Healthcare is deeply personal. From welcoming a newborn baby to caring for an aging parent: Our most precious, emotional, and trying moments are directly tied to healthcare.
And yet healthcare isn’t “healthy” right now.
Millions of people around the globe continue to suffer the effects of complex and challenging health conditions. Life’s ordinary moments are stolen each day. A walk to the local market. Watching a grandchild score their first goal. Or having a conversation over coffee.
For many, these events are more than an arm’s reach away. For some, they’re replaced with the burden of managing multiple insulin injections. For others, it’s hours transporting loved ones to and from care appointments. And in the worst scenarios, ordinary life is consumed by disease that makes even picking up a glass of water an impossible task.
We have a wealth of technology at our fingertips. We must harness this to address the challenges of today. Discover conditions earlier. Treat them earlier. Reduce disparities in care. And ensure there is equal access to care for all. Society demands it — and deserves it. The world can’t wait for someday. We need to act today, especially in light of some disturbing trends.
The pandemic has been a wakeup call, demonstrating how tightly health and wealth are connected. As costs have skyrocketed, governments are facing a looming bill. And against the backdrop of the pandemic, chronic disease has taken a backseat.
Chronic diseases kill 41 million people each year. That represents nearly three quarters of all deaths globally.3 Cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases, and diabetes make up 80% of all chronic disease deaths.3 And many of these are preventable — or at least treatable, when caught early. Our progress in overall life expectancy is slowing down. While people are living longer, they’re also living more years in poorer health.4
The rise in chronic disease in both developed and developing countries represents a slow-moving disaster. And while this crisis may not make as many daily headlines as the pandemic, it’s real — and it’s scary.
To counter these trends, we need to redefine what and how healthcare can deliver. We need to set and achieve higher standards. Which requires far-reaching vision and pacesetting partnerships.
It requires companies like Medtronic to rethink our potential, and rethink the speed and scale at which we can serve the world. As a leader in healthcare technology, our products and services have improved — and continue to improve — the lives of millions of people every day, in fact two people every second of every hour of every day. But we must do more.
We can help more people, in more meaningful ways, more quickly. While some are benefiting, too many are not. This is our urgent responsibility.
The human body is the most complex operating system on the planet. Designing solutions to heal it requires not only engineering determination but also a profound understanding of human anatomy. We’re committed to creating life-transforming innovation, not just incremental innovation.
When our co-founder Earl Bakken developed the first battery-powered pacemaker in the late 1950s, it was revolutionary. Today, technology can perform medical marvels we never imagined. Someone living with Parkinson’s who can finally hold their morning coffee with a steady hand. Relief from chronic pain so someone can play with their children. It’s clear: Groundbreaking technologies expand what’s possible.
But technology alone can’t solve the challenges we face today.
Because healthcare is personal, we must put people first. We’re committed to delivering the best possible experiences for every patient, physician, and caregiver we serve.
Hospitals are struggling with capacity, and clinicians are overwhelmed. At the same time, patients expect more from their care. They expect — and deserve — experiences that help them recover faster and return home more quickly.
Whether it’s the world’s smallest pacemaker or a tiny capsule that lets doctors see inside your digestive tract, minimally invasive approaches result in a speedier recovery, less risk of infection, and less time in the hospital.5-7
Putting people first means health systems can be more efficient and patients can get back to doing what they love most. And putting people first is a commitment that extends to our global team of more than 90,000 passionate workers. We’re creating an inclusive, diverse culture of belonging. Beyond being the right thing to do, we know it’s good for business and will help us continue to deliver the life-transforming therapies patients deserve.
Combatting the world’s most complex healthcare challenges also requires reaching millions more patients. Not just every year, but every day.
We’re committed to using data and artificial intelligence (AI) to both accelerate and achieve new scale, making healthcare more predictive and more personal. The pace of technology innovation is accelerating. AI is becoming pervasive in our daily lives — from smart phones to smart homes. And we’ll demand that healthcare keep pace.
Driven by advancements in computational power, we’re seeing communication networks, sensors, robotics, virtual reality, and AI exponentially improving. These advancements are enabling the development of smart medical devices, and it’s data that will drive them. For example, imagine a diabetes insulin pump that learns your patterns and gives you personalized guidance to better manage your insulin.
The potential goes beyond improving the performance of individual devices. There is vast opportunity to improve medical care overall. With the advent of 5G, we can transport data faster — like millions of images and videos from surgeries around the world to train other physicians. Of course, caring for the health of patients also means caring for their health data. As data is used to unlock better outcomes and brighter futures, we will be fervent protectors of the data entrusted to us.
We’re confident in our ability to achieve our bold ambition to become the global leader in healthcare technology. Because we’re compelled to share many more stories like this one.