In the spotlight

Innovator in the Spotlight – Jan Willem Alst (Fundis & Goudenhart)

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Goudenhart is a Dutch specialist treatment service organization for frail elderly and people with chronic illness. With outpatient treatments, treatments during rehabilitation, and treatment during a stay in nursing homes, Goudenhart offers a broad arsenal of treatments. Goudenhart is part of Fundis, a healthcare network that facilitates and connects companies to offer high-quality care to elderly and chronically ill people.

A key figure within Goudenhart and Fundis is Jan Willem Alst. For three and a half days a week he works as Treatment Manager at Goudenhart, and the remaining day and a half as Innovation Manager at Fundis. We spoke with Jan Willem about his job, passion, opinion on health innovation, favorite health innovation, and his collaboration with MedScaler.

That’s quite a busy week Jan Willem, can you tell us a bit more about your current jobs and experience within the field of healthcare?

“Sure! I started my career as a physiotherapist at a local nursing home, which was also part of Fundis. After almost seven years, I wanted to do something else, and I came across the vacancy of Innovation Manager at Fundis. This opportunity sparked my interest as it had everything to do with an important aspect I wanted to find in my job: keeping track of developments in the rehabilitation care landscape. Luckily, I got the job, which I could combine with my other job as a physiotherapist. This was an interesting combination to work both from an office and physically at the patient’s bedside. After a few years, I stopped as a physiotherapist and became Treatment Manager, where my main task is to ensure adequate formation and staffing of the different specialty groups we have at Goudenhart.”

“I joined the Innovator Club to gain low-threshold knowledge about new healthcare innovations, especially abroad.”

Jan Willem Alst

Interesting. What was it like to be a physiotherapist in a nursing home at Fundis?

“I have experienced that you can have a great impact as a physiotherapist within elderly care. Our spearhead for this target group is adding quality of life, and that can be in all kinds of things. From a small walk to larger rehabilitation exercises, which are very patient-driven. Although I am no longer at the patient’s bedside, I take these experiences with me every day. Especially the experience of whether a certain innovation will contribute to the patient rehabilitation is decisive in my opinion. If I have my doubts, I luckily still have enough contacts whom I can turn to.”

How have you seen physiotherapy grow in terms of innovation in recent years?

“In particular the willingness to innovate has grown within the industry. Especially within the field of enticing the elderly to move. Another development is that the independence and self-reliance of the patient is increasing. We used to only have simple weekend exercises that we could give to the patient, now the digitalization of care is helping the caregiver tremendously in that, with gamification as a very nice example. In the past the facilities were hardly there, therefore this used to be much less alive. Currently, there is much more awareness for health innovation and it’s more of a theme in society and Dutch politics.”

As an Innovation Manager at Fundis, you have several organizations to keep in mind when making an innovation plan. How does that work for you?

“At Fundis, each party is responsible for its own innovation strategy. We do offer help and advice if necessary, but fortunately many organizations are very independent. An innovation methodology we do offer are the ‘FunDesign sessions’. In these proactive sessions, together with our colleagues on the work floor, we come up with ideas that can directly improve patient care. The key is trying to get colleagues to think in terms of solutions and not in limitations.

After giving these ideas a phase of rest, we meet again after a period to see if the ideas still feel that way. If the feeling is good, we jointly make an inventory of a concrete plan and, for example, look for parties that offer a similar innovation. Afterward, we pitch this plan to the board and ask for a small investment if necessary. If they’re enthusiastic too, we start with a pilot phase. A beautiful example from one of our FunDesign sessions is the implementation of digital patient records, which really takes away some workload for the clinicians.”

Do you have a favorite health innovation that you’ve seen in the last couple of years?

“I’ve seen some great innovations implemented over the past few years, but I think Momo Medical is my favorite. This solution offers caregivers quieter shifts, especially at night. Momo Medical developed the Momo BedSense app, which provides caregivers insight and overview of all residents of the memory care community. This allows them to do their rounds much more efficiently, especially at night. Besides reduced workload for caregivers, it has been proven to give patients more sleep and there are significantly fewer falling incidents.

Within Fundis, we managed to implement Momo Medical through our innovation fund FundiQare. This fund focuses on care innovations that improves the quality of life for vulnerable elderly, chronically ill, or informal caregivers. Together with our partners Innovation Quarter and the Noaber Foundation, we invest in healthcare innovations such as Momo Medical. About five years ago, we were one of the first in the Netherlands to start doing this, and it’s entirely in line with what we stand for at Fundis; responding to the changing welfare state and aging population.”

Why did you choose to join MedScaler’s Innovators Club?

“Mainly to gain low-threshold knowledge about new healthcare innovations, especially abroad. I came into contact with MedScaler after we went to a Japanese fair with Fundis and spoke with a company that makes exoskeletons for clinical care. To see if this solution was also available in the Netherlands, I got into touch with Robin (Operations Director of MedScaler). In the end, this exoskeleton proved unfeasible for us, but I eventually became a member of the Innovators Club, from which I am still reaping the benefits.”

We are very happy to have Jan Willem as a member of our Innovators Club and we are excited to work on innovative solutions to face the challenges of the future, together.

Are you working on an innovation that might be interesting to Jan Willem? Let us know via

Would you like to become a member of the MedScaler Innovators Club, too? Join here.

Do you have a healthcare-related idea or solution that you want to develop? Make sure to visit our own MedScaler eLearning, which will provide you with everything you need to get from idea to market