Interviewer, Ron Piana,: Hello, this is Ron Piana, executive editor of the journal Oncology. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), an annual health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention and cure.
Supported by Philips Healthcare
Transcript of the Pam Benkert interview for Oncology.Interviewer, Ron Piana,: Hello, this is Ron Piana, executive editor of the journal Oncology. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), an annual health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention and cure. The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer as well as being a prime opportunity to remind women to be breast aware for earlier detection. In accordance with NBCAM, Oncology spoke with Pam Benkert, Vice President and General Manager of Philips Healthcare.
ONCOLOGY: Ms. Benkert, please tell our audience a little bit about Philips Healthcare.
PAM BENKERT: Philips Healthcare is a very large medical company that operates in four main business areas: diagnostic imaging systems, patient care and clinical informatics, customer services, and home healthcare. I work as part of the diagnostic imaging group, primarily centered on women’s healthcare products and solutions. I am currently focused on mammography solutions and breast cancer care. At Philips, we sell products such as ultrasounds, MRIs, and related sundries.
ONCOLOGY: Please briefly describe the Philip’s philosophy, in other words your approach to women’s health at Philips Healthcare.
MS. BENKERT: At Philips we really focus on the people as well as the technology, so we are looking at the totality of the care continuum. In particular, on my side of the business I focus on the time when screening occurs with women through their diagnostics, treatment, and follow-up. We look very closely at the people behind the medical condition, which includes the patients as well as their caregivers. And we pay close attention to the various settings where they provide care and, as they move through the cycle from screening through diagnostics and treatment, we will get the hand-off between those points. That’s important because it is during the hand-offs where you end up with different caregivers and communication between caregivers; we want to ensure that we minimize mistakes, ease communications, and therefore make diagnostics and treatment easier. So, we are focusing on a total solution with a combination of internal products, and then bringing products in from the outside, where we see fit to create that end-to-end solution.
ONCOLOGY: It sounds like a forward-looking business model. So, in a nutshell can you give our audience a peek in how Philips develops healthcare products?
MS. BENKERT: Certainly. Let’s take breast cancer care. We actually work with clinical sites, those sites that have our products and maybe other people’s products in place. We work with research sites. We have researchers that actually sit in hospitals to get to better know the physicians, the various work flow designs, the type of equipment, the use of the equipment, the information flow. We want to understand how the technology is used by physicians, by radiographers, by the administrative office. In doing so, we are able to better understand the physical workflow, the information workflow, and the clinical efficacy that is needed to ensure we have solutions that work for the physicians and best treat the patients.
We have many of these clinical sites around the world, as well as research sites, and that serves as the foundation of our market research. Certainly we build upon that knowledge; we refine it, look back at our own technologies and determine what we need to augment. Then we move ahead into the development process in a very structured project management basis.
ONCOLOGY: So, Philips works with customers around the world. How does that translate into the U.S. market in terms of care for American women?
MS. BENKERT: If you examine the various disease states, they all exist in people around the world, and there are key opinion-leaders across the world that we can partner with. Depending on the conditions, some geographic locations are even more advanced than we are in the United States. At Philips Healthcare, we tend to take input from a global basis and then refine it to the U.S. market, where it is needed. We try not to limit ourselves. We look at a single geography as an opportunity because the medical world and the need for high-value information is very close on a global basis.
ONCOLOGY: Patient-centered care is becoming one of the mantras in today’s ever changing healthcare environment. How does Philips fit into that emerging model of care in breast cancer?
MS. BENKERT: Patient-centered care is really the focus point that we have at Philips. For example, we’ve developed a solution called an Integral Breast Workspace. Think of it as an information and communication tool. It allows physicians to look at images from mammography machines, full-field digital mammogram, or an ultrasound, or an MRI, in a multidisciplinary approach. So the radiologists, the surgeons, can all be sharing the same information simultaneously, creating their reports and diagnostics in a way that to facilitates a complete clinical dialog, whether or not they are in the same setting.
I think a very classic example of where we’re looking at the entire setting for care-giving as a multidisciplinary approach; we need to be able to provide a solution that meets the marketplace in a very strong way. Our IntelliSpace breast product, which is our name for the Integral Breast Workspace, is really a communication aid and collaborative set of tools. It focuses on the total solution in diagnosing breast cancer.
ONCOLOGY: Thank you very much for sharing your insight with us today. Philips Healthcare is on the cutting edge of women’s health, and we appreciate all that you are doing and for sharing your time with us today.