"VPH2020 is an ideal crossroads" Interview with Nicolas Villain, Director Hub IA Paris and Research France of Philips

Date :
Changed on 05/08/2020
The VPH2020 conference, a biennial conference on digital medicine organized by VPH Insitute and the Inria Saclay - Île-de-France research center, is supported this year by EIT Health France, an organization that facilitates knowledge and innovation in the field of healthcare. The Philips group is also joining the VPH2020 adventure by participating in several of the event's highlights, including the industrial session on Thursday 27 August. Convinced of the interest and future of digital medicine for the whole of society, he unveiled the group's orientations in this field. Meeting with Nicolas Villain, Director of the IA Paris and Research France hub of the Philips group.
Bandeau EIT+Philips
Portrait Nicolas Villain - Philips, directeur hub IA Paris et recherche France

What are your implications in in silico medicine?

At Philips, we have a program called Virtual Patient whose ultimate idea is to build an evolving model of each patient by integrating the data (measurements, images) collected during examinations during all phases of the patient's life and combining it with VPH-type approaches that provide a good understanding of the patient's condition at a given time. These models make it possible to predict the evolution of a patient's state of health but also to have alerts when this state deviates from what is predicted. They are also a decision-making tool in the choice of therapies and intervention methods.

For us, in silico medicine is a very complementary tool to data-based approaches based on learning. VPH approaches have advantages in terms of explicability and understanding of phenomena that machine learning techniques do not have, but both contribute to the development of personalized, predictive and patient-centered medicine.

What type of application are you developing more specifically?

Philips' positioning is to provide solutions that will apply throughout the so-called health continuum, from prevention, advice according to the type of person, and support towards a healthier life, to the management, treatment and post-treatment follow-up, including at home, of many chronic respiratory and cardiac diseases... And even to more psychological models to ensure that patients follow their treatments.

In particular, we are positioning ourselves on image-guided therapies, what is called interventional radiology, with the help of models to help choose where to perform an intervention, simulation tools, and rehearsal of the operation. In particular, we have been working with Inria for about ten years, initially on more anatomical, then more physiological models, and more recently in oncology on the subject of cancer activation pathways specific to each patient.

Why do you support VPH 2020?

Digital medicine is still a young, teeming discipline. For a group like Philips, it is obvious that in a field with so many and so specific applications, where the need for knowledge of the technologies but also of the medical field is very deep, we must not work alone. We want to find the most effective way to identify pockets of opportunity, to collaborate with players in the sector, particularly academics and start-ups.

VPH2020 seems to me to be an ideal crossroads for this, because it is not a specialized clinical conference, but rather focuses on the modeling technology itself. It's an opportunity for us to do technology watch and initiate collaborations, including with participating students, whose interest in health applications is of interest to us.