Teun joined Mobiquity in 2016, and is our leading expert in healthcare & life sciences. He talks about creating meaningful patient journeys, while capturing value for both the end user and the business. He highlights the exciting benefits VR can bring for healthcare and the importance of learning from innovation that already is happening within other sectors. Finally he shares his take on the steps for consumer wellbeing.
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Teun Schutte: I was born and raised in Amsterdam where I still live today with my wife and two daughters. Together with my family, I enjoy getting outside in nature and taking long walks. I love reading, in particular management and fantasy books. I also like to play games on my playstation with my daughters, and am currently enjoying my oculus and exploring the metaverse. I have a major in Biology. I had always wanted to be a physician when I was younger, following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather. However, here in the Netherlands to be accepted into medical school there is a drafting system and only a few are selected each year to go on and study medicine. Unfortunately, I wasn’t chosen so instead I decided to change path and started working for a pharmaceutical company, staying active in the field of healthcare. Since then I have worked in various roles from clinical research to the more operational, commercial and marketing roles. In 2016, I was watching the Apple bi-yearly launch announcements, and they started to talk about healthcare for the first time and in particular healthtech. That’s when I realised if I truly wanted to make an impact on the healthcare system I needed to be working with technology. Shortly afterwards, I started at Mobiquity.
Why Mobiquity? Because of the people working there, but also the type of digital products and services Mobiquity develop, design and build. One thing that really convinced me Mobiquity was the right choice, were the conversations they were having with Princess Maxima who specialise in child oncology, on developing an interactive digital support tool to guide families during the different treatment phases. This was an amazing opportunity, not only for myself to get a better understanding of software development and human centred design in healthcare. But it was also very personal for me and close to my heart. This provided me with an even greater purpose to see that this project was a success. I was really able to learn a lot from this experience. We recreated a better patient journey with the perspective of the families.
In my role, my main objective is to help clients find that sweet spot for digital innovation. It can happen that clients already have a specific idea in mind, which I would work with them to validate. Other times clients look to us to guide them through a particular challenge or friction they are facing. Together we work through the process of generating new inspiration and innovative solutions, helping them understand what is possible, and making sure to keep the end user in mind. When starting a new conversation with a client I always focus on two things; capturing both user and business value. Although it is important to ensure you centre your results around optimising the end user experience and journey, it’s critical to keep in mind the business priorities. If you create something that has a lot of human and user value, but no business value, then it is no longer an interesting business opportunity. So we need to ensure we keep both sides in mind and the discussion balanced.
I enjoy going from topic to topic, from patients, to consumers, to healthcare professionals, to my colleagues. I enjoy deep diving into a specific topic and then taking a step back and looking at how we can add value while still keeping a good overview of the main goals. Working with technology in healthcare really is a creative process, connecting the dots of possibilities versus having to follow strict procedures and guidelines. And if you follow those processes in the right way it can always lead to valuable insights and initiatives. It is important to have a good understanding of the healthcare systems in place, as they are usually one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. In that sense it’s also good to have the experience to be able to pinpoint where the system may be limiting itself. That’s why I prefer to work with a team of people from mixed backgrounds and not solely a team specialising in healthcare. You need people who can take a step back and challenge the normal ways of doing things and bring new ideas and perspectives to the team.
We have many exciting initiatives that we are a part of here at Mobiquity. I am currently working on a project where we are looking to improve and accelerate more personalised healthcare for lung cancer patients in the Netherlands. We are also working with multiple pharmaceutical companies to tackle the frictions patients and their families confronted with a rare disease encounter. We are finding innovative solutions to improve care and help them with their daily struggles. And although my main focus is primarily on healthcare clients, from time to time I also get involved in projects within other sectors that relate back to consumer wellbeing. For example, I have recently been part of the team working with a large EU bank on developing a digital financial tool that is centred around users' financial welfare. It involved a lot of research on behavioural economics and change, on how we as people look at finances and savings. Which works in a very similar way to preventative healthcare. I can learn a lot from being involved in such projects as I can take learnings within the healthcare world and apply that to the financial sector, but also take a new perspective from the fintech market that I can then incorporate within future healthcare projects.
Aside from working with clients I am heavily involved in business development as the Mobiquity spokesperson for healthcare for Europe and the US. I share a lot of thought leadership content on various topics relating to healthcare such as digital clinical trials, reinforcement learning, VR and the metaverse, along with latest trends and predictions in the industry.
As the healthcare sector is a more traditional and conservative industry, they have a tendency to go for the more established names when it comes to technology. It’s also an industry where more than likely the client is facing budget issues. Taking that into account and looking towards the future, I really hope that all the lessons we as society have learned by introducing digital within other industries such as retail and consumer, can finally start to trickle into healthcare. Taking the patient experience for example, there are a lot of improvements necessary. Try logging into your hospital or requesting your personal data from your GP. It is much more difficult than it should be! With innovative products such as Datakeeper where we have proved that we can safely distribute personal information to various stakeholders in a secure way, I hope we can start to implement this into healthcare.
VR (virtual reality) is particularly interesting for healthcare. There are already a lot of use cases for treating patients, especially within pain management. The results are showing not only immediate benefits that those using VR don’t feel their pain as strongly anymore, but this pain decrease can last for months afterwards. From children getting flu shots to more severe injuries of patients with serious burns, but also for those suffering from mental challenges such as dementia, schizophrenia or PTSD. VR is also helping with education as doctors can show patients how their body is working, where a tumour is located or explain different treatment options. As humans we are very visual creatures, with 80 to 90% of our brain focused on the visual part. So anything that we can do to help make things more visual for the patient is really quite powerful. For physicians, VR can bring a lot of advantages and enable better outcomes for surgeries. Physicians can create a 3D model based on a CT scan of the patient and they can actively practise the exact surgery on that individual. Meaning they are not only better prepared for that specific operation and that patient’s individual body, but by having this ability can reduce surgery time which results in a much better for the patient and reduces the risk of infection.
The biggest gift we can give to physicians today is the gift of time. New technology will introduce new adoption curves, where time is critical. On one hand I strongly believe new technologies can help give time back to physicians and enable much more opportunity and possibilities. But if there isn’t time made available to implement, learn and accept these new technologies, then nothing can change. We as a society can help by having people work next to physicians, who can help facilitate the introduction of new technology with the physician guiding the implementation.
At Mobiquity we want to continue to create innovative digital products to enable the adoption of new technology in healthcare. We will continue to focus on helping companies develop new algorithms to improve diagnostics, patient journeys and experiences. We will also concentrate on identifying learnings we can take from the other industries we work in, such as banking and retail, back into healthcare. For example how can we use our expertise in digital onboarding where we excel within fintech and transfer that knowledge and adapt our solutions to fit into healthcare. And also the other way around. How we can help companies from the commercial and banking industries take a step further into consumer well being. In this way we can combine our strengths of customer experience strategy, digital products & services, and digital branding & marketing in one. There is a lot of potential waiting to happen and I am excited to see how we can continue to grow and optimise our offerings.
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