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Preventing illness, prolonging health

How personalized solutions can reengineer the model of care



The world is changing in definitive ways. Business leaders recognize that we are now facing a period of digital transformation that will have profound effects on economies, business models, societies and human behavior.


Today’s consumers will experience greater technological change over the next decade than in the past 50 years, leaving no aspect of global society undisturbed – financial systems, education, global development, security, healthcare and more are being rocked by waves of technological disruption.

So where does that leave the business models of yesterday?


New Times, New Models


These are wildly different times. We are now watching the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a topic we heard much about at the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, and it is changing business models in a dynamic way.

A survey by analysts Gartner found that 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, versus 36% four years ago.


The ‘big shift’ in the consumer industries will see businesses move from traditional centralized organizations – which drove scale and efficiency to reach a mass audience – to technology-enabled flexible, modular corporate entities. This large-scale movement away from mass production to personalized solutions demands a similarly dramatic change in traditional operating models.


But I think we are starting to understand this tectonic shift and the strategic opportunity that has emerged for consumer industries to innovate and collaborate by testing new and transformative business models. In this blog I wrote for WEF as Chairman of the WEF’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Consumer Industries, I cover some of the solutions.


Patient Power

In the healthcare sector, a traditional industry, the model of care designates treating patients when they get sick rather than taking a more preventative approach.


Until recently, the power in healthcare has been held by the medical professional, and the current approach to diagnosis and treatment is based on the training and experience of clinicians.


What has changed is that patients are now information-hungry consumers: a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) last year called ‘Power to the Patient’ found 64% of healthcare executives believed mobile health could dramatically improve outcomes by giving people greater access to medical information.

preventing illness

The role of big data, wearable technologies and analytics is driving improvements across the healthcare landscape as patients become more involved in their own health needs. Patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, COPD and asthma can detect and manage their condition, along with specialist help, in the way they choose. That means reverting to the comfort of their own homes, with their families around them, rather than being in a hospital. This is how the Fourth Industrial Revolution is creating more empowerment for patients.


Collaborative Healthcare
Our vision is of a convergence in the healthcare and consumer worlds, integrated and designed around people: a holistic system supports people’s health by monitoring and motivating them to take action when needed.


Around half of those health executives polled by the EIU predicted that mobile health will enable patients to participate more proactively in their own care in five years’ time. But I would argue that we are reaching that 5-year milestone even faster as traditional healthcare models adjust to new methods of patient care delivery.

preventing illness

Innovations such as our HealthSuite Digital Platform, a platform that collects, compiles and analyzes clinical and other data from multiple devices and sources, bring together patients, families, medical professionals and care providers in real time, enabling more effective, faster decision making.


But let me stress this: our goal isn’t defined by one platform alone but by the greater incentive of making peoples’ lives healthier. To achieve that means we must reengineer a model of care that has only treated sickness and managed diseases once they’ve taken hold to focusing more on preventing illness by prolonging health.

Pieter Nota

Executive Vice President, Chief Executive Officer of Personal Health, Chief Marketing Officer, Member of the Board of Management, Philips

Pieter Nota started his career at Unilever in the Netherlands, as a Brand Manager, in 1990. After becoming a Product Group Manager and National Account Manager, he became the Marketing Manager Innovations Europe for Unilever in the United Kingdom in 1996. From 1998-2002 he was the Marketing Director and Member of the Executive Board of Unilever Poland, and from 2002-2005 he was the Marketing Director and Member of the Executive Board of Unilever Germany. Between 2005 and 2010, Pieter Nota was an Executive Board Member and Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer of Beiersdorf AG. Pieter Nota was born in the Netherlands in 1964 and holds a degree in Business Administration.


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