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Deeptha Khanna
Oct 08, 2021

Philips’ Deeptha Khanna discusses the role of technology in consumer health and well-being at annual TNW (@thenextweb) Conference in Amsterdam

Estimated reading time: 2-4 minutes

Philips Executive Vice President and Chief Business Leader Personal Health, Deeptha Khanna, recently took part in a fireside chat session at the 2021 TNW Conference in Amsterdam to discuss the role that technology will play in our collective future. Although the session was titled ‘How well does your toothbrush know you’, the discussion ventured beyond the importance of good oral care into wider topics such as telehealth and digital health. Below is a summary of Deeptha’s responses to many of the questions raised about the future of consumer health.


Q: Since the word toothbrush is in the session title, what’s so special about Philips’ latest Sonicare 9900 Prestige?


A: The Sonicare 900 Prestige does a few special things. Of course it comes with an app that coaches you about what you are doing well and not so well in terms of your everyday brushing habits. But the important thing is that its inbuilt artificial intelligence (AI) is sensitive to the pressure you apply when you brush, because if you have sensitive gums and you apply too much pressure it’s not good for you. That’s important because we now know that good oral health is linked to good overall health – for example, better heart health and better pregnancy outcomes.


Q: How do you find a solution to striking a balance between having all the data and wanting to improve your brushing habits yet feeling under pressure to perform well all the time


A: I think there are two parts to the solution. First, for any good health behavior, it's always useful to have a coach who personalizes your care. And I like to think of the Sonicare app as that initial coach who can get you into a new habit that's better for you. Then once you’ve got into the new habit, the AI allows you to take it to the next level without having to think about it. The AI is thinking on your behalf and helping to support your new approach to brushing by adjusting the pressure of the toothbrush while you are using it. So the more the technology addresses the user’s experience as well as the outcome, the better the technology works.


Q: Are there any other personal health technologies out there that you are really excited about?


A: I am truly excited about the personalization of technology and how that can facilitate our health and well-being journey. For example, Philips has a wireless Avalon CL Fetal and Maternal Pod and Patch for pregnant women that allows a doctor to monitor their, and their baby’s health, in a remote setting. It’s been very powerful over the last year, because if you are pregnant during the COVID pandemic, you don't want to be in a hospital environment for frequent check-ups. With the Avalon Fetal and Maternal Pod and Patch you can still be assured that you are being looked after and your vital signs are being monitored by a care professional. That level of personalization and technology-enabled monitoring is something fascinating, and I think telehealth has many other possibilities.

Q: How personal is too personal?


A: I think that we are always on a continuous journey, but over the last decade we have become receptive to technology in many facets of our lives. So I think what we are receptive to, and what we find concerning, changes over time. But when you are an innovator in this space, informed consent and the highest standards of security and privacy are essential. Then it’s a win-win situation.


Q: What will digital healthcare look like in the next ten years?


A: At Philips, we talk about something called the Quadruple Aim. One: to improve the health and well-being outcomes of the people we serve – consumers and patients; two: to improve the patient experience; three: to improve the experience of the care provider; four: to improve access to care. Philips wants to reach and improve the lives of 2.5 billion people and these four aims encapsulate where we want to see digital health go. We want to see technology leveraged to deliver better care, better experiences both for you and those who take care of you, and achieve the accessibility and reach needed to fulfil people’s health needs.


Q: Why do you think we are at such a pivotal moment in healthcare history?


A: I think the pandemic has quite a lot to do with it. Although there has been a rapid embrace of digital health and technology in all aspects of healthcare over the last decade, the pandemic has accelerated everyone's awareness of how vital the basics of health are to all of us. It's something that's now got our attention, certainly from a consumer perspective. The pandemic has also illustrated the scarcity of trained healthcare professionals, so if you can use technology to democratize care you can amplify the reach of those healthcare professionals we do have. So to me, the pandemic has definitely been a catalyst for change.


Q: How do you see the shift from Philips as a product-centric company to a human-centric digital health company?


A: It’s been a really exciting experience for everyone in Philips over recent years, including myself. I think that when we articulate the Quadruple Aim of care, it clearly illustrates our purpose to improve people's health and well-being through meaningful innovation. Philips is an iconic 130-year-old company, which in its DNA has been about innovation and engineering, creating ideas that can transform your home and your well-being. But our focus has always been to serve unmet needs - and that's what the Quadruple Aim expresses.

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