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Touching people’s lives by improving healthcare

Lucia Fonseca from Portugal works at Philips as a biomedical engineer at the concept and feasibility group in the innovation department of Image Guided Therapy Systems. There she works on the innovation of minimal invasive interventions that are causing a silent revolution in healthcare. By reducing the chance of infections, the recovery time and augmenting the experience of the medical team, Lucia and her colleagues contribute to improving people’s lives. I want to touch people’s lives and contribute to a better society, I feel fortunate for what I have, and I want to spread that further.”

Lucia Fonseca biomedical engineer at Philips

“I started my bachelor’s in physics in Portugal at the oldest university in the country,” says Lucia. “In the physics labs I got to know the field of imaging and radiation. When I came to the Netherlands for my master’s degree at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), I worked together with physicians and nurses in a clinical environment at Maxima Medical Centre. In such an environment you can really touch people’s lives. One of the departments I worked at was neonatology where premature babies are treated. You see little babies struggle for their lives. What the medical staff does there is simply beautiful. I want to contribute to that.”

Brainport attracts like-minded people who all want to contribute to a better society

“During my studies at TU/e I experienced that both the university as the Eindhoven region attract a lot of like-minded people who all want to contribute to a better society. Of course, you need to have your primary needs covered to be able to do so. I feel blessed for what I have, and I want to spread that further. Philips is exactly in line with my core-values with its patient- and customer-centric mindset. I got to know Philips during my studies, and it is a great company to work for, it is very supportive, respectful and offers a lot of educational possibilities.”

Treating diseases as minimally invasive as possible

At Philips I work for the business unit Image Guided Therapy on innovation in the field of minimal invasive interventions and on enabling new ways of treating people. These interventions go from fixing small vessels in the brain to the biggest vessels in our body, but also help with diagnosis and treatment of cancer as minimally invasive as possible. You simply do not want to open bodies if it is not strictly necessary. After all, each surgery brings along risks. These interventions lead to less chance of infections a shorter recovery time and the doctor has a better view of what is happening inside the patient.”

Augment experience of physicians

“Last year I was working on oncology. Data helped us optimize the intervention and we used a design-thinking approach to simplify the tools the physicians used to augment their experience and perfect the treatment of the medical staff. In such a process I focus on really understanding the problem while making sure that the needs and demands of the patients and doctors always have a central position.”

A puzzle that requires a helicopter view, disruptive thinking and multiple disciplines

“It is a puzzle that requires a helicopter view. We challenge ourselves to think disruptively by trying to imagine what interventions could look like in the future. Working here feels like working for a start-up and has a lot of additional advantages. Of course, our innovations must be feasible from a clinical, technical, and financial perspective but at the same time we have a lot of freedom to operate and a lot of internal experts and a broad network of external experts that you can appeal to and work with. Besides researchers and engineers, I for instance work with marketing and designers. Our department is positioned between Research and R&D and we have a broad scope.”

Discovering and validating main challenges

“My main tasks center around customer research and co-creation. I conduct discussion sessions with customers and stakeholders during which my main goals are to discover and validate their biggest challenges and to explore solution directions. In order to do so, I work with software developers and designers in creating prototype mock-ups.”

Deploying investigational devices in partner hospitals

“In our first sessions, we mostly use sketches but as the project takes shape, we start building something really functional. At Innovation, we get lots of feedback on the clinical value of our solutions by deploying investigational devices in partner hospitals to make sure our offers are as meaningful as possible for clinical staff and patients.”

Professional and personal growth

“Looking back at the past years I can say that I have succeeded in my main objective for choosing to work abroad: getting out of my comfort zone . Choosing for The Netherlands felt like getting out of my comfort zone while still being comfortable. Besides the fact that moving here was very relevant to my professional growth, I also grew at a personal level.”

Dutch culture is open and welcoming

“The Dutch culture is open, and people here make you feel welcome. Internationals are really seen as added value and therefore we are well received. People were very willing to help me. My Dutch colleagues are also very respectful and always willing to share their experiences.”

English is the business language, Dutch helps you integrate

“Learning Dutch is not necessary to get by in Dutch society as everyone speaks English. Nevertheless, I took the Dutch classes that the university offered because I feel it is respectful to Dutch citizens and it helps in making Dutch friends. In a business environment I speak English and in my leisure time and during lunch I try to speak Dutch as much as possible. My Dutch food and yoga vocabulary are now quite extensive... I still remember my first Dutch word, it was zuurstof, I was a bit puzzled by what it could mean but later I discovered that it is the Dutch word for oxygen.”

Considering Brainport? Just come and try it

“Eindhoven is a lively and very international city. So much is going on here in the Brainport ecosystem. Ground-breaking technologies that help society are invented here. I have a lot of friends here who work on improving the future such as: green mobility, the batteries of the future etc. As I said before you find like-minded professionals here and each of them brings his or her own culture and perspectives. Therefore, to anyone who is considering moving to Brainport I would say just come and try it. You will definitely extend your network, grow personally and have a great experience.”