By Srinivas Prasad M.R, CEO, Philips Innovation Campus
Located in Bangalore, Philips Innovation Campus shines as tech hub of Netherlands-headquartered Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA). PIC is focused on crafting complete products and innovative solutions for India as well as for global markets across Healthcare, Lighting and Lifestyle.
It is no news that healthcare is a huge driver of technology globally. Everyday a new solution is emerging to make our lives progressively easier; thanks to skyrocketing adoption of smartphones. The day is not so far when we will be bestowed with an end-to-end healthcare solution, which brings alive the dream of continuum of care. Imagine if every single data right from your childhood including your stress level, calories burnt and diet collected from various devices like connected cooker, is collated on cloud. Now visualize the power of an application that could mine through that vast data to highlight abnormalities and patterns. Wouldn't that aid doctors to predict your problem earlier and prevent it? During unfortunate events akin to heart attack, when every minute counts, envisage a technician in ambulance is equipped with an application that enables him to capture the situation with the help of an ECG machine connected to hospital. Wouldn't that help the patient to have respective specialist, operation theatre and nurses readily available, once the ambulance reach the hospital? In next five years, the whole industry will move towards this solution approach.
Healthcare is grappling with technology deployment challenges that telecom sector went through in early 90s. Before deploying an infrastructure, one should learn from all industries. For instance, no industry is as advanced as BFSI, when it comes to data security. Enriching certain domain expertise makes it easier to apply IT knowledge to that sector and working across diverse industries endows one with various ideas that enables pushing people to innovate, while keeping the attrition rate down.
The first step towards solving a problem is through understanding it. Instead of blindly mimicking their peers, hospitals should mine critical data and benchmark it with other best practices in the industry to enhance efficiency. Apart from such lack of awareness about problems, affordability and accessibility are healthcare's biggest problems. By connecting these three ends of the pyramid, one can find a solution that pan across these three. The suddenly blooming industry is bewildered with connectivity and interoperability issues, due the influx of plethora of device manufacturers. While Philips IntelliBridge Enterprise solves interoperability issues, VISIQ, our tablet based ultrasound, offers quick access to information, accelerating decision making. With every release of our product, we create simple videos in various languages not only to guide less-qualified people who help doctors, but also to calm the nerves of patients. The key to drive production of devices is to make device interaction extremely intuitive. In three years, MR interface will show the problems more visually in PC, tablet, smartphone or work station and enable us drill down deeply. All mobile apps will have simplest user-interface with localized language. There will be an inflexion point beyond which everyone will be forced to use technology due to peer pressure.
Cost can always be brought down by optimizing workflow. For instance, an intensivist can be used ideally by utilizing a decision support system that enables him to observe more patients. Developing everything locally can make device's price affordable. However, the equipment cost is merely a small part of patient's expenses considering other expenses of patient and his entourage such as food and travel. Although there are a number primary care centers across India, rural Indians are unable to attain best care due to unavailability of qualified doctors at all times, scarcity of properly working equipments and shortage of people to service equipments. As many doctors in government hospitals refer to a private doctor for shady reasons, the poor people actually end up paying more.
By linking private and public systems to deploy tele-solutions with remote serviceability, care can be taken closer to patients; thereby save them from huge stress and frittering away huge monies. Proper check-ups for patients with chronic diseases in real-time would avoid readmission. Of course, we will make our devices more relevant, but hospitals should be aware of the various ways that empowers them to bring the cost down. (As told to Susila Govindaraj)