However, the medical system in general, and doctors in particular, are under pressure. The need for medical care is growing exponentially because of ageing populations and an epidemic of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Healthcare costs are spiralling out of control, but patients expect more personalised care rather than long waiting times. And hospitals are finding that expensive equipment is simultaneously overbooked and underused.
Better care at lower costs
In a bid to alleviate an almost inhuman strain on doctors and enable hospitals to improve care at lower costs, the medical industry could take a cue from airports. There, a broad range of professionals work smoothly together to handle massive volumes of people, goods and airplanes while meeting the highest standards of safety and comfort. Key to this is their use of advanced data analytics delivered using scalable technology platforms.
How would this work in a hospital setting? One of the main elements is diagnostics. For the larger part of our 125-year existence, Philips has pioneered this field, from the introduction of a medical X-ray tube in 1916 to the launch of a 3D CT scanner in 2006. Our most recent milestone has been an oncology system that creates 3D density maps from MR images. Instead of needing both CT and MR, doctors can use MR only to plan radiation treatment of prostate cancer, resulting in simplified workflows and higher-quality care.