Dr Peter Mills, Associate Medical Director of Cigna Europe, discusses his interesting journey to this role, highlights global health challenges, and shares his wish for improved focus on ensuring people get the right care, at the right time and in the right place.
I started off as a regular doctor, training in medicine at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine in London, UK, and worked in a variety of hospitals doing the usual junior doctor rotations before specialising in respiratory diseases. At the end of the ‘90s I became very interested in technology; this was during the original dot-com boom and the idea of digital in such an analogue industry was pretty much laughed at. I was fascinated, however, by the internet and could really see the opportunity to transform the way we acquired knowledge and subsequently researched things. The big question though at this time was 'how can we bring technology and health together?'. With a broad vision, I was involved in starting a company called vielife, which provided digital health solutions designed to improve the health and wellbeing of businesses and their workforce. The company had some success in the US and Europe and was subsequently acquired by Cigna in 2006 who were in the marketplace for a solution. I joined Cigna also at this time, and I now work as Associate Medical Director for Cigna Europe. I think it’s important to maintain my roots, though, and still practise as a physician one day a week. I’m currently working at the Whittington Hospital in London, focusing mainly on the treatment of tuberculosis.
I’m particularly interested in population health and how, as a nation, we can be more proactive with health issues. We are still stuck in a very reactive state – we get sick, we fix it and the insurers pay out. With increasing global populations and healthcare expectations I see real opportunities to utilise technology, digital, mobile and genetics to understand the various health risks and put in place approaches to help deliver solid solutions.