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Omar Ishrak, Medtronic CEO, Unplugged

Omar Ishrak, CEO of Medtronic, is steering the largest pure-play medtech company at a time of great tumult and change in the industry. In a wide-ranging interview, Ishrak provides answers about the future of medtech and much more.

Omar Ishrak, CEO of Medtronic, is steering the largest pure-play medtech company at a time of great tumult and change in the industry. In a wide-ranging interview, Ishrak provides answers about the future of medtech and much more. 

Arundhati Parmar

Back in August, MD+DI sat down for a 40-minute interview with Omar Ishrak, CEO of Medtronic, at the medtech company's erstwhile headquarters in Minnesota.

The discussion was far-ranging. We talked about innovation, accountable care, mobile health technologies and everything in between.

In discussing innovation, Ishrak was categorical in defending the internal talent of the company that has brought novel products like Reveal Linq, the implantable cardiac monitor, to market. But he also stressed the importance of understanding that the company would freely acquire innovation by buying startups building promising technologies or solutions.

 

 

Medtronic is also more keen on taking financial risk for the innovations it commercializes. Here's Ishrak discussing the new trend of entering into risk-based purchasing contracts with hospital customers.

 

Entering in risk-based contracts necessarily means buying wholeheartedly into the notion of value-based care and accountable care. In fact, Ishrak has emerged as medtech's Mr. Accountability. Here he is discussing why outcomes-based reimbursement should be the path that not just hips and knees but other categories of devices should be under as well. [The video below occurred before the final rule governing the new bundled payment for hips and knees went into effect.]

 

In fact, Ishrak firmly believes that the very future of medtech is dependent on embracing outcomes-based and value-based care. Here he is discussing what he believes is the biggest threat facing the industry. 

 

In embracing value-based care, medtech companies have to understand that their fates are inextricably linked to the health and financial well-being of hospitals. And medtech companies like Medtronic have the heft to be able to offer services that can help hospitals achieve certain efficiency and cost aims. But for Ishrak, Medtronic's foray into the world of hospital services is as much about changing outcomes as it is to help hospitals weather the changing healthcare paradigm.

 

In wanting to become a more relevant player in the changing industry, Medtronic also desires to play a bigger role in the world of diabetes patients. No longer does the company want to be just a maker of pumps and sensors for Type 1 diabetes patients. It wants to play in the broader, Type 2 market and also wants to provide better patient services. Here's Ishrak again describing his aspirations for the company in the diabetes market.

 

Playing in a consumer-oriented diabetes market means that a medtech company like Medtronic must understand the consumer-oriented digital and mobile health technologies that are proliferating the marketplace. Ishrak finds these powerful but believes that these technologies must be linked to Medtronic's therapies - they cannot work in isolation - for maximum benefit.

 

Arundhati Parmar is senior editor at MD+DI. Reach her at [email protected] and on Twitter @aparmarbb

 

Learn more about the medtech industry trends at MD&M West, Feb. 9-11, at the Anahein Convention Center, Anaheim, California.

 

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