ECONOMIC VALUE: Physician collaboration can lead to important medical innovations that can help improve healthcare economics.
CLINICAL OUTCOMES: Collaborating with physicians who are close to patients and have a deep understanding of therapy needs helps us develop needed therapies, and ensure appropriate training in the use of our therapies.
SOCIETAL IMPACT: Physicians provide additional product ideas and help us make products more effective, to help address the global challenge of managing many debilitating medical conditions.
To Advance Innovation
Collaborating with physicians is vital to innovation and advancing patient care. Physicians provide unique clinical insights and a deep understanding of physiology that's important to product development. They also have the first-hand expertise to help educate and train other healthcare providers on the appropriate use of medical devices. To preserve these valuable partnerships and demonstrate that they're conducted appropriately, Medtronic has been leading an industrywide transparency effort.
The Partnership That Built
In fact, our first revolutionary product — a wearable, battery-powered heart pacemaker developed in the 1950s — was the result of a close collaboration. Pioneering heart surgeon Dr. C. Walton Lillehei of the University of Minnesota Medical School was looking for a more practical pacemaker that didn't rely on AC (wall outlet) power. So Dr. Lillehei collaborated with Medtronic co-founder Earl Bakken and together they developed a revolutionary way to treat abnormal heart rhythms.
The Active Exchange
A physician may recognize an unmet medical need and ask for a therapy to address it, or recommend a potential new therapy.
Medtronic engineers also have insights about new or improved technologies. Often working with the physician, we define an innovation that will truly address the patient need.
Physicians often provide advice that may improve a product's design, usability, or reliability.
We support thorough clinical studies to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the therapy. Data from the studies forms the basis for educating and training physicians to ensure appropriate use of the product once it's on the market.
Upon regulatory approval of the product, physicians with expertise in both the medical condition being treated and our product train other physicians on the risks and benefits of the therapy, as well as how to implant or deliver it appropriately and safely.
That Are Transforming
Defibrillator That Delivers Fewer Shocks
Our implantable defibrillators deliver an electric shock to the heart when the device detects a life-threatening fast heart rate. While we had advanced the technology so it could be optimized for each patient, many patients still received more inappropriate shocks than was acceptable. Working in tandem with Electrophysiologist Dr. Bruce Wilkoff, we developed a family of implantable defibrillators with more-precise monitoring that — as demonstrated through one study1 — can reduce inappropriate shocks.
Motion-Preserving Artificial Neck Disc
Dr. Vincent Traynelis, a spinal surgeon, believed that patients with a diseased disc in their neck deserved a treatment option that would allow movement at the treated level, unlike traditional spinal fusion surgery. We worked closely with Dr. Traynelis over many years to develop an artificial neck disc, or cervical disc, with a unique ball-and-trough design that allows patients to maintain motion of their treated disc.
Smaller Intrathecal Drug Delivery Pump for Children
We were working on a drug delivery system for adults with severe spasticity — in which a drug pump is implanted under the skin and delivers medication to the fluid around the spinal cord — when Dr. Leland Albright contacted us, looking for ways to help relieve severe spasticity in children with cerebral palsy. Working together, we developed a smaller drug pump that allows young patients to receive the pump and enjoy the benefits of the therapy.
In Our Collaborations
Medtronic is leading the industry in the areas of collaboration transparency and ethical business practices. We were among the first device companies to voluntarily disclose payments to U.S. physicians publicly — well ahead of federal disclosure requirements that began August 1, 2013, as part of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act.
Over the past several years, we've taken a close look at our approach to collaboration and developed Principles, Standards, and Approaches that guide our partnerships and help avoid undue influence. We continue to have regular discussions with stakeholders across all aspects of healthcare — including physicians, patient organizations, regulators, payers, and academics — to ensure everyone understands how vital physician-industry collaboration is to improving healthcare.
Because physician collaboration is vital to innovation and advancing patient care, Medtronic works closely with physicians and is leading the industry in defining ethical practices around those collaborations.
- ECONOMIC VALUE: Physician collaboration can lead to important medical innovations that can help improve healthcare economics.
- CLINICAL OUTCOMES: Collaborating with physicians who are close to patients and have a deep understanding of therapy needs helps us develop needed therapies, and ensure appropriate training in the use of our therapies.
- SOCIETAL IMPACT: Physicians provide additional product ideas and help us make products more effective, to help address the global challenge of managing many debilitating medical conditions.
References: 1Volosin KJ, Exner DV, Wathen MS, Sherfesee L, Scinicariello A, Gillberg JM. Combining Shock Reduction Strategies to Enhance ICD Therapy: A Role for Computer Modeling. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. Published online October 11, 2010.