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Connected solution to our healthcare crisis



We are experiencing an extraordinary revolution in the healthcare industry in which both patients and professionals have been empowered by a wealth of technological advances. Diagnoses are more accurate, wearable technology allows consumers simple ways to monitor their own conditions and data is giving us incredibly detailed insights into how to provide more meaningful care.

Alongside these developments, more responsibility is being shouldered by governments and insurers who must meet the higher expectations and demands of their customers. And they do so in an age when people are living longer and costs – especially for managing chronic diseases such as heart problems, diabetes and cancer – are inexorably rising.


Instead of simply treating the sick, we need to engineer a recalibration of the entire system. Patients need to be proactively encouraged – and enabled – to manage and improve their own healthcare, whilst professionals are freed up to treat more patients, more effectively.


One of the most effective ways of doing this is to create a connected healthcare world in which medics on different continents can, at the swipe of a tablet or use of a mobile app, share information with each other.


A world where data-enriched devices worn by consumers can alert doctors and nurses to their patients’ vital signs without having to meet them face-to-face in hospital.


A world where enormous amounts of consumer data from disparate sources – protected by sophisticated privacy encryption systems – are linked together to create intricately detailed insights into our health that will benefit generations to come.


Philips is proving itself a pioneer in this kind of healthcare. For instance, we have digitally enabled remote African and Asian clinics that are suffering high infant mortality rates to link with advanced pre-natal units in Europe to analyse foetal scans and spot potential problems at an early stage. We’ve allowed specialists on opposite sides of the globe to share prostate cancer biopsies to deliberate more effectively what treatment to take.


Such digital innovations also herald a new era of personalized care in which big data, integrated into medical records, allows professionals to construct unique and detailed treatment plans that won’t always require hospitalization – and if they do, that stay may not be as drawn out as it currently is.

It also means that patients, with seamless access to round-the-clock support and armed with the kind of information that was once the preserve of professionals, will be able to manage and analyze their own health.


By capitalizing on these developments, governments, hospitals and consumer health markets will be able to effectively transform the current, haphazard and often costly form of care into a more sophisticated ‘continuum’. Instead of starting at the point of admission, care can begin at home, focused on preventative measures, handing control to consumers and allowing them to pursue more healthy lifestyles.


Following on from that, the continuum will be defined by more accurate diagnostics inspiring less invasive – and less expensive - medical treatments.


Finally, rather than care being purely focused on what happens inside hospital, the digitally-empowered continuum will allow for a far safer and more beneficial domestic healthcare program. Such ‘telecare’ methods will ensure that it’s both cost-effective and more comfortable for the consumer.


However, for such a system to be truly transformative, we need to engage in much stronger collaborations so that governments, private companies, insurers, medical professionals, patients, and caregivers engage in creative partnerships. In this way, we can expand the range of care throughout the world, ensure that medics are able to work in a more productive and efficient way and that people’s lives are enhanced.


If we can broadly and inclusively change healthcare in this way, we will improve society, ensure that budgets are not exceeded, economic growth is boosted and the lives of billions of people are transformed.

Frans van Houten

CEO and Chairman

Dutch-born Frans van Houten started his career at Phillips in 1986 in marketing and sales. He became CEO of Airvision, an in-flight entertainment startup in the United States in 1992, and was appointed Vice President of international sales and operations of Philips’ Kommunikations Industrie in Germany in 1993. In 1996, Frans joined Philips’ Consumer Electronics division, leading the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa region from Singapore.


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