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Wanted: Tesla for Dutch healthcare

Dutch carers are of the highest level. Nevertheless, there is nobody who actually uses all of the patient data. From our genes, to our lifestyle; all too often, vital information is missed because only the moment at which the patient is being treated is considered. We are imprisoned within an ineffective process, the costs of which will continue to rise as a result of technology that is becoming increasingly complex.

Bill Evans from IBM Watson Health recently explained at the Web Summit that less than ten percent of the available data for any patient was used in the event of a health concern. Each year, the healthcare sector generates seven(!) million research documents; in rough form, this is an incomprehensible quantity of information. Furthermore, this information is not linked in any way in the current care chain. Worldwide, it is estimated that 30 percent of all healthcare is pure wastage.

But weren’t we all working on using an electronic patient file as a solution for this mismatch? Sadly, the situation that has been playing out for many years in this context reads like a bad novel. It could have been a first step towards resolving this issue. Instead, it has resulted in a half-baked private solution that regulates administrative matters.

I would suggest that Dutch healthcare requires ‘first aid’ on a continuous basis, even though carers could provide better diagnoses and treatment plans if they had a direct insight into the patient’s past and that of other, similar patients.

I think we need to seek a ‘disrupter’ that could save the care sector. Just like Tesla, when they ripped up the rule book in the world of cars. For many years, car manufacturers had tried to create self-driving cars. Tesla did this much quicker by using a smart software update on existing cars.

The most recent generation of Teslas are even fitted out with a so-called autopilot function. Yes, Tesla drives along motorways, maintains its distance, changes lane and takes the correct exit… all by itself. The first ‘improved’ Teslas made quite a few errors. But the use of a collective, self-reflecting memory means that all Teslas can learn from one another, anticipate new situations and get increasingly smarter.

Consider, for a second, the enormous ‘health’ database. It contains all of the answers to our healthcare questions. What if this database could get even smarter, because it could recognise, process and provide new research, healthcare questions, results and innovations. So that carers could genuinely improve their recommendations and treatment plans.

There is hope. Technically, the healthcare equivalent to Tesla has been around for some time. Now we just need to find a disrupter who dares to take on all of the bureaucratic obstacles.

My recommendation?

  • Use IBM Watson Health or a similar system. They are the most powerful computers in the world that can take on the collective memories for one million patients.
  • Start with the integration of the chain, collate this data and learn from the collective.
  • Create insights into data, a primary element of healthcare.

Stop making excuses and procrastinating. Prioritise the patients’ interests. The challenge for care in the Netherlands must be conquered: from ‘first aid’ to ‘insight-driven care’. It can be done and it can be done today.

Max Pinas, Creative Director


+31(6) 1588 0250