“I’m a serial entrepreneur in everything I do. I like tackling challenges, and shaping them into ideas and projects.”
Interview with Care IQ founder Joris van den Hurk - by Frits van Otterdijk
Joris van den Hurk knows how to concisely summarise his career. Which is remarkable, given the rich and varied experience the 47-year-old PhD gained. After graduating from University, he started work at Philips Semiconductors, where he stood out through clear analyses and original ideas. So much so, that the company gave him a free hand to develop his brainchildren into international successes. “For several years, my entrepreneurship was actually sponsored by Philips," he jokes.
Transition to Healthcare
In 2004 he made the transition from semiconductors to Philips Healthcare. "I was looking to broaden my horizons. At first, healthcare certainly proved to be a new hemisphere with a steep learning curve. At the same time working on healthcare solutions is very rewarding, and motivating: you immediately get to see the impact of your work on the wellbeing of people and patients in particular. “ Van den Hurk plays the role of innovative business manager in healthcare with gusto. "I like being closely involved with my clients. That way, I can translate their needs into unorthodox solutions. I enjoy doing it, as I’m not a natural box shifter or spreadsheet manager. I know how to do that too, but it doesn't motivate as much.”
A meaningful look at innovations in healthcare processes: starting Care IQ
At Philips he set about aligning and integrating the activities supporting the medical field of cardiology. He managed to expand the leading position of the company. "Not by selling more devices, but by tailoring solutions to the needs of care pathways. You have to start reasoning from the perspective of care processes. Then you come to quite startling conclusions that actually lead to improvements." It's almost too obvious for words, according to Van den Hurk. "You start by building an understanding of the barriers health care providers run into every day. This allows you to explore meaningful innovations supporting healthcare process improvement. “ While this seems simple enough, the creative entrepreneur in Van den Hurk was not going to let such an opportunity pass. To fully exploit his philosophy, he founded Care IQ in the autumn of 2012. A respectable list of customers in Europe , Africa and the Middle East seems to prove his point. He is also quite clear about his contribution to Care IQ. "I analyse care pathways, introduce good marketing practices, and make needs assessments so that the actual demands of health care providers bubble to the surface. I am also concerned with change management and how to make it commercially attractive. And I am active in the field of project and programme management. A part of the business in which you ponder and weigh various financial aspects. “
Complex challenges in Healthcare
The healthcare sector is a complex world. "What looks like process improvement at department level might just pose dramatic problems in the bigger perspective. Innovations may make clinical sense, but be may be economically undesirable at the same time. In the United States, some cardiovascular labs close mid-afternoon, because insurers cap the volume of treatments for instance. Hospitals are thus stuck with expensive equipment which they aren’t using half the time. Not really a productive way to run a healthcare business." Van den Hurk therefore continuously explores and optimises solutions. A form of customisation, which revolves around criteria defined by care providers, care processes, capacity planning, technical innovation and costs. "The willingness to learn is particularly large in healthcare. As long as your approach is guided by patients and the people who care for them. "