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Philips Chief Medical Officer calls for reformation and reaffirmation to drive health care


Advocates for innovation through compassion and renewed commitment to patients

Washington, D.C., U.S.A. – Addressing key national health care experts today at the “State of the Union for Health Care” Conference, Eric Silfen M.D., chief medical officer of Philips Healthcare, called for reform both within the U.S. health care industry and abroad, and a reaffirmation of a commitment to patients. With a focus on ensuring high-quality, accessible care and a renewed commitment to patients, the key to change is through meaningful innovation which encompasses both technology and health care delivery, Silfen noted.

“We’re living in uncertain times. While the economic downturn remains first and foremost, as a physician, I believe that our health care system should provide peace of mind for all Americans,” Silfen said. “I rightly believe that people have an expectation that if in need, they will receive the quality care they require. There is much work ahead of us as clinicians, product and service suppliers, health policymakers and public opinion leaders to fundamentally strengthen our health care system and make it sustainable.”

Silfen suggested four key elements that should be considered in the plans of the Obama Administration as it prepares to tackle the daunting, but achievable, challenge of health care reform:
* Health care must move away from a facility-centric approach to one that provides care wherever patients prefer it. Innovation enables the treatment of more patients in the physician’s office or the patient’s home, which helps to lower costs, while providing care in a place of comfort and convenience.
* The health care system must move away from paying doctors and hospitals for services and interventions, and, instead, move towards a payment system that reflects the overall manner in which patient care is delivered today. By shifting payment towards those services needed to get a patient healthy, care providers have the incentive to work together, use diagnostic and treatment tools in a cost-effective fashion, and focus on the one measure of quality that matters most: Did the patient get better?
* It is the relationship with the patient that will drive the best clinical outcomes. Physicians and nurses must remain at the center of the delivery system and reform must assure they have the authority and ability to leverage their extensive training. At times, the number and variety of health care providers that augment the relationship will need to expand. Continued technological advancements that equip clinicians with real-time information and guidelines, coupled with a deepening understanding of medicine, should enable health systems to better deploy the skills of physician assistants, nurse practitioners, community health workers and other highly-trained care providers.
* Health care should recognize and support innovation that emanates from a robust biomedical research and development infrastructure. Patients need novel screening, diagnosis, therapeutic and monitoring systems that are preventative, life-saving, or life-enhancing. Continued support for basic biomedical research is vital to meet these demands, and the public and private sector have an obligation to resist the temptation to cut R&D investment.

Reform should provide specific incentives for innovation that disrupts the old ways of doing things, innovation that creates new opportunities for patients to care for themselves, and innovation that enables physicians and nurses to help deliver the right care at the right time in the right setting using the right information, Silfen concluded.

Eric Silfen’s speech will be available here from 5 PM (CET).

Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) is a diversified Health and Well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through timely innovations. As a world leader in healthcare, lifestyle and lighting, Philips integrates technologies and design into people-centric solutions, based on fundamental customer insights and the brand promise of “sense and simplicity”. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips employs approximately 121,000 employees in more than 60 countries worldwide. With sales of EUR 26 billion in 2008, the company is a market leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as lifestyle products for personal well-being and pleasure with strong leadership positions in flat TV, male shaving and grooming, portable entertainment and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at


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