Giraffe Healthcare – Providing an online physiotherapy platform to expand global access

Giraffe Healthcare is a Glasgow-based social enterprise founded in 2018 that has developed an online video platform offering physiotherapy exercises and rehabilitation content to patients worldwide.


Giraffe aims to increase access to vital physiotherapy treatment by enabling convenient home-based rehabilitation through high-quality, personalised instructional videos. The initial idea for the digital therapy concept was conceived in 2011 by Professor Lorna Paul, an NHS physiotherapist seeking to serve multiple sclerosis patients in remote rural areas of Scotland through telehealth.

With growth guidance from the International Social Enterprise Observatory (ISEO), Giraffe is now adapting its platform to extend life-changing online physiotherapy support cost-effectively to hard-to-reach patient communities across the globe.

The Problem:

As a healthcare social enterprise, Giraffe faces several challenges in sustaining its global expansion ambition:

  • Patient scepticism and lack of familiarity with virtual physiotherapy models initially hindered adoption and credibility.
  • Achieving commercial viability and consistent revenue took years of business model iteration and overcoming doubts.
  • Healthcare infrastructure and financing dynamics differ hugely between international markets, shaping demand.
  • Personalisation for each new country involves language translation and cultural customisation.
  • Balancing expansion costs against social impact goals remains an ongoing tension.

Without purposefully addressing these barriers through locally-informed global strategy, Giraffe would likely struggle to fulfil its mission to provide therapy access worldwide.

The Solution: 

Through an adaptive approach guided by social impact goals, Giraffe has embraced several key strategies to drive sustainable global growth:

  • Instructional videos deliberately feature actual therapists and real patients modelling exercises in home settings to build trust and credibility.
  • Ongoing support from Firstport, Royal Society of Edinburgh and Scottish EDGE helped refine the business model over 7 years of startup challenges.
  • Revenue-share partnerships and white-label solutions with established local healthcare providers, insurers and clinics provide a launch pad in each new country.
  • Multilingual therapists are hired in each country to translate and personalise video content both linguistically and culturally.
  • A Country Manager structure allows locally-guided flexibility within an overarching social mission.

This commitment to thoughtful iteration allows Giraffe to appropriately meet diverse patient and partner needs while steadily expanding access to this innovative Scottish digital health solution globally.

The Outcome: 

Backed by both human skill and smart adjustable technology, paired with an adaptable business ethos, Giraffe Healthcare is delivering improved rehabilitation access in underserved regions worldwide.

With specialized international growth guidance from ISEO, the social enterprise is now building partnerships everywhere from the UAE to New Zealand and Uganda, enabling convenient at-home physiotherapy without borders. Giraffe’s journey stands as a testament to how Scottish innovation and entrepreneurship can achieve global impact and sustainability when executed with a locally-attuned mindset.

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