Philips’ products and solutions are aligned toward achieving its North Star—Quadruple Aim in Healthcare. Philips has committed significant resources to develop strategic tools, such as its vendor-neutral HealthSuite Platform, which will significantly expand the company’s solution portfolio and market reach and diversify its revenue base. Philips’ heavy investment in research — it spends €1.92 billion in R&D annually — is aligned toward achieving deep technological and clinical expertise and consumer insights that will make it a leading health tech company. About half of its R&D staff is focused on software development and data science. Philips’ methodical approach to building strategic partnerships and alliances will not only enable portfolio expansion but also accelerate time-to-market. The company has also made key acquisitions and partnerships to further its foray into innovative solutions. One of the most significant acquisitions is that of Capsule Technologies, a provider of medical device integration and data technologies to hospitals and other provider organizations. The second is BioTelemetry, a provider of state-of-the-art remote cardiac diagnostics and monitoring solutions, which will help Philips offer integrated solutions that improve provider and patient outcomes.

Key takeaways:

  1. Philips has a clear, confident vision for its future as it transforms into a health-tech leader. It has placed all its bets on HealthSuite being the anchor point for this transition.
  2. The company holds the ‘Quadruple Aim’ as a true north star, with its focus being on precision medicine – naturally, data becomes a key element of this endeavor.
  3. Akin to the analogy of hiking in the desert, “drink water before you have to”, Philips’ innovation approach is to “innovate/transform before you have to”.
  4. All of Philips’s software applications (old and new) are or will be transitioned to HealthSuite. The platform is envisioned to be modular, scalable, open to third-party applications to support an ecosystem of apps, and capable to support cloud, hybrid or on-premise deployment.
  5. With its transition, Philips is counting on engaging more with the client (health system) C-suite and building recurring revenue models (over 40% of sales from solutions and recurring revenues today).

Our analysis across the following areas comes from excerpts and insights from interaction with key Philips Healthcare stakeholders during their Analyst Summit in September 2021.

Integrated Diagnostics

From an enterprise imaging standpoint, by effectively combining digital and physical products, Philips is entering a new stage in its ongoing commitment to reach the quadruple aim. The integrated diagnostics strategy leverages evidence-based AI, to improve not only clinical decision support systems but also provider and patient outcomes.

The Philips HealthSuite Platform addresses several pain points of imaging providers by allowing  integration and management of disparate vendor solutions used in ambulatory centers, hospitals and IDNs, and independent imaging centers. From an operational perspective, the integration of workflow-enhancing tools, such as speech recognition, capacity monitoring, utilization management, patient engagement, and clinical decision capabilities within the HealthSuite portfolio helps address resource and efficacy constraints of overburdened radiology departments and contributes to improved staff satisfaction.

It is impressive to see Philips’ commitment to its mission of using all insights from the ‘most defining moment in healthcare’ to create treatment pathways and plans. The integrated diagnostics suite allows for the realization of this vision.

Oncology Pathways: Customer Use Case: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, US

In August 2019, Philips launched Oncology Pathways as part of the Philips IntelliSpace Oncology platform in collaboration with Dana Farber Cancer Institute, a leading cancer research and treatment institute. Oncology Pathways represent the perfect amalgamation of evidence and personalized care delivery for cancer patients, primarily for those in the Dana Farber network. The cloud-based clinical decision support tool or map guides the cancer care team through the complexities of cancer by taking a systematic approach to the personalization of treatment based on a patient’s individual needs and biological characteristics. The tool essentially synthesizes the expertise of 300 oncologists and other cancer care team members to create a database. While oncology is ripe with growth opportunities, it is also a field that constantly develops and requires the largest amount of evidence to be assimilated. In addition, cancer research is not restricted to just a handful of organizations. Philips recognizes such challenges and plans to strengthen the pathway by including molecular markers that predict adverse events, exploring partnerships with other cancer institutes and, reaching more markets.

Philips’ recent partnership with Elekta is a smart move that will enhance its offerings in the oncology space. This will allow Philips to leverage Elekta’s capabilities to pursue precision in oncology through integrated vendor-agnostic solutions, supported by interoperability between the two parties’ systems and software. The partnership is essential to deliver integrated cancer care, right from tumor detection to accurate clinical decision-making and therapy delivery.

Acute Telehealth: Customer Use Case: AMITA Health, US

Philips’ acute telehealth program is focused on driving customer-centricity and meeting patient demand for virtual health, on-demand, and anytime-anywhere healthcare services. Philips’ program is the expansion of its critical care services from hospital care settings to at-home care. The program is designed to operate on HealthSuite – a cloud-based platform that runs on AWS cloud and provides necessary scalability and interoperability. The Philips acute telehealth program adopts a model that ensures quick deployment of an enterprise-wide virtual care system with a centralized command center and configurable/flexible tools. The program is designed to not only meet the healthcare shortage of critical care resources, such as intensivists, nurses, and critical care staff but also bridge the gap in urgent and critical care services. Cloud computing further enhances the agility, scalability, and interoperability of the program—from making healthcare records available to intensivists to transitioning acute telehealth programs from an in-hospital setting to an at-home setting. The program is a cornerstone of the company’s commitment to achieving the quadruple aim of healthcare. The program offers health systems the flexibility to add hospitals, beds, clinical units, per the enterprise virtual care strategy. Philips recently collaborated with the American Telemedicine Association to drive the delivery of future telehealth strategies to the home, which has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This partnership will further boost the company’s commitment to connecting care across acute, post-acute, and home settings. As the acute telehealth market matures, more M&A and collaborations are expected among high-acuity market participants trying to expand their offerings in all quadrants, primarily virtual care outside of the ICU setting.

Patient Flow: Customer Use Case: UCSF, US

As hospitals struggled to serve the incessantly rising (and also fluctuating) COVID-19 patient requirements, it brought to the forefront the acknowledged but unaddressed challenge of managing patient flow through hospitals. Philips’ Patient Flow Capacity Suite (PFCS) addresses this challenge by not only managing the flow of patients and predicting demand capacity at the enterprise level, but also by ensuring optimal use of existing resources, helping save operational costs resulting from buying or renting additional equipment, especially when existing equipment is not fully utilized, similar to other enterprises ‘command center’ approaches on the market claimed features for PFCS include the use of algorithms to predict patient’s health status 6–8 hours in advance (transition review score) to ensure it is safe to transfer them, and the readmission prediction score which helps identify patients at higher risk of readmissions. These appear to be incremental, but value-add innovations, over currently offered solutions on the market.

Perhaps the most important feature of the PFCS, for Philips, is that like all of its other health tech solutions, it is built on the HealthSuite Platform, allowing for a scalable, modular approach to implementation, connection across all care settings, and access to several other applications on the same platform. Philips claims to have invested heavily in clinical and operational analytics to support the operational needs of health systems, which offer insights at scale that are relevant to the workflow of the user. The University of California in San Francisco has been one of the pioneering health systems that helped co-create and implement the PFCS. This co-creation approach has helped solve pertinent challenges for health system clients; however, it does bring in the requirement to customize the solution for each health system—perhaps a longer deployment cycle and possibly a higher cost. Having a hybrid (virtual + onsite) command center capability must have turned out to be very useful during the pandemic, as some non-essential hospital staff members worked remotely.

Lung Cancer Orchestrator: Customer Use Case: Wellstar Health, US

Philips’ Oncology care pathways solutions include the Lung Cancer Orchestrator, designed for CT lung cancer screening programs, and for incidental pulmonary findings which are automatically detected and followed upon. An example cited during our conversation on the impact of this solution was of a health system that found 22 lung cancer patients, 80% of whom were in Stage 1 – enabling early detection and intervention. The lung cancer orchestrator is therefore being positioned as an invaluable solution that aspires to manage or screen large population sets. In Philips’ view, the solution can help build confidence in the patient population base, as the system will track, notify and advise all stakeholders of risks, the prognosis, and the next steps required to manage possible cancer care scenarios. The added integration of NLP capability that helps read from EMR will also add to the confidence of clinicians and patients alike. Eventually, the output from the Cancer Orchestrator modules feeds into Tumor Board solutions, thus providing the link to the Oncology Pathway solutions offered by Philips and other providers. Philips is now building analytics capabilities to further enhance the functionality of the Lung Cancer Orchestrator.

Though Philips has offered similar oncology programs (breast cancer, prostate cancer), migrating all such solutions to the HealthSuite Platform allows flexibility and scalability while also enabling remote updates using a SaaS model. These solutions can also interoperate with existing software used by hospitals, and offer smart connectivity features (e.g., not requiring the need to exit those applications to enter this solution, and vice versa). We believe that beyond the value of care orchestration solutions, these deployments will help health systems stay up-to-date with the latest upgrades, an approach that is likely to be a welcome change for customers.

Cardiology Pathways: Customer Use Case: Northwell Health, US

Acknowledging the growing importance of outside-hospital care settings Philips acquired BioTel Heart in February 2021 and created a new business division—the Ambulatory Monitoring and Diagnostics group, which now oversees efforts toward sleep, respiratory and cardiac monitoring, and other such outside-hospital care areas.

Philips offers a comprehensive cardiac RPM program to detect, diagnose and monitor patients. With the Biotel acquisition, it can also offer mobile cardiac outpatient telemetry support to detect atrial fibrillation. Philips plans to use the data to guide decision support through which patients can become candidates for electrophysiology ablation, to be conducted using Philips products. While all the data is currently available for clinicians, Philips is working to make the relevant data available for patient view as well, further enhancing patient experience, and empowering them to participate in making their own care decisions.

With its enhanced capabilities, Philips also aims to offer temporary monitoring of post-cardiac surgery patients to doctors. Ultimately, using artificial intelligence to reduce manpower requirements, and also clinician burden, while streamlining workflow will become an important feature of the Ambulatory Monitoring and Diagnostics Solutions group. The use of the HealthSuite Platform for these solutions will streamline operations and make them scalable.

Conclusion

Philips’ focus on three core issues – interoperability, scalability, and patient centricity – is admirable as a post-COVID-19 world will see a paradigm shift in care delivery. By building a cloud-based HealthSuite, Philips has strengthened its customer base and offered them a wide choice of innovative solutions on the same platform, thereby creating recurrent revenue streams.

Philips’ vision engages with existing and prospective customers and legislative/regulatory bodies to identify and address barriers to adoption. Philips’ approach to involving its many customers, right from integrated delivery networks to specialty care and clinical/therapeutic research organizations, aligns with its customer-centric vision.

We are closely watching these developments amidst the emergence of platformized, SaaS-based approaches in MedTech. How these platforms evolve to address new health system requirements and broad Mega Trends remains to be seen, but one thing is certain—the OEM-provider relationship has now been upended, and vanguards, including Philips, are leading the charge.

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About Chandni Mathur

Chandni Mathur is a Senior Industry Analyst with the Digital Health team at Frost & Sullivan and is based in Toronto, Canada. She is a seasoned healthcare strategist and consultant with over 13 years of experience across large, global consulting firms and in the healthcare provider space in India and in the UAE. In her current role, Chandni's work is centered on patient engagement, virtual care, and on technology applications in niche areas such as women’s health & mental health management. She focuses on understanding technologies and business models that are reshaping the very core of healthcare delivery services. She has done her Master’s in Business Administration and Bachelor's in Science (Honors) from the University of Delhi, India.

Chandni Mathur

Chandni Mathur is a Senior Industry Analyst with the Digital Health team at Frost & Sullivan and is based in Toronto, Canada. She is a seasoned healthcare strategist and consultant with over 13 years of experience across large, global consulting firms and in the healthcare provider space in India and in the UAE. In her current role, Chandni's work is centered on patient engagement, virtual care, and on technology applications in niche areas such as women’s health & mental health management. She focuses on understanding technologies and business models that are reshaping the very core of healthcare delivery services. She has done her Master’s in Business Administration and Bachelor's in Science (Honors) from the University of Delhi, India.

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