Bengt Grahn, Compodium’s Founder, reflects on taking delicate human conversations to the highest level of trust
Bengt, what made you start Compodium 23 years ago?
As an early video conference pioneer, I had worked with communications technology and hardware video system sales for many years prior to Compodium. But I realised that too often we oversold more video infrastructure hardware to customers than they actually needed. This led to the idea of starting a specialised video conference service agency.
I remember our first assignment came from the Swedish government. They wanted to conduct a series of national video conferences to analyse the Estonia disaster, which was when MS Estonia, a cruise ferry, sank in the Baltic Sea and hundreds of people died. People discussed whether the ship should be lifted from the bottom of the ocean or left as a burial ground in the sea.
Compodium was running the whole conference production and in one of those meetings, from a video studio in the far north, one tiny lady at the back of the room said she had a message for the government. The camera zoomed to her and she said, ‘I am a survivor, my husband died and from my heart I’d like to say, please keep it as it is’. People were moved and cried in the big parliament hall. I felt that it was amazing to be able to take a message from her straight into the heart of the government, to bring true democracy.
It was long before digital telephony and smart phones were commonplace and I thought, this is the technology and services I must spend the rest of my life exploring further.
Truly amazing – this was your inspiration?
Absolutely. Video communications are very democratising, and I’ve always been excited by the opportunities they offer. This experience sewed the seed for our further developments and over time, our technical video platform has grown to be one of the most complete in the field of B2B e-health and clinical telemedicine. We form links between more than a hundred hospitals and a thousand care clinics across Sweden.
We provide thousands of hours each day in meeting capacity, giving professionals the opportunity to share knowledge whilst working in another hospital in a completely different locality.
We’ve grown to be super experts in both upholding quality and knowing what’s needed for doctors and healthcare professionals. Over time, we’ve built up specialist knowledge that’s helped us build a funnel of trust with healthcare practitioners. We are so proud to be a business that provides value for mankind in this way.
How is Compodium helping to save lives?
Let me give one example. There are thirty-four maternity units in hospitals in Sweden, where babies are born daily. Statistically, a number of these will be born with suspected heart failure. There are several different causes, and doctors have to decide quickly whether urgent intervention is needed, as this could make the difference between life and death.
A less experienced doctor in a smaller hospital may consult a specialist obstetrician from one of the university hospitals over a video emergency line. Using the live clinical images being shared between them, they can make a mutual decision about whether to undertake a trauma lift of that newborn or to continue care at the local hospital.
An unclear image due to a poor quality video link would present a significant risk of incorrect diagnosis; such a situation is out of the question. It must be super good quality, so practitioners can trust that the image sent from the maternity unit’s ultrasonic device is exactly the same as the image received at the specialist’s location.
Compodium provides that dependability because it offers seamless connectivity, enabling a trusted bond between two healthcare practitioners: nobody will have a life on their conscience.
This is just one example of how our solutions for telemedicine work for practitioners every day.
What about digitisation in society in general?
As society is becoming increasingly digitised, the need has arisen for a trusting and secure solution for video consultations to take place between a doctor and his patient. For many years, our software developers have added functionality to the platform to address this need. We now call the solution Vidicue.
Vidicue is a secure multiparty video communications platform that is enabling patients and healthcare practitioners to talk to one another remotely, saving costs, time and carbon dioxide emissions. It’s very important that a doctor can legally ensure that the right patient arrives at the meeting. In the same way, it is necessary for a patient to trust that it is a legitimate doctor holding their consultation, not an unknown person dressed in a white medical coat.
Vidicue therefore supports a variety of digital authentication methods including Bank ID, to ensure the correct identity of all participants in the video meeting.
Vidicue provides a higher level of trust that allows professionals new, clever ways of organising workflow processes.
How are the changes taking place in the world right now affecting Vidicue?
The world has accelerated five years in the space of a few months.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how easy it is to share knowledge and run our working lives with digital tools. It’s still possible for many people to earn a living without going to a physical place of work, although of course not for everyone.
A major disaster is cutting across society at the moment, putting pressure on the welfare system, on schools, clinics and places of worship. People are learning to adapt their lives and video communications are at the core of this change.
Panic over the pandemic has eroded into a more sensitive discussion of how we need to communicate remotely in the best ways possible. With that comes an awareness of the need to choose a system that agrees with an organisation’s security and trust requirements.
Vidicue provides this level of security via end-to-end encryption. Beyond even that, by removing the need to travel, Vidicue brings services to the user and connects them to a digital world more securely than ever before.
I think our societies will change dramatically over the coming years. It’s possible to have many benefits of a city life in the countryside. People were spending hours commuting, at great cost, but now they’re realising productivity hasn’t been compromised as a result of working remotely.
What are your plans for Vidicue?
We are humbled by what Vidicue is helping people to do and achieve every day of their lives, and as a business we are continuing to develop the platform.
We’re now quickly moving into different sectors, and expanding internationally, based on our healthcare knowledge. Our main focus is addressing services to regulated industries, where information cannot be made publicly available due to personal and professional privacy laws.
We are an ethically motivated company, putting purpose before profit, and we are inspired by integrating the very latest technology into Vidicue to continue our customer-focussed journey.