How Healthcare Technology Can Help Patients Live with Purpose
“Now, I’m living life by design, not default.”
Shamay Bullington manages her condition using a Medtronic device.
During a conference call with his manager, Simon Henley experienced sudden cardiac arrest. His wife, Martha, administered CPR for nearly seven minutes until an ambulance arrived to rush him to a nearby hospital. There, he underwent emergency surgery to implant a cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). The device gave Simon and his family peace of mind, knowing it was there to monitor his heart should anything go wrong again.
It didn’t take long.
Only months later, Simon’s heart rate skyrocketed, prompting the ICD to deliver a life-saving shock and alert his doctor. Like Simon, who happens to be a Medtronic employee, millions of patients want to feel better, and spend more time doing what they love and less time worrying about their chronic condition. They want treatment choices that are effective and convenient. And today, thanks to healthcare technology, leading a full life is not only possible, it’s empowering. Just ask Simon. “The experience has given me a new purpose,” he says. “Now, I’m living life by design, not default.”
Advances in medical technology are giving patients more treatment choices than ever before. We design healthcare solutions based on the needs of patients we serve. Our goal is to provide them with the tools to take charge of their own health. Our scientists and engineers develop medical devices and therapies to help people like Simon live longer, healthier lives. We are giving pain patients new treatment options and advancing therapies to treat chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease in new ways. And with digital technology like remote monitoring and Bluetooth®-enabled implantable medical devices, we’re transforming how patients and their providers stay connected.
For patients suffering from chronic conditions and diseases, their time outside of the physician’s office or hospital is precious. Using state-of-the-art technology, we’re creating long-lasting batteries for implantable medical devices, giving patients more time between surgeries and appointments. The battery technology used in our latest sacral neuromodulation system for incontinence, for example, is built to last for 15 years. The system includes technology that allows a patient to have a full-body MRI scan while living with an implantable device, and access to a “smart” patient programmer so they can adjust their therapy or receive help without having to go to the physician’s office. Shamay Bullington, an active mother of twins, was among the first people in the United States to receive the system. “Now I am able to live my life without limits, and it’s a beautiful thing,” Shamay says.
Less Pain, More Dancing
Rebecca Clements loved to dance with her husband. But chronic, debilitating back pain eventually left her immobile and dependent on morphine. After undergoing implantation of a neurostimulator for spinal cord stimulation, the positive effects were immediate for Rebecca, who has resumed some of her favorite activities — including dancing. “It’s just amazing,” she says. “I walked into the hospital [leaning] on my cane and walked out holding it.”
For many living with chronic pain, the day starts with a cup of coffee and a regimen of pills. A recent federal survey shows that 46% of all Americans used one or more prescription drug in the last 30 days.2 While pain medications can provide relief to patients, some may pose additional risks. The misuse of opioids, for example, has triggered an addiction epidemic in the United States and several other countries. Until recently, patients suffering from chronic pain had few options that either eliminated the cause or managed their symptoms without pills. We are working to change that. Already, we offer spinal cord stimulation and targeted drug delivery therapies proven to help certain patients. Our balloon kyphoplasty procedure is also providing relief for patients with vertebral compression fractures, potentially reducing the need for pain medications.
Innovation is at the core of who we are. We encourage our people to run with their best ideas, especially if they lead to better outcomes for patients. We know patients today expect more from their healthcare, which is why we continually push ourselves to deliver new and better treatment options. Disruptive technology is opening exciting new frontiers in medicine. But what good is the latest gadget if it doesn’t help patients? Patients are our partners. We listen to them. We respect them. We help them live by design.