Read the Conversation

EF: What have you accomplished in 2019 and what are you expecting for 2020?

CC: Philips has since a few years back become very focused on the development of new business models, focused on how to improve access to care through implementing new technologies for our customers both in private and public sectors. With that in mind last year we were able to make some progress in these areas, finalising two important projects for the evolution of healthcare, one around digital pathology with the use of data and how to make the business model more sustainable as it depends on the data and on the knowledge of the pathologies generated along the process. We developed our solution in 2018 and it has been up and running since last year in the Hospital Infantil of Mexico City. Our second project is also based on digital pathology and is an automated medical facility, a virtual space with a fantastic design which we plan to open in May in partnership with one of our distributors and with pathologists who will manage the operating model. We receive the different scans from customers using our platform and through the devices and algorithms determine the perfect diagnosis for each specific patient.  

EF: How will it work in practice? 

CC: The patient goes to any diagnostic center to take the test, the information goes to our center where we check all the indicators and we provide an accurate diagnosis on the patient’s illness. This data will also allow us to measure the feedback on the technological pathological business. Pathology is one of the segments where technology hasn’t been available, the tests have been done without the support of technology or informatics providing pathology based on the same standards that are a century old and we are changing the whole business model. This is a breakthrough -a before and after- as other centers are working with old models based on their knowledge and not using tools to support that knowledge and to check its accuracy. It's a perfect moment to check if pathologists are willing to work with us using the technology. 

EF: Is it difficult to change the mindset?

CC: Very difficult because the culture and customs are challenged, it is a big step we are taking and it is the reason we are doing it through a joint venture with a distributor to sell our platform to pathologists – our platform is the representation of a concept that can be used. 

EF: You are embracing this from the physician’s point of view I think?

CC: At the end of the day we want to achieve access to healthcare and to do this we need to implement innovation in the business models. All the changes we provide in healthcare are through innovation. When entering a space it is natural to disrupt the system and it is logical and inevitable to find a certain amount of resistance as people are afraid and mistrust change in general but we must persevere. 

EF: It generally takes a year to see a new government’s real priorities, so in terms of projects you are developing in the public space how has this resistance or acceptance to change evolved?

CC: We still have a way to go in that area because the new administration is more focused on other segments. In terms of healthcare, they intend to provide a better access at a better cost and with that in mind, the private sector is taking advantage of the disruption in the market to increase its presence there. The private sector is investing much more than the government as they are aware that the government is not able to invest in providing health services. The private sector is looking at certain specialty areas, mainly oncology and cardiology to build an improved structure and so provide services the government is not at the moment able to do as access to care at lower cost is creating a further fragmentation of the system. 

EF: Is there a way to convince authorities of the importance of machine learning, data, AI, etc., which even though means investment will in the long term lower costs for them? 

CC: I think there is a way to manage it, but it will depend on the regulations which is why we are investing a lot of time working with the government, not on technology but on trying to set the new standards based on new technology, informatics, data analysis and putting data into action as all these elements aren’t included in any of the policies in place in Mexico. We are directing a lot of effort toward convincing the government of the necessity of technology and standards to create a better environment of collaboration sharing new models combining knowledge technology and expertise to provide a better environment for a better access to care.

EF: Philips has developed some success stories in Mexico, can this be translated and implemented in other markets and can the Philips model be exported?

CC: Our technology and Health Continuum model has a holistic view combing all the steps of the healthcare cycle from prevention to home care (its 2 pillars) and informatics is the perfect vehicle and the perfect enabler to put in practice the Health Continuum model. What we are doing in pathology here and in other countries in different ecosystems are all models that are easy to export. 

EF: In terms of numbers, where do you want to position Mexico for the Latin American region? And how would you like this market to become a success story for the larger corporation?

CC: Mexico is the second country or second cluster in Latin America after Brazil. The importance of Mexico lies in its proximity to United States; we have a big border zone and areas for medical tourism that are ever increasing. We are investing in an informatics hospital platform in Celaya (MAC Hospitals), at the moment there are 6 hospitals and expanding into an additional three in San Miguel de Allende and Ensenada (Mexicali). Given the diverse population living in these areas, they are aware of the momentum this technology is creating with all its possibilities of going from country to country or continent to continent to receive healthcare services and this will become a more common occurrence. 

EF: After three years in your position what is at the top of your agenda, what would you like to accomplish? 

CC: One of the imperatives our headquarters demand from my role is to accelerate the evolution of the healthcare system in Mexico. This means developing partnerships, working with the authorities, working with other leaders to help transform health institutions, and setting new standards, for example the oncology centers we are setting up in Cancun and other locations like Guadalajara. Secondly, Mexico has a specific momentum and it is not just about the new authorities but about the population that are looking for a better positioning and more benefits to take care of themselves and we want to empower the patients so they can make decisions based on their own data and based on their own habits and routines. In Mexico at this moment, innovation and expansion is possible as is growth acceleration. In these last two years, we have achieved financial results which is always important as we need to be sustainable, and we have managed this through efficiencies and through our business models of innovation not to mention our core business which is selling machines and stand-alone solutions -all part of our regular business. With innovation and the acquisition of key informatics companies that deal in informatics platforms we are creating a new momentum for our customers. Philips is seen as a company with an end to end portfolio from an informatics point of view. We are the only company that can provide data forms for processes, data analysis and the tracking of the patient in their healthcare journey. We have a very wide spectrum -which nobody else offers- there are many other players but none with our full portfolio. Over the next ten years there will be an explosion in data and informatics around healthcare which will be very exciting for Philips and it makes for the perfect time to innovate on new collaborations. I am in contact with universities, with the government, with other company leaders and competitors to develop new standards, new collaborative models where we can provide our technology and expertise to be combined with the knowledge of others for us all to participate. We also provide solutions around hospital informatics to improve hospital management based on productivity, new indicators, changing processes and teaching hospital employees about the new technologies. So far we have 5/6 hospitals up and running with our EMR solution. Strictly speaking it is not only EMR as it’s only one of the models that our system has based on hospital informatics, pharma procedures, patient monitoring, nurses logistics, etc., all which generate behaviour. Nowadays there is a lot of data in the hospital but the information is not organised so we need to develop the analysis of the data but we know that the information generated by the hospital will be based on specific pillars which can later on be developed into operation programs or operation health management to achieve a full integration of the hospital ecosystem. 

EF: In your unique position covering the entire value chain as a health influencer what would like to achieve? 

CC: One of the goals I have in mind, and it is a challenge, is to get the best out of the people at Philips, in the last three years we increased the total of our employees 25%, most of which are young, eager and fresh in ideas so it is a challenge to organise my team to adapt and work around the changes in the Mexican market. Creativity does not only exist in the commercial areas but in how we operate and transform Philips into a think tank company getting the best from our people. 

EF: Yours is an innovative company but even so considered old school in comparison to competition like Google, Amazon and tech companies so how difficult is it to find new talent for Philips?

CC: Yes it is very difficult, as well as easy for those companies to poach talent from us. To counteract this we make sure that our goal as a company is well received. The Philips goal must be identified and that its purpose matches our vision but even so it is not easy to find the talent we want. 

EF: The triple bottom line (people profit and planet) is usually something healthcare companies manage very well, what would be you advise to other companies on managing a triple bottom line?

CC: Something we did in the past and works quite well is to set an ambition of where we want to be in the next decade and based on that have a development plan in terms of people’s development skills, new capabilities and capacities set on a long term goal. I recently invited everybody to go back to school, including myself, because the new decade demands a new generation and we must keep in mind that it isn’t the ´old school´ that will survive. We have to study, learn and take advantage of the new minds that come to us because sooner later they will take over. My speech was about the new decade, the potential we can offer the industry and how Philips can capture or transform the momentum into opportunities around each individual doing something different as well as the necessity of new knowledge. Young people like to learn from experience, based on tests and not necessarily being reflective, and I think we can maybe combine both. My message was to think about the changes we want to make in a 10 year scenario.

EF: Any final message you would like to share? 

CC: The transformation Philips is doing is not only about transformation but about creating a sustainable ecosystem where we can transform the way to provide healthcare. 

March 2020