That recognition from the business world is worth a lot, Fons and Marco agree. Fons: "In my work I am not only busy with research, but also with teaching and obtaining funding. The latter is a lot easier if the business sees value." Why did he win the award and leave his 'competitors' behind? “All nominees could have won; so many beautiful things are happening. I think I was just in a sweet spot. I am treating a social problem, and came up with something innovative and relevant. Incidentally, I am only a blip on the big picture radar of those working to improve healthcare. But I am helping to push the huge stone up the mountain."
Both men acknowledge that that’s not an easy task. Marco: "But this is where a nice collaboration with a university, clinical partners, and hospitals comes into play. Certain studies really start out more visionary within the academy and often in collaboration with clinical partners, for example with developing algorithms that can detect cancer. But before an industrial partner like Philips can convert this into a product, the technology must first be sufficiently 'mature' and have a certain level of accuracy.
The cooperation between academia, hospital and industry is the ideal triangle for the development and validation of new technology. How do you offer that new technology? Do you rely on the algorithm, does it remain human work, or is it the combination? " Fons: "My vision is clear: there is a growing amount of information available for specialists due to the ever increasing capabilities of medical imaging equipment. Algorithms are there to reduce that to something that they can process. Algorithms never get tired and are not limited. No medical specialist can compete with that." Marco: "That also fits in perfectly with Philips' vision. Hans Hofstraat described this as follows: 'AI solutions support the care provider with the relief of routine work and help him to make a quick and optimal decision for a specific patient on the basis of all available relevant information.' Philips would rather not talk about artificial intelligence, but instead about adaptive intelligence technology, which takes both the user and the specific context into account."