Accelerating healthcare innovation

Much of Philips product ideation in the field of healthcare is focused on technology solutions that enable quick and definitive diagnosis. Not just because that strategy saves lives, but because it reduces hospital costs, frees up time for medics to see more patients and creates healthcare efficiencies that are passed on to patients to help them enjoy better lives.

As populations continue to age worldwide, this drive for efficiency becomes even more critical, partly because of the higher incidence of chronic conditions and also because new business models demand innovation strategies that are holistic – focused on the patient and costs. 
The inexorable trend of urbanization adds to the health problem, seducing people into more sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy habits that often lead to non-communicable diseases like diabetes. Without enough caregivers to support this increasingly sick population, getting healthcare technologies to market fast is essential to our future. In this digital age, product development doesn’t need to follow a linear route any longer.

Effective collaboration is crucial to creating the shortest path to the most appropriate care."


Leveraging key intersections to accelerate healthcare innovation, WSJ, 2013

Instead, pioneering innovations and healthcare technologies can be brought to market quicker for the benefit of patients, so reducing the cost of healthcare delivery. To make that happen, Philips believes there are four ‘intersections’ where disciplines and competencies overlap and empower innovation, enable hospitals to run themselves efficiently and help cut costs so that funds can be ploughed back into key services.
First, there is the intersection where medicine, science and engineering come together to create meaningful innovations that can really make a difference.
This is the sort of collaboration with rapid prototyping that ensures progress can be fast. Next, there is the intersection where partners with expertise in different fields collaborate to solve a specific clinical need. Philips, for example, has amassed a huge body of knowledge in imaging over almost 100 years. It is currently working in partnership with leading clinical institutions, health management organizations and pharmaceutical companies to develop an approach that will use a combination of risk factors, imaging markers and blood biomarkers to predict the risk of stroke and heart attack. Then there are public-private partnership ‘intersections’ that are essential to accelerate the adoption of healthcare innovations tailored to local conditions, infrastructures and business models. For example, in developing a women's healthcare service for remote villages of India, equipping a van with mammography and other diagnostic equipment was the easy part. Far harder was developing a sustainable system to ensure training of local caregivers and the transfer of images and data to hospitals for real-time analysis. To deliver this, Philips is partnering with non-governmental organizations, local healthcare government agencies and well-established hospitals.
Finally, rapid prototyping involves establishing an initial hypothesis on how better clinical outcomes or better economic value can be reached, then experimenting to confirm or refute it, with a willingness to constantly revise the approach. Clearly, care has to be taken to satisfy the requirements for clinical investigations and to ensure there is no lowering in standards of patient care in the process.
Philips is undertaking a rapid prototyping initiative with leading healthcare providers to help reduce the cost of their care without compromising outcomes. This is made possible by using ubiquitous telehealth and monitoring systems, supported by self-managed tools and care coordination, to reduce the need for transitions between the hospital and the home.
Effective collaboration is crucial to creating the shortest path to the most appropriate care. By focusing on critical intersections, we can innovate at the pace today’s global challenges require – and reduce costs in doing so.

When are older persons projected to exceed the number of children for the first time?

2047. It is estimated that there will be 392 million persons aged 80 years or over by 2050, more than three times the present. Citation: United Nations World Population Aging 2013

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