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Apr 25, 2019

The question I ask myself every day…

Estimated reading time: 4-6 minutes

Here’s the question I ask myself every day: How can we further enable healthcare providers to optimize the care they deliver so that patients can quickly return to living a fruitful and enjoyable life?

With minimally-invasive image-guided procedures widely regarded as the answer to treating more patients, more quickly and at lower cost, I am convinced that continuously innovating these procedures to make them more effective and efficient is the key to meeting the Quadruple Aim of healthcare – improved patient experience, better health outcomes, lowering the cost of care, and improving the work life of care providers.

The Quadruple Aim

Philips’ Image-Guided Therapy (IGT) business is helping to achieve the Quadruple Aim in many different ways. Not simply by developing better X-ray imaging systems but by expanding beyond imaging into treatment and integral procedural solutions. We provide integrated interventional solutions – combinations of imaging systems, smart devices, clinical informatics and services –  that help to take image-guided procedures to new heights. Solutions that benefit patients and healthcare professionals alike and innovations that help hospitals to deliver the value-based care on which they are increasingly being judged.


Here are two examples of recent innovations that do precisely that:


  • Our instant wave-free ratio (iFR) technology for assessing the physiology of coronary arteries to guide treatment decisions. By eliminating the cost and patient-discomfort associated with the artery-dilating drugs needed to perform conventional fractional flow reserve (FFR) measurements, iFR benefits both patients and hospitals. Randomized clinical trials have demonstrated that iFR is 90% more comfortable for patients and costs 10% less compared to FFR. [1]
  • Our Azurion image-guided therapy platform. Since its introduction in 2017, the workflow improvements enabled by Azurion have helped to treat more than half a million patients, delivering on the promise of short waiting time for patients and low radiation doses for staff. The result: more patients treated and greater staff satisfaction in the interventional suite. [2]

Innovations like these are only the beginning of what the interventional community can look forward to in the coming years. This is one of the most innovative areas of healthcare, fostering greater cross-disciplinarity and stimulating creativity.

Our Azurion image-guided therapy platform
Our instant wave-free radio (iFR) technology

iFR and Azurion both deliver faster interventional procedures and improved patient and staff experiences at a lower cost.


Innovations like these are only the beginning of what the interventional community can look forward to in the coming years. This is one of the most innovative areas in healthcare, fostering greater cross-disciplinarity and stimulating creativity. While today, replacing entire heart valves or treating stroke patients have become routine interventional procedures, future applications using similar minimally-invasive techniques will be applied to more and more organs in the human body, like treating spine fusion, prostate or lung cancer. Patients who are currently untreatable because of the risks of open-surgery will become treatable. Treatment options will increase, leading to greater patient choice and empowerment. And thanks to smarter guidance and navigation solutions, X-ray exposures will continue to decrease. Interventional procedures will also move to lower-cost settings, something we are already helping to facilitate with our solutions and services offerings for outpatient clinics and office-based labs.  

Bert in the VUMC interventional suite

Worldwide, our integrated interventional imaging and smart device solutions are helping to treat one patient every second of the day and night, which is great. But we want to do so much more. Our mission to improve people’s lives through meaningful innovation energizes and inspires me and my team to develop ever-smarter solutions so that our customers can take better care of their patients. 


[1] Davies JE, Sen S, Dehbi H-M, et al. Use of the instantaneous wave-free ratio or fractional flow reserve in PCI. N Engl J Med 2017;376:1824-34

Patel M. “Cost-effectiveness of instantaneous wave-Free Ratio (iFR) compared with Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR) to guide coronary revascularization decision-making.” Late-breaking Clinical Trial presentation at ACC on March 10, 2018

[2] Independent 3rd Party Verification. Results are specific to the institution where they were obtained and may not reflect the results achievable at other institutions 

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Bert van Meurs

Bert van Meurs

Chief Business Leader of Image Guided Therapy, Chief Business Leader of Precision Diagnosis (ad interim)

Bert van Meurs is Chief Business Leader of Image Guided Therapy, Chief Business Leader of Precision Diagnosis (ad interim), and is responsible for Diagnosis & Treatment. He is also a member of the Royal Philips Executive Committee.

Click here to read more on Bert van Meurs

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