Healthcare Internet of Things Partner Insights

Philips CEO van Houten on Digital Health’s Future

Philips CEO Frans van Houten was a big presence at the recent HIMSS Conference in Las Vegas. (It stands for Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, which is a name that sounds like it could stand updating.) HIMSS is the place where the digital world meets the world of health, and Philips aims increasingly to be a central player in that conjunction. Above, I interview van Houten briefly on the show floor about why he is there. Separately I conducted a lengthy interview with him as part of the program of the conference, that video will be available in the near future.

But Van Houten has written his own piece explaining Five Lessons Healthcare Can Learn from Other Industries. His lessons:

-Institutions have to embrace “digitalization” across their enterprise. He means that there are all kinds of things that can be connected that in most cases are not connected. To link it up, consciously and methodically, will generate amazing progress in health.

-Open innovation is key to making rapid progress. Companies that have a “not-invented-here” mentality will fail.

-Integrated solutions are necessary. Combining technologies and breaking down institutional silos leads to more efficiency. This will benefit patient health care as well as speed the progress of medical research.

-Everything has to be measured, and the measurements have to be shared widely and made transparent inside organizations. That makes it easier for customers to trust the work you do as well as helps motivate employees to see the value of their own contributions to the organization’s progress.

-Get rid of elements in your systems that don’t add value, and go lean. Lean Six Sigma management techniques, pioneered by Toyota back in the day now have enormous applicability to healthcare.

I’m confident that there is progress happening towards these new ways of working, and so is van Houten. As Philips finishes its own transformation from a more diversified company to one focused entirely on health and wellness, I expect it will become a more and more important player not just at HIMSS but in healthcare globally. (van Houten has been trying to sell his giant lighting division, but the U.S. government recently stopped him from making a deal to sell it to a Chinese company. Another deal will surely follow soon. The lighting company is itself highly innovative, but no longer fits neatly into the more focused vision van Houten has developed for Philips.)

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