Behind the Philips Brand: Q&A with Paul Adams

As Senior Director of Product Management for Philips Home Monitoring, Paul Adams focuses on how seniors, their families, and their healthcare practitioners use technology to improve outcomes for the aging journey. The technology ranges from automatic fall detection in products seniors use in their own homes to predictive analytics healthcare organizations use to better care for their patients and beyond. He joined Philips in 2015 after working in the medical device and diagnostics industry for many years. His first career, as a registered nurse, informed his interest in aging and his philosophy of helping older people to live as well as possible.

“I’ve spent my career gaining insights, understanding intentions, and optimizing future states to change outcomes before they become catastrophic,” Adams says. “It’s an exciting time to be in this business, and Philips is a very nice place to land.”

Here, Adams shares his insights on the deep technology powering Philips Lifeline’s medical alert systems and how it can help to inform patient care.

What’s the most important thing seniors should know about aging?

You have a choice. We all have a choice. You have a choice to be mobile or to stop being mobile. By staying mobile, you stay upright longer, which means you stay healthier longer. You can choose to be active and socially engaged — you don’t have to get weaker or be afraid. Of course you can come into challenges, but you also can mitigate and manage them so you can have the life you want. If you’re upright and mobile, the curve of deterioration is shallower.

You can embrace life. It’s much more fun.

And medical alert systems, like Lifeline with automatic fall detection, can help with that?

Absolutely. I’ve cared for or sat next to the beds of 150 people who’ve died. A lot of them were elderly and in the hospital, usually because of chronic disease or a catastrophic event. Technology and services like Lifeline with AutoAlert improve that journey. They allow you to get help quickly for symptoms or falls, and they can provide important advice and coaching to stay healthier.

People can use AutoAlert to identify catastrophic events or stop themselves from entering one. Most AutoAlert calls aren’t just about falls. While the AutoAlert help button does provide automatic access to help if it detects a fall, people can push the button because of symptoms like a headache or numb hands, too.1

What does that mean for the people who use Lifeline?

Our medical alert devices are Class-2 medical devices, not toys. Our help button goes through rigorous testing and validation, and we investigate all the feedback we receive from users because we know people are counting on this device. They’re also counting on our experienced call center staff — that’s absolutely vital.

Tell us more about the call centers.

The call centers communicate to the caregivers who are responsible. What son or daughter wouldn’t want to know that their parent’s risk of going to hospital has gone up? We want to know, because we love them, because of the chaos a hospital visit can cause, and because we want our parent to live independently at home as long as they can.

There’s also a lot more going on “beyond the button.” The AutoAlert help button is the first step to collecting data and fine-tuning our products around core components to help seniors stay healthier and stable, especially for someone in a chronic disease state. We use call data to develop health analytics that help us understand more about the health and medical needs of seniors based on what happened or is about to happen when they use the alert. This data helps us improve the product. With more health analytics, we can broaden and deepen our ability to determine seniors’ risk of falls and better manage long-term chronic disease.

What's the most meaningful part of your work at Philips?

It’s meaningful to work for a company that takes its responsibility as a healthcare solution very seriously. It’s a business, of course, but there’s more to it. For instance, we’re working on areas where returns are minimal, but the impact is huge. We’re passionate about Parkinson’s disease, for example. It’s a small patient population, but it’s important to invest in it and challenge that disease and fight it. Not because it’s going to be a big moneymaker, but because it’s simply the right thing to do.

That’s important to me, personally. I want to be in a world where I have a health span with access to services and solutions and advice so my next 30 years are good.

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