For The Record with Mark Grant, Vice President of Strategic Channels, Diabetes Group, Medtronic

November 25  

 Mark Grant joined the Medtronic family in 2004. He is a health care industry leader that draws upon a strong foundation of 20+ years of combined experience in commercial leadership, channel development and strategic solutions. Mark is credited for his ability to thrive in an atmosphere of constant change within the medical device industry – while holding himself and his teams to high levels of accountability and resourcefulness. 

Currently, Mark serves as Vice President of Strategic Channels, Americas, within Medtronic’s Diabetes Group. His team is responsible for creating strategic collaborative relationships with payers, government, military, physicians, health systems and distributors to drive new market development, market expansion and sales execution. 

Mark’s teams are also focused on establishing strategic, value-based partnerships where stakeholders bear some or all the financial risk for patient outcomes. These at-risk, value-based healthcare partnerships focus on leveraging existing Medtronic capabilities as well as developing novel innovative services and solutions to deliver new business models and care models for health care markets across the Americas. Mark’s innovative partnerships have proven to not only expand market access for the Diabetes organization but has further entrenched the overarching Medtronic organization into these critical healthcare stakeholders. 

Mark received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology with concentrations in Technical Sales and Business from East Carolina University. He spends his free time as a novice fabricator and car builder, and enjoys travel, sports, and spending time with his family. 

In April, Medtronic and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota announced a new partnership that will tie reimbursement for the Guardian Connect continuous glucose monitor to outcomes. Value-based arrangements are oft discussed and rarely implemented, why has Medtronic decided to take a leadership role in this area?

Addressing healthcare needs of modern society requires a system that confronts our current healthcare challenges. One way to do this is by focusing on fee-for-value instead of fee-for-service. By implementing outcomes-based agreements, we believe we can help better manage patient conditions, control costs, and continue to drive and reward innovations.

Working with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is a perfect example of how an innovative partnership between a health plan and a medical device company can improve diabetes care. Making our Guardian Connect system more easily available to members of this plan will provide people with diabetes with the tools to help them achieve their best possible outcomes, so they can focus on living their life without constantly worrying about their glucose levels.

What was involved in creating this win-win arrangement? What were some of the obstacles that you had to overcome both together and within your own organization?

We have learned several key lessons in developing value-based agreements over the past several years:

  • The opportunity must be meaningful to all stakeholders: the health plan, patients, healthcare provider(s), and Medtronic.
  • You must understand what’s most important to your health plan partner.
  • You must understand the capabilities of the prospective plan partner.
  • Both organizations must have an appetite to be flexible and open to change.

It’s important to balance the ability to operationalize the agreement using appropriate clinical measurement(s), access to data, and financial mechanisms.

More specifically to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, we derived many important insights from the development process using patient journey mapping and claims analysis. These insights were central to design a solution that both addressed patient needs and aligned incentives. The work required an aligned vision, trust, and a significant resource commitment by both organizations.

Overcoming obstacles has been a key differentiator for Medtronic to create win-win arrangements with health plans. Navigating the complexities associated with benefit design, population selection, regulatory requirements, privacy, and intellectual property all must be approached carefully and require significant investment. Organizational alignment, dedicated working teams, and consistent communication have been key to addressing challenges will all successful arrangements.

Does Medtronic have plans to collaborate with other healthcare industry stakeholders (outside of insurers) to drive improved outcomes?

Absolutely. 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. We already have many outcomes-based agreements with large and small payors and we fundamentally believe in pursing more.

Where do you take this partnership next?

As we learn more through our agreement with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, we will together evaluate what can be improved and how we can keep patients engaged and motivated in their healthcare. We can continuously apply these learnings and become even smarter with how we execute and support these types of agreements over the long term.

Do you believe we will see other life sciences organizations and segments (e.g. pharmaceuticals) follow Medtronic’s lead or will these types of arrangements be slow to evolve in the industry? Why? 

There is a global struggle to contain the leading causes of mortality, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes, which account for 87 percent of all deaths in high-income countries.1 Healthcare costs, now at $948 per person per year globally, are increasing,2 and total global healthcare spend now exceeds $7.8 trillion.3 It’s clear that the current system must evolve, and Medtronic is proud to lead the way.

As Medtronic and other organizations begin to demonstrate the power of value-based healthcare arrangements, we believe there will to be interest by others to follow. However, these types of arrangements require organizations to behave differently, invest in resources required to deliver real change, and have the confidence in technology and services to tie reimbursement directly to outcomes. This may be a heavy challenge for some organizations.

1 World Health Organization. The Impact of Chronic Disease in High Income Countries. new window) Accessed September 1, 2015.
2 World Health Organization. Spending on health: A global overview. April 2012. new window) Accessed September 8, 2015.
3 Dieleman JL, Templin T, Sadat N, et al. National Spending on Health by Source for 184 Countries between 2013-2040. The Lancet. June 18, 2016;Volume 387, No. 10037:2521-2535. new window).
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