Earl Bakken etched the concept of meaningful innovation into everything at Medtronic. It inspired him to develop the first battery-powered cardiac pacemaker in 1957, and is central to what we do today, seven decades later.
Our therapies help two people every second1 , delivering on our Mission to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life. At Medtronic, we believe
patient-focused innovation — and strong partnerships — remain key to an even better, more impactful future.
Chronic diseases are a leading cause of death worldwide, yet most healthcare systems are built around acute needs, rather than prevention and long-term disease management. Continued innovation is needed to not only address disease when it occurs, but to improve outcomes and reduce cost through earlier diagnosis and treatment of disease.
Our teams have already begun to develop technologies and solutions that help anticipate, adapt and react to patient needs beyond the hospital setting. For example, a recent global study of heart failure patients indicated certain benefits of a specific Medtronic algorithm found on the company’s cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices, compared to conventional biventricular pacing therapy.3,4,5
Like algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI), great potential exists in areas such as biosensors, augmented reality, and material science.
Additive manufacturing (3D printing) in the industry, alone, is expected to nearly triple by 2021.6
Navigating this new era of more personalized, precision medicine, we work with patients and clinicians every day to identify and address unmet needs across the healthcare system.
For example, while many wearables and implanted devices are already smart, connected, and controlled by patient input, we expect AI will help them to automatically adapt and anticipate patient needs in the future, providing a new approach to chronic pain management. This could significantly reduce the need for prescription painkillers among certain patient populations — reducing hospital admissions due to overdose, and helping address a nationwide opioid crisis that currently costs the U.S. $78.5 billion per year.7
With an eye towards managing system costs and improving outcomes, advanced design continues to enhance safety, quality, and durability of products. We already see significant progress in this space, with our minimally invasive tools that help surgeons with early detection and more targeted treatment of conditions like lung cancer and Barrett’s esophagus, a leading predictor of esophageal cancer.
Innovation in the surgical space continues, and in the future we believe more surgical procedures will be facilitated by robotic, navigational or automated technologies. Research by Cambridge Medical Robotics suggests robotic surgery will grow to five times its present scale by 2025.8 As more procedures become facilitated by this kind of technology, we see great potential across the care continuum for patients, and intend to be a leader in advancing computer-assisted minimally invasive procedures well into the future.
Our growing, global network of innovation centers provides critical insight to the nuances that exist in healthcare delivery from one region to another.
And at our Applied Innovation Lab in Minnesota, a 360-degree “holodeck” provides an immersive experience to help scientists and engineers understand the needs of healthcare providers in remote regions and identify root causes of barriers to care. Such technology played a key role during a 2016 pilot program in Ghana and Kenya that has since led to the creation of Medtronic Labs Empower Health™, a novel hypertension management model intended to reduce the burden and improve the efficiency of managing hypertension for both patients and clinicians in emerging geographies.9
The massive amount of data collected by today’s wearable and implanted medical devices provides insight to the healthcare realities of the future. Announced in late 2017, a new partnership between Medtronic and Mercy Health established a data sharing and analysis network that will help record clinical evidence — using anonymous patient data from implantable devices — to further medical device innovation and patient access to care.10
Backed by teams of experts spanning disciplines and cultures, Medtronic creates forums intended to accelerate R&D. The company’s Knowledge Center team has built a communications infrastructure for technical experts across the organization, including internal scientific conferences, symposiums, and an online collaboration platform.
We’ve seen firsthand how patients benefit from accelerated innovation. In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved our latest technology for type 1 diabetes — the world’s first hybrid closed loop system — with unprecedented speed.11
We envision a day in the near future when capabilities like 3D printing will allow physicians to order customized devices manufactured for specific patients; and training on the latest surgical procedures will happen using augmented reality. Longer term, with the help of our partners, we anticipate a day when chronic disease management becomes effortless for patients, cancer treatment is nothing more than a day procedure, and debilitating heart and brain conditions are not only more treatable, but entirely preventable.
For the millions of patients we serve, the future starts today. We invite you to share in the possibilities, and help us take healthcare Further, Together.
Read the Medtronic Perspective on Meaningful Innovation:
Meaningful Innovation: The Spirit That Drives Us (PDF)
Birnie D, et al. Continuous optimization of cardiac resynchronization therapy reduces atrial fibrillation in heart failure patients: Results of the Adaptive Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Trial. Heart Rhythm. December 2017;14(12):1820-1825.
Starling R, et al. Impact of a Novel Adaptive Optimization Algorithm on 30-day readmissions: Evidence from the Adaptive CRT Trial. JACC Heart Fail. July 2015;3(7):565-572.
Lemke B, et al. Atrial Fibrillation Resource Use with An Adaptive Device Algorithm. Presented at Cardiostim Congress 2014.