, Philips Team Up on Health Care Cloud Platform

With a cloud platform and, for now, telehealth monitoring and patient-facing apps, and Philips hope to transform health care.

Philips and Philips are, together, out to transform the health care industry, they announced June 26. Combining Philip's expertise in medical technology and clinical applications and informatics with's know-how in enterprise cloud computing and customer engagement, the pair have created a cloud-based health care platform and two clinical applications, Philips eCareCoordinator and eCareCompanion.

Both applications are in the final stages of compliance testing and are expected to come to market in the United States this summer.

"We gave ourselves a big challenge," Jeroen Tas, CEO of Philips Healthcare Information Services, said during a telecast presentation in Amsterdam Thursday morning.

"We said, how can we make an 80-year-old person, with multiple chronic diseases, actually start using this technology? How can we have a nurse, in a telehealth center, actually managing hundreds of patients at the same time and, in real time, deal with issues? How can we have a general practitioner, a health coach, a hospital, a family—how can we engage [all of them] in the care of these patients? This is what we're talking about."

He continued, "It's really taking up the challenge to create better patient outcomes, specifically for people with chronic conditions, and it's doing it at way, way, way lower costs than the current system allows, where we keep people in hospitals and then send them home and are unable to track [their health]."

eCareCompanion is a patient-facing app for tablets that engages patients, reminding them to take their medicine, asking them to fill out highly personal—but very simply formatted—surveys about how they're feeling, and recording information such as their weight. A scale could be among multiple devices that could connect to the tablet and inform the patient's health profile.

The eCareCoordinator enables a health care worker to monitor thousands of patients in real time. Should that person see unusual information, she can easily share the information to consult with colleagues, as well as share the information with, in the case of an older patient, the patient's grown children, if they've been authorized to see such information.

Similar telehealth-based care models have already been shown to reduce mortality by 26 percent and the length of hospital stays by 20 percent, according to a large, multi-center study, said Philips.

The envisioned health care platform, the company added, will enable collaboration, workflow and integrate data from multiple worldwide sources, including electronic medical records, diagnostic and treatment information from Philips' imaging equipment, home monitoring equipment, and personal devices and technologies such as Apple's HealthKit.

"The platform will allow for analysis that will enhance decision-making by professionals and engage patients," Philips said in a statement.

There are also plans to keep growing.

"We're not just shipping two applications … we're going to continue to deliver additional platform services," Clarence So, executive vice president of mobile strategy at, said at the presentation. "We're going to combine our platform services and expose them, through APIs and toolkits, so that not just a few Philips engineers can build apps but additional Philips business units and our respected partner ecosystems can ... build great apps to connect patients, providers and devices."

The companies added that the new platform has the potential to "transform both professional health care delivery and continuous personal health management."

Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.