Beyond the pandemic: Innovation to democratize healthcare


 Geoff Martha

Geoff Martha ,
Chief Executive Officer at Medtronic

Each year, the World Economic Forum (WEF) brings together global leaders to discuss ways to improve the state of the world. This year, that discussion was more important than ever. The virtual Davos Agenda called on leaders to find a more inclusive, cohesive, and sustainable future as soon as possible in 2021.

Building crisis-resistant healthcare systems in a post-COVID world

I was honored to be invited to join a discussion with leaders in healthcare whom I admire to talk about how we take a sustainable approach to making health systems more resilient.

More than a year into the pandemic, it is clear that when the pandemic subsides, we won’t be returning to life as normal. The ‘new normal’ will call on us to work in new ways and build on the learnings of the past year.

COVID has highlighted what we can achieve when we move with urgency, agility, and when we apply technology to healthcare. Beyond the crisis of a pandemic, the challenge is still in front of us to drive necessary alignment and move with speed to truly transform healthcare.

Healthcare is the top expense for most governments around the world. The pandemic has put the importance of healthcare in the global spotlight, while further highlighting continued access disparities. And post-COVID, there will be significant pressure to address costs and outcomes more than ever before.

Technology and innovation are the only solution

While the universal healthcare needs of lowering costs, improving outcomes, and expanding access may seem diametrically opposed, I believe we can deliver on all of these needs concurrently — through technology and innovation.

In fact, I believe innovation can democratize healthcare, much like how the internet democratized so many other things.

Agile innovation won’t happen without trust and collaboration

Beyond simply innovating, we must maintain agility in deploying new innovations. And this requires the private and public sector to work together.

Trust and collaboration have been critical throughout the pandemic to create surge capacity. And agile innovation in the future will demand both.

The digital revolution is fundamentally changing possibilities

Digital transformation and advancements in technology open up a whole new area of opportunity across healthcare. It’s what I like to call “putting the tech in medtech.”

Healthcare and technology are converging and the boom of innovation we will experience in the next 20 years is far greater than the past 100 years combined.

I’m proud of the way Medtronic has shown up during the pandemic, and I can’t imagine a more fulfilling time to be in healthcare technology. We are sitting at the nexus of two industries with so much potential and opportunity to improve lives.

The Medtronic Mission calls on us to improve human welfare by alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life. Each day, our employees are pioneering new trails to bring exciting innovations to bear that will contribute to a more sustainable future in healthcare.

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