Data boost to nation’s health

Connected technologies key as patients and professionals look to a healthier future


Official predictions show that the health time bomb of chronic illness and lifestyle-related diseases threatens to bankrupt the NHS and consign 50 per cent of the UK population to obesity by 2050.* But a new study reveals how a fresh approach to managing our daily wellbeing can lead to a brighter future, where anything from activity and sleep patterns to complex conditions can be improved with the use of healthcare technology.

Increasing levels of health data – from smartphones, wearables and apps – is handing Britons the power to control and enhance their health, states the Philips Picture of Health report.

Although 80 per cent of the population understands the need to manage their health, a worrying 65 per cent take little or no involvement in making sure they stay healthy, says the report. Meanwhile, despite knowing the need exists for better patient education around prevention, healthcare professionals (HCPs) see a discrepancy between the time they should spend discussing it during appointments and the time they normally spend doing so.

However, there is good news on the horizon – one in 10 people say they track and manage their health with a connected device and, of these, 88 per cent say that doing so has helped them change habits, most often increasing their exercise, managing their weight and changing sleep habits. The positive impact of technology on health is corroborated by HCPs (75 per cent), who agree that linking up data creates better patient outcomes.

Philips, which has a century of expertise in health technology, is looking towards a new era in connected care for consumers, patients and HCPs as healthcare continues to move from the hospital into our homes and everyday lives. The company sees the personalisation of care as a key trend – this summer, it will launch its personal health programmes, including the Philips health watch, Philips upper arm blood pressure monitor and Philips HealthSuite Health app (pictured). The devices promise to bring greater connectivity between a patient and their doctor through a secure cloud-based platform that collects and analyses the patient’s vital data from the multiple sources.

Philips believes that synchronising data between patients and medical professionals can lead to both improved health and lowered costs, as consumers who engage in their health are more likely to prevent illness. As a leader in a wide cross section of products and solutions – ranging from toothbrushes to hospital monitors and MRI scanners – Philips understands a person’s health journey better than anyone. It invests its consumer and clinical insights into helping people live healthily, get rapid diagnosis and treatment, and manage chronic conditions at home.

“This is the era of connected care. For us, it is about connecting the data between an individual’s health-tracking app, his or her medical records, images, diagnostic and treatment information, reports and notes,” explains Neil Mesher, CEO for Philips UK & Ireland. “Thanks to our deep clinical know-how and rich data, consumer insights and advanced technology, we are in a unique position to craft solutions which help individuals along the whole of their health journey.”

The NHS has plans for all patients to have real-time access to their medical records by 2018. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt explains: “With shared access to the medical record, it becomes a shared endeavour and shared responsibility. So the world’s most powerful patients become the world’s healthiest patients as well.”**

That is something Philips feels very positive about. “Our report shows that, at times, the UK buries its head in the sand when it comes to the need for active health management but there’s a glimmer of hope,” adds Mesher. “We are on the threshold of a step change in how healthcare is monitored, diagnosed and delivered. Technology is already established across health but it needs connectivity to guarantee it benefits patients while being cost-effective.”

To discuss how Philips can help drive transformation in your service delivery, please contact emma.horrocks@philips.com. For information, visit philips.co.uk/healthcare