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Jun 22, 2020

Philips CEO Frans van Houten’s vision of Digital Wellbeing

Estimated reading time: 2-4 minutes

On June 19, European digital innovation and entrepreneurial education organization EIT Digital interviewed Philips CEO Frans van Houten on his vision of Digital Wellbeing. Here are some highlights of the interview. 


On Philips’ strategic choice for health


“For Philips to be relevant in society for the coming 50 or 100 years, we need to align ourselves with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, and we need to really put our money on innovation so that we differentiate ourselves. We chose health because we can be directly in touch with the users – the hospitals, the patients. You need deep clinical knowledge, you need deep informatics knowledge, technological knowledge, and you need to bring all of that together. And you need to be a trusted brand. So we focus on where we can really have a differentiating edge.”


On trends in healthcare


“The macro trend is that we have a growing and aging population, and society cannot afford the burden of healthcare. In comes technology, where digitization will move us from general care to precision medical care that is specific to you, where we understand your DNA, we understand your disease. Data is going to play a huge role to transform healthcare, so we need to make sense out of that data, and we do that through informatics, we do that through AI. So I see a revolution going on in healthcare very much fueled by the digitization of care.”

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On Europe’s use of AI in healthcare


“I think we need to embrace informatics, analytics, AI, so that we can get ahead. So we can improve access to health care, make it affordable, make it better for each individual. But it does require that patients give their consent that their data is being accessed in an anonymized way, in a responsible way for future research purposes. I really would advocate for a pan-European federated database around healthcare so that Europe can lead in healthcare technology. We need to roll out 5G, we need to set rules around access to data, but we do need to harmonize across Europe on how we get access to data.”


On open innovation


“At Philips, we saw this trend coming and we opened up our research centers, our campuses, and we invited other companies to enter into our ecosystem. Technology is so complex that no company can do it on its own. We need to leverage others to get ahead. And that also reduces the risk. We are still very committed to innovation and we spend 10 percent of our revenues in research and development. To be successful, we need an ecosystem of smart people, smart universities, smart doctors to collaborate with us, because that's the only way you innovate in a meaningful manner.”


Watch the full interview

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Ben Zwirs

Ben Zwirs

Philips Global Press Office

Tel: +31 6 1521 3446

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