The Netherlands is generally regarded as a technically advanced country, but when it comes to the use of digital health technology it lags behind other countries. This is shown by Philips’ annual ‘Future Health Index‘ survey. This is particularly painful, because a simultaneously published study by Kyocera shows that the Netherlands is at the forefront in Europe when it comes to digitization.

According to the Business Digitalisation in Europe Outlook 2019, the Netherlands leads in both digital documentation and automation of tasks. The Future Health Index states, however, that there is still little evidence of this in the healthcare sector. For example, the Dutch make less use of mobile apps and activity trackers to count steps and calories or measure blood pressure. Moreover, 37% of the respondents indicate that there is nothing that makes it more likely that they will use these tools in the future. While the insights from these health indicators may well be of importance for the promotion of a healthier lifestyle.

‘Future Health Index’ © Philips
‘Future Health Index’ © Philips

A threshold for the application of these insights could be that a majority of Dutch people (68%) find it difficult or very difficult to estimate the reliability of the information. “The collected insights are therefore only shared to a limited extent with the general practitioner or the attending physician”, the researchers conclude. “As a result, these insights are not yet fully exploited. According to the researchers, this is indicative of the way in which the application of digital technology in healthcare is viewed in the Netherlands.

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    According to Henk Valk, CEO of Philips Benelux, technological innovation in healthcare is not optional but necessary: “Together we face the challenge of keeping healthcare affordable and accessible for everyone. Digital care technology and an open dialogue between patient and physician based on the resulting insights are important in this respect”.

    ‘Future Health Index’ © Philips
    ‘Future Health Index’ © Philips

    The researchers of the ‘Future Health Index’ indicate that the need for change in the Netherlands is felt to be less urgent because Dutch people are healthier and happier in comparison with other countries. Nevertheless, Henk Valk of Philips stresses the importance of innovation for healthcare. “Increasing the rate of adoption of digital health technology plays an important role in making the Dutch healthcare system future-proof. As an industry, it is up to us to support this with the partnerships, new business models, and change management needed to enable the digital transformation of healthcare.”

    ‘Future Health Index’ © Philips
    ‘Future Health Index’ © Philips

    The fourth Philips Future Health Index is based on a survey involving 15,114 people (1,006 in the Netherlands) and more than 3,194 health professionals (203 in the Netherlands) in 15 countries. The study compares healthcare systems across countries and examines the impact of digital health technology on the patient’s experience with, and that of, healthcare professionals. The Kyocera survey was conducted among 1,750 respondents in seven countries: The Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, Spain, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

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