Transforming healthcare through exceptional partnerships

Alberto Prado, Head of Philips HealthWorks, wrote this blog on Transforming healthcare through exceptional partnerships:


“Here at Philips, we view healthcare very differently to most. You may be forgiven in thinking that healthcare starts at the point you become unwell and that care delivery can only happen in a hospital. But healthcare is evolving, moving into our homes and daily lives, with preventative and chronic care services increasingly being provided outside of the hospital. At the same time, people – supported by mobile devices, wearable monitors and other technologies – are looking for new ways to stay healthy, live well, and care for their loved ones at home.

With our long heritage of delivering innovative high-quality consumer products, Philips is a trusted presence in homes all over the world. Our innovative propositions that promote healthy living and enable people to manage their health at home are central to our vision of making the world healthier and more sustainable. Through innovation, often in close collaboration with partners and startups, we are paving the way for a new and transformative type of healthcare. One that creates ways for people to be more engaged with their personal health, helping to prevent illnesses; enabling a seamless flow of data so patients no longer have to keep answering the same questions; giving clinicians the tools they need to make the right diagnosis first time and deliver personalized treatment; supporting the patient’s recovery when they return home.

You may be asking yourself why we aren’t seeing many startup-driven innovations (yet) in our homes and in our hospitals, if such progress is being made. The simple reason is that startups, especially in the healthcare industry, face huge challenges in making their visions a reality. There are a number of reasons why this might be; the stakeholders and their relationships are complex, they have to deal with complicated regulation, there is a lack of understanding of different healthcare systems needed to scale up, or the difficulty to get access to healthcare data to drive analytics-based solutions. Startups can greatly benefit from guidance through the often complex and heavily regulated world of healthcare. What they may lack in market access and knowledge, they make up for in a hunger to drive innovative solutions that create tangible benefits.

At Philips, we have set out to improve the lives of 3 billion people each year by 2025. But we know we cannot do this alone. In an industry that is becoming as fast-moving as ours and where the challenges can be overwhelming for anyone single company, we cannot innovate in isolation. Tackling some of the biggest and most complex challenges facing healthcare today requires dynamic partnerships between healthcare providers, startups, universities (especially university hospitals) and other companies. Through our work with Philips HealthWorks, we’re doing just that; building strong collaborations with early-stage startups and ecosystem partners to bring breakthrough, meaningful innovations to life. We aim to work with the brightest and best innovators in health technology to develop some of the most exciting solutions in healthcare today. You can think of us as a front door for early-stage companies to collaborate with our global company.

We offer a 3-month cohort-based Startup Program (for carefully selected startups) that operates out our 5 hubs around the world. This is a unique and intensive program where we provide tailored support in areas related to quality & regulatory, healthcare economics, business model innovation, access to customers, and many more areas of expertise – all of it delivered by our internal coaches and domain experts. After this initial acceleration program, we align with the different teams on possible partnership models going forward, which may also include an investment element. In other words, we provide startups with the essentials they need from an early stage to succeed in the healthcare industry, removing the complexity and ambiguity around regulation – empowering them to make their business a commercial success.

You might ask yourself how Philips HealthWorks is different from other corporate accelerators. For starters, more than a century of innovation has given us great customer and clinical insights and know-how, advanced technology and world-class design capabilities. We have great access in hospitals, among retailers and in the home. And our digital analytics and clinical decision support expertise allow us to be a trusted solutions partner. By providing access to knowledgeable domain experts and infrastructure, access to our market ecosystem and access to capital we are able to provide unique value to healthcare entrepreneurs.

With the rise in aging populations and the disparity between those who have regular and easy access to healthcare and those who don’t, healthcare systems are running at full capacity and often heading towards breaking point. Now, more than ever, innovative solutions and business models that leverage state-of-the-art technologies are key to progressing healthcare systems at the rate needed to respond to current pressures. I personally believe that it is through smart collaborations between industry leaders and forward thinking, agile startups, that we will see some of the biggest and most important healthtech innovations of the 21st century – as exceptional a partnership as this may sound.

I invite all entrepreneurs to join my keynote speech at StartupFest – September 26, Tivoli Utrecht – where I will be talking about the challenges of being a healthtech entrepreneur and how corporates can help to overcome these challenges. We will also host a booth together with some of the startups in our current Eindhoven Startup Program and experts from the HealthWorks team. If you are interested in tackling some of the biggest and most complex challenges facing healthcare today, come and visit our booth or”