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How imaging and data intelligence can improve population health management

Optimizing both care quality and outcomes



As I talk with customers globally, it’s clear that the dynamics around improving the health of populations are top of mind right now, but hotly debated. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement has driven awareness of the “Triple Aim” of improving quality, cost and outcomes globally. In the United States, the many challenges of healthcare today, including a growing aging population and the rise of chronic and lifestyle-related diseases, have brought that same concept into focus to optimize healthcare and manage population health.


While efforts targeted at achieving the Triple Aim are critical, we shouldn’t limit our scope by focusing initially on specific populations. There can be a much broader and compelling framework for improving population health for more diverse populations when imaging is included.


Imaging is a very powerful diagnostic, and in some cases, a definitive diagnostic. However, it is also among the top three cost and charge centers in hospitals globally. As such, it is easy to marginalize imaging as a “cost center” and simply reduce tests to reduce expenses. I’ve heard how some physicians, driven by cost, will delay a definitive diagnostic for patients because they think it’s too expensive or overused within their hospital.


I find that this perception of imaging reflects a much broader and alarming trend percolating across healthcare. Hospitals are right to focus on cost but it shouldn’t be at the expense of holding back exams that impact timing and appropriateness of care. The reality is that if imaging is injected at the right point in time for the right patient, not only does it improve patient outcomes, but it also improves overall operating costs.


Our future is in data-driven healthcare focused on performance and outcomes. We’re transforming imaging to be a player in population health. Much of the compelling potential benefits of imaging are because of its role in definitive diagnosis, but also as a key control point in tailored care. Imaging can not only provide the definitive diagnostic to identify the cause of a patient’s symptoms, but it can also give the definitive result that they are well or insights about whether or not a therapy is working. That is population health! It all comes down to the key question of: “What is the appropriate level of diagnostics and monitoring to manage a specific population?”


Philips is helping healthcare organizations answer that very question for themselves by examining clinical procedures in the larger context of better care throughout the health continuum. We help organizations streamline clinical care while monitoring and maintaining quality outcomes with targets for continuous improvement. We’re showing customers how to drive more efficiency and cost savings out of imaging by not simply reducing the number of imaging tests performed, but rather, reducing the per capita cost of diagnostic exams overall.


Philips understands that if we can help hospitals get imaging costs down that means it can be more impactful to the population overall. With careful appropriateness management tools, cost reductions would enhance the value of imaging and its ability to improve both care quality and outcomes.

To reset this, the industry needs to shift from a mindset that tends to limit and isolate the optimization of imaging based on cost to one that expands the value across all three aspects of the Triple Aim – cost, quality and outcomes – to achieve appropriateness of care. It requires a change from making clinical decisions strongly influenced by perceived costs to making them based on specific, value-based intelligence.


Imaging must be viewed with the balance of the business perspective of the c-suites combined with collaborative insight of patients, radiologists and clinicians as well. Without that connection, it is difficult to apply imaging appropriately in certain patient disease situations that would actually improve the outcome by delivering the right test.


Long-term, imaging can be a key driver of appropriate care, critical to managing overall population health. Fully integrated radiology solutions can help speed up early detection and clinical intervention to help reduce long-term costs in healthcare overall by treating patients quickly and more accurately.



It’s an exciting time in Philips’ Radiology Solutions. As we begin to demonstrate value with our customers, we incite more conversations about imaging as a critical part of an overall health strategy, in which our success is only limited by our ability to innovate together.


Philips’ Radiology Solutions will be available for consultation at booth #6736 at the
RSNA Annual Meeting through Dec. 4 in Chicago, Ill. Follow @PhilipsLiveFrom on Twitter or visit for more information on Philips’ presence at


Sham Sokka, PhD


Head of Radiology Solutions, Philips   

As Head of the Radiology Solutions group at Philips Healthcare, Sham leads the Radiology Solutions team in developing comprehensive imaging solutions that create new, differentiated value across the health continuum. These solutions will integrate imaging modalities, informatics, workflows and services with software applications configured and customized to meet the operational and clinical goals of our customers. Sham holds over 50 publications and pending or granted patents in the area of therapeutic ultrasound, ultrasound imaging, MR-guided interventions and multi-modality image guidance for interventions.

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