attachment in the snow of Finland
Photo of a GEIS® camera in use with the dermatology hood attachment in the snow of Finland. Photo courtesy of Antti Hulkko from Near Real.

Why did you decide to introduce Visionflex’s GEIS® General Examination Camera HD to Finland, and can you describe some use cases?

We wanted to provide value for our customers, who wanted to treat their patients remotely by providing a high-quality service. We feel that the GEIS® camera is excellent quality, and it offers the possibility for the professionals in the healthcare sector to treat their patients more comprehensively, remotely. The camera’s auto focus is definitely the best feature that the professionals like to use.

GEIS® cameras are already in good use in Finland. For example, in the rural areas of Finland, patients come and meet a nurse in a physical appointment room. With our video appointment solution, the patient and the nurse in the same appointment room meet a doctor located in Helsinki, remotely. The nurse operates the GEIS® camera on the patient and the nurse examines the patient’s throat, and the doctor in Helsinki can see a close-up via HD video stream. This way, the doctor can diagnose the patient and the patient receives medical treatment from a doctor without having to travel outside their area. Our customers who offer their services remotely do not have to send their doctor to the other side of Finland in order to treat their patients. Our customers and their customers save time and money by not having to travel great distances.

What healthcare challenges does the GEIS® camera solve, and what benefits does it provide to your clients and their patients?

The GEIS® camera is easy to use for skin and throat problems, for example. It can be used to deliver high-quality video of the patient’s health issues for a doctor.

The feedback from our clients has been positive about the GEIS® camera. They like the high-quality of the video and the auto-focus feature.

What are your thoughts on the healthcare sector in Finland and the sector’s use of digital and telehealth technology? What does the year ahead hold in store?

The Finnish healthcare sector is small and more dominant on the public-sector side. However, due to a strong history in the telecom industry in Finland, the Finnish healthcare sector has been an early adopter in digital and telehealth technology in comparison to Central Europe.

In the next 12 months, we anticipate that the public healthcare sector in Finland will shift its focus more on telehealth, and therefore we will be helping our existing and new public-sector customers in taking the next steps in telehealth.

At Near Real, during the next 12 months, we will focus on growth through new customer acquisitions, and we are interested in bringing more telehealth devices to our device portfolio. We are excited to seek more international customers who we can help with the digitalisation of their healthcare businesses.

Can you tell us about your experience of partnering with Visionflex?

We were searching for the best telehealth devices on the internet and then we came across Visionflex.

The Visionflex team are nice to work with and we receive support when needed. Doing business with Visionflex has been easy and we have not faced any issues due to geographics.

Photo of Near Real COO, Antti Hulkko

Antti Hulkko – COO, Near Real

Early in his career, Antti worked as a management consultant. However, after hearing about Near Real’s vision to digitalise traditional doctors’ appointments, he joined the company so he could be part of a new and intriguing business.

Antti’s role is to assist Near Real customers in digitalising their healthcare business and to ensure that customers receive the best service in the remote healthcare sector. Antti also focuses intensively on growth and new customer acquisitions.

Near Real logo

Learn more about Near Real here.

Visionflex – remote healthcare anywhere, any time.