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In Healthcare, Sometimes Established Players Provide Solutions Startups Can’t

At MedTech Boston, we’re always keeping our eye out for up-and-coming startups spun out of hackathons, or connected devices conceived of in the classroom.

But the area’s well-established healthcare players also have a major role to play in developing solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing healthcare problems. One of these is Philips Healthcare, an arm of the Dutch technology company well known for its medical-grade monitoring and imaging equipment.

Manu Varma

Manu Varma | Photo courtesy of LinkedIn

Philips, whose technology is already integrated into the infrastructure of many hospitals globally, is particularly well suited to develop enterprise solutions across the care continuum. They’ve developed a suite of telehealth products for the hospital, skilled nursing facilities and the home. “We take the technology that we already have, and we build out care delivery models on top of that technology,” says Manu Varma Head of Marketing & Strategy of Hospital to Home at Philips Healthcare.

One of their solutions, the eICU program, uses audio-visual technology to enable remote care teams to help ICU bedside staff deliver care efficiently and effectively. The software combines analytics, data visualization and advanced reporting capabilities to help clinical teams proactively monitor patients and reform their clinical model by identifying areas in which they could be performing better. Philips reports that patients receiving care from an ICU with Philips’ eICU were 26% more likely to survive their ICU stay, and on average discharged 20% faster.

When the patient returns home, Philips has a series of remote home monitoring products that allow for care teams to intervene early and reduce the need for readmission.

Philips is also capable of taking the high-density data streams they collect from their telehealth solutions and making them available for research. Philips’ eICU customers, for example, form something called an eICU research institute.“They can use these data sets to consider what makes a ICU successful and how they can improve operations,” explains Varma. Additionally, Philips works to make this abundance of data available to researchers outside of their customer base. In January of 2015 Philips gave researchers at the MIT Laboratory of Computational Physiology access to anonymized data from more than 100,000 patients collected from their eICU program.

Although lacking the shiny new trappings of a budding startup, Philips’ resources, infrastructure and proven track record make them a key player in fostering innovation in hospitals and setting them up for long term success. “There’s no question there’s a lot of solutions that solve specific problems, but if I put myself in the shoes of the hospital CEO, CMO, or CFO, I’m probably looking for enterprise capability that will set me up for the next ten years.”

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