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Philips Innovates in Healthcare with Social Media: Adopting to Business Strategy and New Opportunities Within Care Cycle

Innovation is crucial in the evolution of the healthcare industry, Philips Electronics and the Catharina Hospital in the Netherlands, a leading interventional cardiology center, have teamed up to showcase current solutions and future developments -by working together on building a state-of-the-art electrophysiology (EP) lab- that shape the diagnosis and minimally invasive treatment of heart rhythm disorders. This was followed by a unique social media initiative.

This partnership was followed by the social media initiative in the Netherlands focused on Dutch heart patient Ad Langendonk. Starting on January 10, Mr. Langendonk and his cardiologist, Dr Lukas Dekker, used Twitter before, during and after a minimally-invasive intervention during which catheters were used to remedy Mr. Langendonk’s heart rhythm disorder. The intervention was successfully performed on January 27, allowing Mr. Langendonk to begin the process of regaining his quality of life.

Dr Lukas Dekker, cardiologist at the Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven said:

“The challenge in healthcare is to improve the quality of care while at the same time satisfying increased demand and controlling costs. Innovation is the only means by which we can arrive at sustainable solutions. We need to keep investing in innovation and to that end it is important to increase public awareness of what we are doing. That is why I am so enthusiastic about these initiatives. In this way, people are brought together, ideas are exchanged, be it in person or via the Internet.”

Hans Bossink, General Manager Philips Healthcare Benelux said:

“Innovation is an important piece of the healthcare puzzle. Ultimately, healthcare is all about people — the patient and the care provider. We wanted to provide a platform that enables people to experience what innovation means for medical procedures and the impact it has on the delivery of care as well as the clinical outcome.”

Telling the ‘real’ story

The aim of the project was to tell the story from the perspective people, how the patient and caregiver experience innovation in healthcare. Within Philips, Joost Maltha was projectleader and he elaborated that Philips gained a natural role within the whole by educating people on innovation and technology on the online platform.

The Frankwatching blog continues by explaining the importancy of technology during the heart surgery: Through a Flickr photostream, people could watch and see how the doctors use live 3D imaging and a TomTom style navigation to get to the heart to maneuver.

Social media in healthcare

The case of Philips and the Catherina Hospital is in lign with the outcomes of a recent research where one outcome was that people want social media to be something that helps them coordinate care and navigate the health care system, and they think physicians are the best people to deliver it.

Care cycle, prevention and new possible business models

The total care cycle is subject to change, external developments and what more. Some of these challenges are that people are becoming aware of the impact of lifestyle on health, healthcare is becoming very expensive, especially in Western countries and people with chronic diseases live longer.

One of the megatrends where social media and its openess can add value is prevention. Patient behavior and sentiment data can be used to look at how lifestyle could influence treatment as well as how to promote wellness initiatives. According to GSK, 75 percent of US healthcare spending is accounted to chronic diseases, much of them being preventable.

Patients’ attraction to online communities is prompting many health care organizations to reshape their social media strategy from one focused on marketing to one that is part of an overall business strategy to engage patients, interact with them and even provide services in an attempt to help bring down the costs of providing care.

And this can go much further, think also about mobile health opportunities, technologies and devices (within the $273 billion medical equipment and supplies market )that are interconnected, placing a person within its context and be able to increase the quality of life. This perfectly fits the subtitle of this WallStreet Journal article: “A focus on quality of life helps medical providers see the big picture—and makes for healthier, happier patients.”

What do you think product- and service innovation can bring to the table?