The Future of Technology and Caregiving
Leeza Gibbons: I’m talking with Paul Adams who is the Head of Connected Health at Philips. And I’m so excited to hear what you have to say, because I know you’re the guy for product development.
There are so many products in the Philips family but the one that has touched my life most recently is the Philips Lifeline. My Dad really had his life saved by a GoSafe.
Philips really started the category of personal medical alert devices, and it’s constantly been innovating since. Let’s talk about how you’re evolving in this space.
Paul Adams: With our contact with seniors through our call centers and the intimacy that we have, we’ve gained an immense amount of knowledge and insights. And we’re able to take that information and apply it to the future now to develop algorithms that allow us to use that information, combined with information from our devices that our seniors wear, so that we can predict things before they happen and give better advice and guidance to the senior, to the caregiver, and to their clinician as well.
To give you an example, we will be able to look at a senior who may have a chronic disease in the future. And we’ll gain insights into perhaps if they’re not feeling so well and the way they’re walking is changing, the amount of activity they’re having is changing. And we take all that information and we’ll be able to give actual insights to the family and to the condition to say this person is going from one state to another state, to a more acute phase.
It will allow us to help the seniors stay in their home in a safe way with their family rather than end up in an emergency room or potentially in a hospital bed.
Leeza: The biggest challenge that we have is longevity. In a very short time, a quarter of our population will be over 65.
Paul: Part of my vision for this is a journey. I don’t think about somebody who’s 80 years old. I don’t think about somebody who’s 60 years old. I think about the journey. And so when I think about our product strategy, I think about how we’re going to play a role in that journey.
For 50 to 60 year olds, perhaps it’s information, education, guidance, coaching, and a variety of those. As you get a little bit older, maybe you have or maybe I’ll have hypertension or heart failure. Maybe I’m taking medications. I’ll want to monitor myself. I’ll want to be engaged, involved, and an activist in my own health. So I’ll take some tools and guidance from Philips to monitor these things carefully. Maybe I’ll have a device in the home to help me remind me to take my meds. I can barely remember taking my vitamins this morning, so as I get older, maybe I’m going to need to do that. As I get older, maybe I do become a bit frailer, maybe I do need some help. Maybe it would be good for me to know that my risk of failing is increasing so I can do something about it, my family can do something about it. And as I get older, again, it would be nice to know that there are solutions waiting for me and available to me to make sure that as long as I want to, as long as I’m able to, I can take care of myself and stay in my home.
Leeza: Philips has a sterling reputation — it’s known for its innovation. When you’re carrying that kind of label with you, what’s that mean for you in terms of partnerships that you’re bringing in and also the competition and pressure to continue to be ahead?
Paul: We’ve been in the business now for 40 years. We developed the first wearable in the market in many ways, and we built on that legacy to bring the products into this century, and we are thinking about the future always.
We have to partner with healthcare systems. We have to partner with the families — it is incredibly important. But we also have to make sure that we bring the right technologies and solutions to the senior and their family to make sure that we have this right ecosphere around them to support them and guide them as they grow older.
For us, it’s been a great and exciting time in terms of this conjunction of technology, this perfect storm if you will, where we’re now able to do things we couldn’t do three years ago. We’re able to take devices, make them smaller, make them lighter, make them smarter. We can gather better information. We can combine that information with other devices, whether it’s a device that can detect and predict your falling in the future, whether it’s a device in the home to help you take your medications, or whether it’s other technologies to monitor vital signs if you have a long-term chronic illness. We’re at the stage now where we can take all that information, aggregate it, combine it, and put out useful and informative insights back to the senior who’s responsible for their health and at the core of this, to their family that surrounds them, and to their clinicians to make sure everybody has the right information at the right time to make sure that the senior can stay in their home as long as they want to stay in their home.
That’s really, really exciting.