At Medtronic, we believe the history of medicine has been and will be a continuous quest to ensure that people receive the life-saving or life-enhancing treatments they need to return to full life. We also recognize that access to quality healthcare is a fundamental right of all people around the world.
At least 400 million people around the world still lack access to care.1
The quest for better healthcare stems from foundational or universal healthcare needs for any healthcare system. The goals of improving clinical outcomes, expanding access, and optimizing cost and efficiency are fundamental to all healthcare systems around the world.
But, we also know that we participate in global healthcare systems that are under intense clinical and economic challenges and that, if not corrected, these issues can serve to undermine global growth and development and leave millions around the world untreated — for even the simplest diseases. We believe that what got us to the current state of healthcare is not necessarily what will propel us forward. The future of healthcare requires new approaches and new forms of innovation.
Even though we have accomplished a lot — today more than 62 million people benefit from our technologies each year, equating to two people every second — at least 400 million people around the world still lack access to care.1
That’s why we’ve empowered our more than 85,000 employees in more than 160 countries to work with health systems around the world, sharing technologies, services, resources, and expertise to help remove barriers to affordable treatment of chronic diseases. In developed markets, we’re working with governments and providers of care delivery and efficiency, while in emerging markets, we’re assisting with infrastructure development, therapy awareness and education, and capacity management.
Emerging markets face unique obstacles in their quest to stand up and establish sustainable, high-quality, and cost-effective health systems. Access is typically impacted by location and proximity to quality health institutions, a lack of quality trained specialists and healthcare practitioners, and a lack of infrastructure or facilities.
Recognizing these dynamics in emerging markets, Medtronic is focusing on developing market models and partnerships that establish centers of excellence where specialized tasks and procedures are housed in order to increase quality outcomes, develop physician expertise, and optimize expenditures and costs.
In India alone, an estimated 63 million people have hearing impairments.2
India has also served as the home of Shruti, a social business initiative within Medtronic Labs. In South Asia alone, an estimated 131 million people have hearing impairments.2 One of the causes, middle-ear infection, can be treated to prevent the disability, yet many individuals don’t have access to healthcare. Harnessing the power of technology and partnerships, Medtronic Labs launched Shruti to address the spread of chronic ear infections and associated hearing loss through awareness, diagnosis, and treatment in underserved populations. To date, over 600,000 people have been screened and over = 15,000 have received affordable treatment for identified ear conditions and/or hearing loss through the ENT partner sites.
In Brazil — which was estimated to lose $49 billion due to premature deaths associated with heart disease, stroke, and diabetes in the last 10 years3 — we’re working with local government officials, leading physicians, emergency care personnel, and hospital systems to put into place the appropriate infrastructure to provide optimal care for heart attack patients. In a program called “LATIN” (Latin America Telemedicine Infarct Network), Medtronic is working with key stakeholders to develop localized protocols and educate both cardiologists and emergency care physicians on the most appropriate care pathway for STEMI patients before they arrive at the hospital through the use of telemedicine technology. Coupled with a large-scale public education initiative to better inform the community, the LATIN program has trained 1,000 healthcare personnel and reduced STEMI mortality by 12 percent in just one year. We’re now in the process of replicating the program in geographies where similar care issues are present, including Colombia and Mexico.
Last year, Medtronic announced a partnership with the National Institute of Hospital Administration in China to research ways of building a better system for people with Type 1 diabetes. The collaboration included pilot sites at regional hospitals across the country where the best ways to integrate care and support people with diabetes through the entire disease state are being studied. The goal is to apply these lessons nationally to reduce common complications that arise among this patient population and then extend our learning to other geographies where diabetes is taking an unprecedented toll on healthcare systems.
One service that stretches across all geographies and is imperative to improving outcomes is physician training. In the past five years alone, we’ve trained thousands of physicians around the globe. Recently, we completed a year-long physician training program in Russia that educated 4,000 physicians on everything from innovations in interventional cardiology to approaches for improving patient outcomes.
To spur similar advancements in other geographies, we also offer our top employees the chance to work with government and non-government organizations to find ways to improve access to healthcare locally in underserved areas. This program, called Global Innovation Fellows, has helped us better understand why certain hospitals in Vietnam have long wait times, and we have offered suggestions on how to boost diabetes awareness in South Africa, among other initiatives.
These programs demonstrate that one company can’t do it alone. Only through working with a variety of stakeholders — going Further, Together in many different ways — can we improve access to care and outcomes around the world.
World Health Organization. Tracking Universal Health Coverage. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/174536/1/9789241564977_eng.pdf. 2015. Accessed August 31, 2015.
WHO global estimates on prevalence of hearing loss; https://www.who.int/pbd/deafness/estimates/en/
World Health Organization. The Impact of Chronic Disease in Brazil. http://www.who.int/chp/chronic_disease_report/media/brazil.pdf?ua=1. Accessed August 31, 2015.