IT in healthcare

Consumerisation set to revolutionise healthcare

Cliff Saran

Healthcare will be driven by consumerisation through the adoption of mobile technology and improved data analytics and collaboration in clinical environments.

Speaking at the Forrester Forum in London, Philips Healthcare CEO Jeroen Tas, who was previously the global CIO for the electronics giant, said: “There is a tremendous opportunity to consumerise health.”

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But healthcare needs to move from individual, standalone products to value a complete proposition, according to Tas.

Connecting different product groups together requires IT to build infrastructure that allows teams from across the company to collaborate and share common IT systems, such as a single authentication service.

Mobile medical technology

Philips Healthcare is known for its medical scanners and x-ray machines used in hospitals, but some of this technology is trickling down into mobile devices. 

“Mobile technology is not just a lower-end version of what we do [in Philips Healthcare]. It gives people access to medical technology,” said Tas.

According to Tas, technology that exists in the systems the company has developed for hospital intensive care units can be scaled down to something that can be worn on a wrist.

“Last week, Apple launched its Healthkit. And look at the investments Google is making in healthcare. This is an industry that will change very quickly,” he said.

Connected products

Tas admitted that at Philips, products are not developed in the context of an overall customer experience. They are standalone products, so the company's smart lamps have their own authentication. 

“This is not the way to set up a proposition," he said. "It cannot happen if everyone runs their own stack. You need to create an ecosystem to build a richer experience.”

As CIO, he oversaw a common architecture to enable the smart products Philips develops to communicate together. People from healthcare and lighting are now staring to work together, using the same platform.

“We are moving from product to proposition,” Tas said. This means the company is starting to link together products from different areas of the business to create something that enhances the customer experience. 

“We are there [with ultrasound] when you see your baby for the first time. And we can help you track the health of that baby. We have a baby monitor that can measure vital signs and can be linked to your lights so the baby can fall asleep with soothing light.”

Cloud collaboration

Tas believes there are many opportunities to link different pieces of technology to create integrated healthcare. 

“Healthcare is the biggest industry in many countries. It represents 13% of UK GDP. But there is a huge gap. We are very good at products, but they are standalone,” he said.

Products today, such as FitBit, are point solutions. Tas said a device cloud is needed to manage healthcare devices in an integrated fashion. There is also a need to ensure experts from different areas of healthcare are able to communicate effectively. “We need collaboration in the cloud,” he said.

Tas also suggested that marketing techniques could be applied to manage health proactively: “Half of people don't stick to the medicine plan. In marketing, we motivate people to buy products. Can we apply this to motivate people to be more healthy and take their medicines?”


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