Our Story: Shifting to Disease Management
When Art Collins came on board as Medtronic's CEO in 2001, he recognized the opportunity to help with the long-term management of chronic diseases, which are becoming more prevalent and more expensive for patients to manage.
He led efforts to further integrate information technology and biologics with our devices to broaden their functionality. One example was the introduction of the Medtronic CareLink Network in 2002. It allows patients at home to download information from their implanted devices and send it securely over the Internet, to be reviewed by their physicians. The CareLink Network made follow-up care more convenient and less costly.
Today, 250,000 patients at nearly 2400 clinics in 20 countries are followed remotely using the Medtronic CareLink Network. Currently, CareLink is available for patients with select Medtronic cardiac and diabetes devices.
Our latest heart rhythm devices automatically and wirelessly transmit information through a CareLink home monitor to a secure Web site accessible from the physician's office – making it easier for physicians to manage patients' conditions long-term.
Biotechnology and biologics became another important part of the Medtronic product equation in the early 2000s. Substances that cause a biologic response when used with our products can result in better outcomes and faster healing.
For example, there is medicine using a naturally occurring protein made using recombinant DNA technology that helps the body grow its own bone. The medicine may be surgically implanted for a patient suffering low back pain associated with degenerative disc disease for which surgical fusion of the lumbar vertebrae is required or for a patient suffering from an open fracture of the tibia in the leg.
In 2001, Medtronic acquired MiniMed and became the leader in insulin infusion pumps for patients with diabetes. Diabetes treatment was a logical extension of our drug-delivery expertise. Today, we also offer continuous glucose monitoring systems that help patients better manage their glucose levels, giving them more freedom to enjoy foods and activities they love.
In 2007, Bill Hawkins assumed the key leadership role at Medtronic. Under his guidance, we're extending Medtronic's capabilities even further toward overall disease management. That means helping patients throughout the entire continuum of their care – from prevention to post-treatment follow up.
With our breadth and depth of expertise across more than 30 major chronic conditions, we recognize that we're uniquely positioned to play this larger role in the healthcare industry. It's a role we take on with great pride and commitment.