China is facing a surge in chronic diseases brought on by an aging population. To help China cope with this challenge, health tech company Philips is deploying its health care solutions in areas such as cancers and respiratory illnesses, with heart diseases as a key focus area.
Chronic diseases are causing 85 per cent of deaths in China, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission. Prevention and control of chronic diseases are part of China's major healthcare reform task leading up to 2020. Health tech company Philips is hoping to seize the business opportunities associated with these challenges.
The health tech company has identified cardiology as one of its key health spaces. According to 2015 China Report on Cardiovascular Diseases, CVDs caused 44.60% of deaths in rural areas and 42.51% in cities. Currently, with 290 million CVD patients, China has the largest number of CVD patients in the world. Two out of every five deaths are caused by CVDs.
Two major opportunities
“Based on the current trends in Chinese health care – one them being the aging population – we see two major opportunities for Philips to address”, says Andy Ho, CEO of Philips Greater China. “The first is industrialization of care: we think that standardizing and optimizing the building blocks of healthcare will enable health systems to deliver better outcomes at a lower cost. The second opportunity is personalization of care, with convergence of professional healthcare and consumer health, enabled by data and digitization, leading to increasing self-management and individualized treatment paths.”
For treatment and diagnosis of CVD’s, Philips offers a range of solutions to support healthy living and prevention as well as diagnosis and treatment, like ECG, ultrasound, CT, MR, X-ray, PET/CT and DSA systems.
Particularly interesting for the Chinese situation, where children are used to provide care for their parents at home, are Philips’ solutions that connect hospitals with homes, helping doctors remotely advise and monitor the vital signs of patients and high-risk groups. These solutions help patients suffering from chronic diseases like CVDs transition from hospitals to homes and enables early warning and elderly patients to live independently and at home.
Wearable and mobile devices
To support this type of care, Philips has introduced a series of wearable and mobile devices that connect hospitals with homes, such as ECG monitor, handheld blood test device Minicare, personal health management solutions (Health Watch), Lifeline and etc. To monitor patients’ situation at home, Philips Research China is developing a post-acute management system, a basic tool intended to help health systems manage chronic disease patients. The system has two interfaces respectively for healthcare workers and patients, which allow for real-time communication between the two sides. It enables doctors to more efficiently manage patients and allows patients to access health services anytime and anywhere. The system mainly includes three modules—discharge, home management and follow-up, which covers the major areas of post-acute management such as medication alert, lifestyle, recovery planning and tracking and evaluation of major vital signs.
Several years ago, Philips Research China also developed a stroke rehabilitation system. The system connects patients with community hospitals, which in turn can be updated on patients’ conditions and accordingly adjust their rehabilitation plans. Currently, this system has been incorporated into the post-acute management system for CVD patients. Andy Ho: “Prevention of chronic diseases should be top priority in China. Control is the next step. We are ready for action, with our technology and our solutions.”
Image by Philips China