That’s the lesson a young Earl Bakken took, quite literally, to heart from Boris Karloff’s classic rendition of Frankenstein. Years later, when the world-renown Dr. Walter Lillehei from the University of Minnesota asked him to develop a battery power system so that pacemaker patients would no longer be in danger of dying if their care facility lost power in a storm, Bakken did much more than that: He used electricity to bring life back to patients.
His wearable pacemaker, the very first of its kind, meant that heart patients were no longer bound to the microwave-sized pacemakers of the past that needed to be plugged in. Instead, they could carry the device with them and live largely as they had before, giving them the life they once had back.
In co-founding Medtronic, Bakken ensured that his influence would go far beyond cardiac patients. The company is now a leader in diabetes care, neuromodulation, patient monitoring, and numerous other healthcare specialties. But Bakken’s tremendous influence doesn’t stop with patients.
Seeing that one of Minnesota’s greatest strengths was its collaborative healthcare ecosystem, Bakken, together with Lee Berlin of 3M and then-Governor Rudy Perpich, founded the Medical Alley Association to raise the profile of the community and the draw attention to the incredible work being done here. We strive to live out Bakken’s vision for the community by helping to strengthen the ties that connect community members, grow the next generation of companies developing life-changing healthcare solutions, and elevating Medical Alley as the global epicenter of health innovation and care.
Though Bakken died last weekend at the age of 94, his influence will continue far into the future. It will live on in the patients who wear his inventions, in the myriad people who benefit from Medtronic’s products, and in the world-class health technology and care community that he both founded and nourished. As long as Minnesota is a leader in patient-focused healthcare, Earl Bakken lives on.
6 Questions is a new interview series with Medical Alley leaders on the future of healthcare. Medical Alley Association’s membership includes leaders in healthcare delivery, payment, technology, and policy, which gives us – and in turn, you – access to diverse perspectives on how healthcare is changing and what lies ahead.
Medical Alley is the global epicenter of health innovation and care; 6 Questions, is meant to share insights and spark discussion. If you have a perspective on the future of healthcare, feel free to share it by reaching out to Frank Jaskulke, Vice President of Intelligence at email@example.com
This interview with Kyle Rolfing, President & Co-Founder of Bright Health, has been lightly edited for clarity and length.To see more, click the button below.
Will the future of healthcare be most significantly defined by reigning in costs or accelerating outcomes?
Both, and the key to both reigning in costs and improving outcomes will be addressing waste and redundancy. That’s one of the things we’re most proud about at Bright Health. Addressing waste and redundancy is at the center of the Bright Health Care Partner Health Plan model. By partnering with one health system per market, we are able to streamline the process of approvals and referrals, reduce duplicate and/or unnecessary testing, and ultimately enhance our providers’ ability to deliver coordinated care across their systems. This next generation health plan cuts down on time and money while also delivering better healthcare.
What is the definition of value in healthcare today and what should it be?
In any other industry, value is defined by the consumer. In healthcare that hasn’t been the case for a long time. Consumers should be defining value in healthcare like any other industry, and we are beginning to see a shift in that direction.
For example, we know that affordability is a huge issue for consumers and healthcare is simply not affordable for many of them. In addition, for the cost they are paying, they expect to have high quality, convenient service, and our fragmented healthcare system is a long way from delivering that. But there are signs we are headed in the right direction – finding ways to provide high-quality, more affordable healthcare to the majority of hard-working Americans is our priority #1 at Bright Health.
What’s the biggest “blind spot” in healthcare today?
The biggest “blind spot” is the lack of focus on the consumer as the customer. The fee-for-service relationship between payers and providers results in fragmented care that treats pieces and parts rather than the whole person.
Value-based care, which is the goal of the Bright Health model, does treat the whole person, optimizes health outcomes and is critical to redefining the system as consumer-centric.
What’s your company’s or sector’s biggest “blind spot?”
This answer is the same as above, and it captures why Bright Health is pioneering a new Care Partner Health Plan model. By working with one health system in each market, we remove the friction that has traditionally existed between payers and providers, resulting in an integrated, streamlined experience for the consumer.
Why is a presence in Medical Alley, critical to your company?
Talent is the most important factor in success. Our decision to be headquartered in Minneapolis was intentional because of the immense healthcare talent that exists here. Minnesota has healthcare industry leaders like Medtronic, Mayo Clinic, United Healthcare, and Boston Scientific, among others. In addition, you have companies like General Mills and Target who are at the intersection of healthcare and the consumer. Given the focus of our company – on providing the best consumer healthcare experience – we think being able to draw from these talent pools has been a huge contributor to our early success.
What is the one thing, other than time or money, you wish you had more of?
Speed. We have been fortunate with the great talent we’ve been able to attract as well as the strength of our Care Partners. This combination has allowed us to prove that our model works out of the gate. As a result, we’ve been able to attract top investors and have access to plenty of capital: we expanded from 1 market to 3 in the first year and are adding 12 new markets this year. But we really want to get this solution out to as many consumers as quickly as we can because we know it’s so needed in the marketplace.
Worldwide medtech sales forecast to reach $595 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 5.6%, anchored by familiar players
Neurology set to be the fastest-growing device area with a CAGR of 9.1% between 2017 and 2024; diagnostic imaging and orthopedics will be the slowest, with annual growth of just 3.7% between these years
Medtronic remains the leading medtech company in 2017 with sales of $30bn and will remain at the top in 2024 with sales forecast to reach $38.9bn
The EvaluateMedTech World Preview 2018 highlights trends in medtech and includes consensus sales forecasts by device area to 2024, the top 20 companies in 2024, R&D spend current and future and FDA approvals.