Medtronic officials want the world’s largest medtech company to do more than just make medical devices: They want to help manage chronic diseases. Here are thoughts from the VP helping to lead the shift.Medtronic executive Sheri Dodd had a cousin — one of only four — die from Type 2 diabetes complications at the age of 47.
Lainie Dominguez was already high risk because her dad had diabetes, and she was obese. She became pre-diabetic. She was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic, watched her carbohydrates, took oral medication, did finger sticks, became insulin-dependent, and developed end-stage renal failure. She went in for orthopedic surgery and died of diabetes-related complications.
“I think about this all the time, and I think, ‘What did she need in her journey so that she could have avoided getting Type 2 in the first place?’” Dodd said in September at DeviceTalks Minnesota. [Discover more great medtech expertise at DeviceTalks West, Dec. 9–10, 2019 in Santa Clara, Calif.]
Dodd is in a unique place to help answer the question. She’s VP of two Medtronic businesses at the forefront of the company’s shift toward helping people manage their chronic diseases: Medtronic Care Management Services and Non-Intensive Diabetes Therapies.
Medtronic and medical device companies in general can’t make the transformation alone, Dodd said. “You can’t think that you’re going to come in alone and solve the problem.”
If Medtronic is going to move beyond selling insulin pumps and glucose monitors, for example, it needs to help people with diabetes monitor their nutrition. The result is that Medtronic in November 2018 announced it was acquiring Tel Aviv, Israel–based Nutrino Health and its nutrition-related data services and artificial-intelligence-based analytics.
Partnerships with health payers and providers are important, too. Dodd mentioned Medtronic’s five-year value-based healthcare partnership with the Lehigh Valley Health Network. The company is using its technological know-how and data-crunching skills to tackle up to 70 major medical conditions, with the goal of helping the Northeastern Pennsylvania health system improve the lives of as many as 500,000 people, create efficiencies, and reduce healthcare costs to patients, payers, and the health system by $100 million over five years.
“There’s a technology play, but there is a behavioral play that Medtronic is not uniquely expert at, and that’s why partnerships and building out solutions is going to have to happen in that area of chronic management,” Dodd said.
Go to our sister site Medical Design & Outsourcing and read about five additional things that Dodd thinks Medtronic and other device companies need to accomplish if disease management is going to become a major focus of the business.