Philips counting on medical systems sales

ROYAL Philips Electronics, one of the world’s biggest electronics companies, believes that medical systems will become its fastest growing market segment, said Jan P. Oosterveld, a member of the group’s management committee. 

In an interview last Friday, he said Philips’ medical systems division was likely to see annual growth of between 7% and 10% compared to just 2% to 3% for consumer electronics, its most visible segment. 

Philips, which started as a light bulb company in 1891 in the Netherlands, has grown to become the world’s number two medical systems supplier after GE of the United States. 

Medical systems sales in the second quarter of this year grew to 1,446 million euros compared to 1,329 million euros in the first quarter.  

Oosterveld, who has been credited for having played a major part in the development and invention of the video cassette recorder as well as the compact disc (CD), video compact disc (VCD), digital video (versatile) disc (DVD) and CDRW (CD recordable and rewritable) disc technologies, said as people became more affluent, their interest in healthcare usually increased. 

Philips had been investing heavily in advanced medical systems to bring improved benefits to consumers at cheaper costs, he said.  

Such investments, he said, would be ongoing to enable Philips to go to market today with a far broader portfolio of products in areas like diagnostics, medical IT and nuclear medicine compared to three years ago. 

“We will use our technology to make available cheaper healthcare in the world, especially in patient monitoring,” Oosterveld said. 

Likening hospitals to major data warehouses, he said if medical equipment could help medical specialists diagnose and make decisions quickly and more efficiently, they would go a long way towards helping the healthcare industry. 

Oosterveld also disclosed that Philips would be investing heavily in innovations for personal medical care products for very mobile people.  

Products being developed include a belt to be worn by high-risk people so that data via remote monitoring of their key body parts can be transmitted electronically to their doctors in any part of the world. 

This wireless technology would also be very important for medical specialists to find out why people had succumbed to their illnesses and what had occurred prior to their deaths, he said. 

Another innovation was in the area of resuscitation through the availability of a defribillator, a device that helped to counteract irregular contraction of the heart muscles, for use by the layman, he said. 

Oosterveld said such devices should be made readily available in hotels, offices, factories and shopping complexes.  

“There is a fantastic field of development out there which will keep us busy for the next 25 years easily,” he said. – Bernama  

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