Medtronic and Lehigh Valley Health Network team up to improve healthcare and lower costs

In Pennsylvania’s historic Lehigh Valley, change is underway that could affect hundreds of thousands of people the next time they see the doctor.

Medtronic and the eight hospitals in the Lehigh Valley Health Network are teaming up on a groundbreaking partnership, designed to bring better medical care to more people at a lower cost. It’s a bold step toward value-based healthcare.


Lehigh Valley Health Network

Brian Nester, President and CEO of Lehigh Valley Health Network, addresses the media, announcing the partnership with Medtronic.

“This is the kind of forward thinking we’ll need in reaching out with our partners at Medtronic to improve our community,” said Brian Nester, President and CEO of Lehigh Valley Health Network. “This is the future of healthcare, and we’re about to begin developing it right here in Lehigh Valley.”

Value-based healthcare is a revolutionary concept. Rather than getting paid just for their products or performing procedures, companies and healthcare providers are reimbursed based on better outcomes for the patient.

“It’s our goal that over time, all healthcare programs will be value-based programs,” said Omar Ishrak, CEO of Medtronic. “That's where healthcare has to go.”

Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Chief of Pulmonary Medicine, Dr. Robb Kruklitis, expects Medtronic to bring much more than technology to the partnership. He says Medtronic may also help develop public education programs to reach more at-risk patients and advise on ways to optimize a patient’s pathway through treatment or streamline surgical procedures.

“We need to be able to see more patients, we need to find the cancers early, we need to get them to treatment quicker. That's how we're going to add value to treating lung cancer,” said Kruklitis.

The partnership involves all of Medtronic’s businesses and will initially focus on 10 to 15 health conditions, including bariatrics, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Part of the financial structure of the arrangement is based on whether the technology or service demonstrates better outcomes for patients or reduces costs.

“Our goal here is to do multiple programs that are focused on value, across multiple service lines at the health system, and really help them in their transformation to a value-based model,” said Christian Howell, Senior Director of Enterprise Partnerships at Medtronic.

The other critical aspect of the partnership is data. Medtronic and Lehigh Valley have brought together expert analytics teams to crunch anonymous patient data from health records, claims information, and medical devices.

That information can help identify patients who would benefit from home monitoring – reducing costly return trips to the doctor or emergency room.

“If a patient who is at high-risk is discharged from the hospital, we can create registries and proactively reach out to that patient to ensure they have all the care they need at home,” said Debbie Salas Lopez, Chief Innovation Officer at LVHN. “All the proper medication, and all of their social needs addressed, so that when they go home, they don’t return to the hospital unnecessarily,” she said.


Omar Ishrak, CEO of Medtronic

Omar Ishrak, CEO of Medtronic, addresses the media, discussing the partnership with Lehigh Valley Health Network.

“Imagine if we leveraged those same technologies and data analytics to tell us which segments of the population are most prone to certain conditions,” said Nester. “And then we develop new technologies that ultimately allow us to prevent these conditions from happening in the first place. The possibilities for this affiliation are endless,” he said.

Ultimately, Medtronic and Lehigh Valley expect to team up on at least 70 medical conditions, impact as many as half a million people, and save at least 100 million dollars in healthcare costs over five years. The goals are big. The potential impact is even bigger.

“The point about this is that if you actually reach the goals there's no question that that's the right thing,” Ishrak said. “There's no controversy. There's no debate. No one in the world can question that improving patient’s lives at a lower cost is a good thing.”


We believe Medtronic has a unique role to play in the move toward aligned, value-based care, but we know we can do even more by working with others. If your organization shares the belief that progress is possible by working together, we’d love to explore opportunities with you. Let’s take healthcare Further, Together.


Read the Medtronic Perspective on Aligning Value:
Medtronic Moves to Align Value Across the Healthcare Ecosystem (PDF)