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EF: What opportunities and priorities does Philips have for strategic growth in Brazil?
PF: As a nation, we are experiencing a new momentum that places a heightened focus on health. The digitalization era demands a transformation in healthcare, particularly the need for improved access, patient-specific solutions, efficient diagnostics, and an overall efficient healthcare system. The establishment of a digital hub within the healthcare ministry shows a notable focus on digitalization and transformation. With both the public and private sectors having access to data, healthcare management has become more effective. As a result, our role as a digital health tech company is to aid our public and private sector partners in achieving digitization and data consolidation to extract value from the available information.
While COVID-19 was a challenge until 2022, telehealth is a silver lining we continue to uphold. Telehealth benefits urban areas and remote regions, ensuring access to quality healthcare.
With the support of Philips innovations, such as the ultra-portable ultrasound Lumify, the Philips Foundation, in partnership with SAS Brasil, a social startup and third-sector health institution, has already aided more than 60,000 people, providing obstetric care and tele-ultrasonography exams in addition to cardiac care. Our company's significance in the sector is apparent through the interconnectivity of public and private sectors, hardware devices, and software within the ecosystem.
EF: Can you elaborate on how you are taking transformation initiatives forward and their impact on the Brazilian industry?
PF: As the healthcare market undergoes a significant transformation, it is vital for us, as a company, to remain close to our customers to understand their needs. The global population is growing and aging, increasing non-communicable diseases. As resources remain limited, we must find ways to enhance access to treatment without increasing healthcare costs. Our partnership with customers enables us to develop solutions that prepare them for this transformation, such as Philips Tasy, our Electronic Medical Record system recognized for the second consecutive year in Latin America as Best in KLAS for Acute Care by KLAS Research, and the first and the only EMR currently regularized before ANVISA, as a medical device. This, of course, brings even more security to our customers and patients.
Electronic records are essential for quality access and healthcare delivery. With the help of artificial intelligence, physicians can determine the most effective approach to treating patients, which is both cost-effective and time efficient. Moreover, algorithms can be used to identify illness patterns. Our company provides products that enable the management of these algorithms. We are giving our customers the tools they need to meet the challenges of the evolving healthcare market.
EF: How does Philips use health data and electronic patient records to drive innovation?
PF: Managing healthcare information in a structured way is crucial for ensuring the well-being of the growing population and effectively addressing diseases. Consolidating data and treatment options is essential, especially for public sectors managing small cities in states with limited data. Adopting technology in healthcare is an indispensable aspect of modern life.
By intelligently integrating data, healthcare providers will build a more holistic understanding of a patient’s health and condition. This will enable more precise and personalized care, with treatment tailored to the needs and characteristics of the individual patient. In addition, prevention will become a key focus for healthcare leaders as they seek to manage the health of their populations more proactively and sustainably. At Philips, we are helping healthcare providers unlock data from different systems and devices to make it available at the point of care in an integrated and meaningful way – providing actionable insights at scale, when and where they are needed.
Although privacy legislation in Brazil is relatively new and the healthcare sector still has much to learn, leveraging anonymized data offers more benefits than losses. Hospitals and physicians should consider using anonymized data while complying with privacy rules.
It is important to highlight that Philip is committed to proactively addressing security and privacy concerns and ensuring that data is used beneficially for customers, patients, and society as a whole. We have captured these commitments in our Philips Data Principles. We take an end-to-end ‘Security Designed’ mindset that puts security considerations in front and center from product design and development to testing and deployment. We handle all personal data with integrity, in compliance with all applicable privacy regulations of the countries in which we operate.
EF: Could you provide insight into Philips' supply chain reinstatement strategy in Brazil and the impact on the value of your production plants?
PF: Our Varginha-based equipment plant has been receiving visits from our global team, reflecting the current trend of consolidating production to enhance productivity and reduce costs. However, Brazil has a significant opportunity to contribute to the industry sector and become an exporter of technology rather than just raw materials. Our company is already exporting Philips Tasy, a national product, to LATAM, with plans to expand further. With the current exchange rate and community, Brazil has the potential to be a vital hub for producing products for Latin America. While tax reforms remain a challenge, it also presents an opportunity to simplify the tax system and reduce costs associated with tax compliance. By doing so, Brazil can attract more companies to expand their production. Complexity reduction would minimize costs and reduce the need for large departments to work on tax compliance and litigation. It is a critical time for Brazil to seize the moment and put itself back on the map for production.
EF: What are the three essential pillars for building a sustainable market in Brazil?
PF: Firstly, the government must address the tax legislation's complexity to encourage foreign investment and avoid revenue loss. Secondly, payroll costs should be carefully balanced to benefit employers and employees. Hiring more staff creates a positive outcome for the country. Lastly, investing in human capital is essential. Private companies can work with the government to provide language training and development opportunities, ensuring the workforce is competitive and prepared to compete globally. As a result, prioritizing these three factors will enable companies to support their employees and contribute to the overall development of Brazil.
EF: In terms of future-proofing your workforce, how can you effectively instill the values of a purpose-driven organization amongst your employees?
PF: The future of healthcare relies on cultivating essential skill sets, such as curiosity, agility, and risk management, in health professionals. Curiosity drives personal development and allows individuals to adapt to rapidly changing industries. Fields like engineering or software development constantly evolve, and predicting their long-term trajectory is challenging. However, if one is curious, one can reskill themselves as required.
With the pandemic's disruption, we have seen how the market can change dramatically within a year. People must stay agile and aware of the latest industrial policies to navigate the market effectively.
Furthermore, knowing how to operate technology is a vital foundation.
Throughout Philips' 130-year history, we have experienced numerous transformations, including producing lamps, audio and video equipment, electronic devices, and TVs. Innovation is part of our business model, and with it comes the improvement of our expertise, which is also an integral part of our culture. To that end, we offer our employees programs to stay updated on the latest industry developments. Additionally, I always reinforce with the leadership team the importance of being at the employees’ site to help them to outline a career plan for opportunities and development.
Having a purpose makes all the difference, and we are driven by the mission to improve the lives of 2.5 billion people per year by 2030. To that end, we work daily to develop new technologies that positively impact populations’ health.
EF: Could you elaborate on some of the sustainability initiatives that the company has for Brazil, specifically for the next couple of years?
PF: Sustainability is a broad concept encompassing many different elements. To achieve sustainable success as a country, it is essential to prioritize diversity and inclusion. Despite progress, there remains a disparity between the demographic makeup of our company and that of the general population. Therefore, we must look outside our organization to identify and attract the most talented individuals from all walks of life.
We invest in a diverse talent pool to ensure our business’s long-term strength and adaptability. To further this objective, we have partnered with the government to develop training programs to prepare individuals for roles in our company. We are committed to providing support and opportunities for growth, including language classes for our interns and programs for those over 55.
In 2022, Philips restated globally its commitment to having 35% of senior management positions held by women by the end of 2025. For Latin America, this is an important and special goal. I am the first woman in the Country Manager position in Brazil, and I have a clear aim: not to be the last one and to leverage the presence of women in leadership positions in the country, especially in a market where men are the vast majority.
Together with our CEO for LATAM, Fabia Tetteroo-Bueno, who is also the first woman to hold this position in the region, we are developing programs and initiatives to change this scenario, both with women and all other unseen groups. Ultimately, sustainability is balancing the old and the new, the experienced and the fresh-faced. We can innovate and grow as a company by bringing together diverse perspectives and ideas. We are committed to supporting and nurturing all team members, regardless of age or background. By doing so, we can build a stronger and more resilient organization, one that is capable of withstanding the challenges of the future.
Philips recognizes that diversity is not just about having a range of skills and experiences but also about having a variety of mindsets, including generational mindsets. We believe a diverse workforce and an inclusive work environment are essential to an innovative, thriving, purpose-driven company. Diversity becomes a critical factor in sustainability because it starts with the people we work with and their varied abilities. As a company whose products aim to improve people's quality of life, Philips is involved in the entire journey of a person, from prevention to diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, more is needed to focus on health outcomes alone but also on helping people find meaningful employment opportunities.
By saving lives and creating job opportunities, Philips contributes to how and why people live longer and more fulfilling lives. This approach emphasizes the interdependence between individual and societal well-being and underscores the importance of holistic solutions for sustainable development. In conclusion, Philips' commitment to diversity and inclusion is imperative in achieving sustainability for all.
EF: Are there any upcoming or anticipated innovations or initiatives for Philips that you are excited about for this year?
PF: Philips is committed to innovation, particularly in the realm of data. We have exciting new advancements underway, which will further enhance the quality and accessibility of healthcare. We are introducing innovation to our image management system, Vue PACS, a noteworthy addition to our product line. This new system will feature a marketplace for AI algorithms, enabling physicians to extract valuable information from images and improve treatments. This development reinforces our message that we need a connected system to achieve impactful results rather than relying solely on our own.
Digital transformation will depend on platform and ecosystem partnerships that bring together the strengths of established technology players. With that in mind, we have just launched our application programming interface (API), supported by industry standards for exchanging data. Integrating Philips Tasy health ecosystem with partners will form the foundation of shared digital infrastructures that make it easier to aggregate patient information across settings and turn it into meaningful insights at the point of care. This will allow us to offer our customers richer and more complete solutions, providing more assertiveness and optimizing and improving patient care.
EF: Can you highlight some of your notable achievements at Philips that you take pride in as a manager and would like to celebrate with your team?
PF: Despite facing challenging times, we stand together with a strong sense of unity and a shared vision for the future of Philips. Our commitment to improving people's lives and advancing healthcare remains a source of pride for our team, who believe deeply in our message and our ability to make a positive impact. Healthcare is the foundation for progress in other fields, such as education and economics, making it an essential priority. We want to contribute to the greater good by promoting health and well-being. By working together and supporting each other, we can achieve our goals and make a meaningful difference.