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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Medtronic harnesses technology and infrastructure to improve medical efficiency

A global healthcare solutions provider is changing the way Asian healthcare is delivered.

While several countries in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region have managed to buck the economic downturn in the West, their respective healthcare systems seemingly have not kept pace with the vast economic growth currently being enjoyed in the region. In the state of Maharashtra, India, for instance, access to quality healthcare is challenged by infrastructure concerns—there are simply not enough facilities to cater to patient demand.

Infrastructure deficit

This situation mirrors the infrastructure deficit seen elsewhere in India and in the region: in India, the ratio of cath (catheterization) labs to the country’s population is one to two cath labs per million population. In Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, the ratio is just as dire, with barely one cath lab for every 1 million population. This compares to 4-6 cath labs per million population in developed markets.

“A vast majority of patients requiring tertiary care are going to cities like Pune and Mumbai for treatment at present,” explains Dr. Paresh Doshi, chief executive officer and owner of Orchid Hospital,one of the many new facilities in the province supported by Medtronic Integrated Heatlh Solutions, which is dedicated to creating more access, lowering costs of care and improving quality by addressing market inefficiencies.

For physicians such as Dr. Doshi, the opening of Orchid Hospital and the support of Medtronic could not have come at a more opportune time. “Before we opened our facility, there was no large private sector hospital anywhere in North Maharashtra,” Dr. Doshi adds.

Medtronic Integrated Health Solutions has been working with mid-size and entrepreneur-led private, multispecialty hospitals to facilitate access to capital, build new care infrastructure, and support hospital expansion plans. In fact, hospitals in India have aggressive expansion plans to respond to the gap in access with 50% – 60% planning to increase bed-strength and add cath labs.

Market inefficiencies

Five types of market inefficiencies limit the growth of APAC’s healthcare systems at present: 1) Patient flow – low diagnosis and treatments rates are further compromised by the inadequate number of trained medical staff and localized care pathways, 2) Material flow - high channel margins and channel costs result in markups, 3) Capital flow – high cost of capital for healthcare infrastructure limits expansion in developing markets, 4) Operational flow - lean and best-in-class practices for nonclinical operations management through operational excellence are lacking, and 5) Data flow - linking of patient data to individual patients for better risk assessment and patient management are needed.

“At Medtronic, our Integrated Health Solutions team is systematically diagnosing inefficiencies in the local market context and developing solutions to address them in order to better align value, increase access to care and improve clinical outcomes,” says Dr. Sundeep Lal, Medtronic Vice President, Integrated Health Solutions, APAC.

Aside from hospital partnerships, Medtronic is also targeting specific diseases such as HF (heart failure), a leading cause of death and re-hospitalization with half of HF-afflicted patients dying within five years of diagnosis.

However, it is difficult to accurately estimate the incidence, prevalence, outcomes and key causes of heart failure, particularly in developing markets.

To address these challenges, CARE Hospitals, a multispecialty large healthcare chain of hospitals in India, and Medtronic entered into a strategic partnership to set-up specialized HF Clinics. “With our combined clinical and technical expertise, we intend to optimize care and outcomes for HF patients across the care continuum. This enhanced therapy delivery and management of HF will improve patient outcomes,” says Dr. N. Krishna Reddy, CARE hospitals co-founder.

Improved patient care

Building on Medtronic‘s unique combination of resources, process optimization expertise and therapy knowledge, cost and efficiency concerns can be addressed for improved patient care. Medtronic is in the process of implementing similar partnerships across APAC to address the unique needs of healthcare systems and to improve access, quality, cost and efficiency. They are committed to forging new and stronger partnerships with those who are equally committed to delivering seamless, integrated care and taking healthcare Further, Together.
 

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