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Artificial intelligence

Harnessing the power of AI to detect and treat cancer, diabetes, and more

For millions of people around the world, managing a complex and challenging health condition can be a struggle. Not only do diseases like cancer, hypertension, and diabetes exact heavy personal tolls, they also contribute to soaring global healthcare costs. But it doesn’t have to stay this way. Through developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics, healthcare technology is advancing chronic disease management by empowering clinicians to personalize medicine like never before. These technologies provide revelatory insights into individual patients, in real time.

Think how easy it is to order an item on Amazon. You click a few buttons and a package arrives the next day. Patients expect healthcare to deliver similar benefits that technology brings to other parts of their lives. That’s why we’re accelerating the development of life-transforming technologies that can help patients manage their conditions. By harnessing the power of AI, data analytics, and sensors, our healthcare technologies are helping clinicians create individualized treatment plans to achieve better outcomes for more people in more places. From the world’s first hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery system to robotic-assisted surgery, these devices are ushering in a new era in patient care. 

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I believe AI has the power to transform global health systems, to help them function as they should — efficiently and accessible to all. With guardrails in place, our industry can use AI to create a future that serves patients and clinicians better.”

–Ken Washington, chief technology and innovation officer at Medtronic
Ken Washington

It’s not sci-fi, it’s AI

Artificial intelligence plays a major role in our daily lives. It does everything from dictate content in our social media feeds to enable digital assistants like Siri and Alexa. And now, AI is becoming an integral part of healthcare because of advances in computing and sensing technologies, the expansion of available data, and the creation of better algorithms. As we continue to unlock the continuous data our devices and therapies generate, AI and machine learning are increasingly important tools at Medtronic. We're adding innovative AI technologies to our research and design capabilities to push the boundaries of innovation. Already, AI plays a pivotal role in the company's robotic-assisted surgery platforms, colonoscopy and endoscopy systems, and insulin pumps. We launched the only FDA cleared “smart” insulin pen that integrates glucose sensor data, putting the power of AI to work for patients with type 1 diabetes who rely on multiple daily injections.

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The Medtronic AI Compass

Since 1949, Medtronic has been engineering the extraordinary. Our journey of innovation continues with advances in the application of AI. While these technologies have great potential to improve patient care and further our Mission to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life, we also recognize that AI-enabled technologies raise new and important considerations. Explore our guiding principles on the ethical use of artificial intelligence in healthcare technology to benefit users, including patients and healthcare providers.

Big data closes gaps in diabetes care

For patients with type 1 diabetes, a “one size fits all” approach to treatment doesn’t really work given the highly variable way people metabolize food. For years, clinicians struggled to personalize treatments to avoid the extreme sugar highs and lows associated with diabetes. Then Medtronic launched the world’s first hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery system, a game-changing technology that puts people first by delivering insulin based on continuous glucose monitoring. It is one of our smart devices capable of analyzing continuous streams of data and quickly making necessary adjustments to deliver personalized care. 

So how do our devices “know” how the body will react to certain therapies? By combining computer models and real-world data, our engineers are building virtual representations, or “digital twins,” of some devices to predict how they will respond in the human body under various circumstances. 


How a Medtronic “Genius” is fighting cancer

GI Genius screenColorectal cancer is highly treatable if it’s detected early. But that’s the problem; it’s not always easy to catch. Enter the GI Genius™ intelligent endoscopy module, the first computer-aided detection system using AI to identify colorectal polyps during a colonoscopy. The system works by scanning every visual frame of the procedure in real time and alerting physicians to the presence of lesions — including small, flat polyps that can easily go undetected by the human eye.  In other words, it helps detect the undetected. To increase access to the screening technology for people in underserved communities, the Medtronic Health Equity Assistance Program is working with the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and Amazon Web Services to donate 150 of these modules to endoscopy centers to assist with the early detection and diagnosis of colorectal cancer which disproportionately affects Black adults.1 And with Genius Academy, physicians can easily access detailed information about how AI is transforming diagnosis and treatment.

By measuring things like blood oxygen saturation, respiration, and heart rate, sensors can help clinicians understand how the body is functioning at any given time. Sensing technology and solutions with machine pattern recognition, such as continuous glucose monitoring and cardiac pacing, can promote rapid and accurate readings, which aid in early detection. In some of our implantable devices, sensors are used without human intervention, collecting data to adjust performance to each patient's needs. For example, our smallest pacemaker — the world's smallest, in fact — features sensing algorithms to detect irregular cardiac rhythms. 

Artificial intelligence is a powerful tool that can increase the speed, efficiency, and effectiveness of global health systems. By analyzing large amounts of data, AI can help improve decision making, reduce medical variability, and optimize staffing. Here are five ways our AI-enabled solutions are accelerating the digital transformation of health tech.

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Technology fuels personalized medicine

No two patients are ever the same, even if they have the same illness. Everyone deserves personalized treatment. Artificial intelligence, sensing technology, and data analytics can help clinicians deliver personalized care while improving patient outcomes. 

  1. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures for African American/Black People 2022-2024.