Nov 4, 2021

Fostering healthcare innovation in Asia Pacific

Medtronic makes a series of bold moves to strengthen global partnerships and improve patient outcomes in the greater Asia Pacific region

Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has battered healthcare systems throughout the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. The toll has been particularly severe in underserved countries like India, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Thailand.

The strain on these healthcare systems comes at a time when the region’s aging population is creating serious challenges for developing countries with shortages of medical professionals and limited infrastructure – a dynamic necessitating a shift from acute care to chronic care management.

As a global leader in the healthcare technology industry, Medtronic is committed to tackling complex healthcare and social challenges in the APAC region. Recently, the company announced several new initiatives aimed at delivering life-saving technologies to the region and collaborating with local partners to build resilient healthcare ecosystems. Some of the initiatives include:

  • Launching the Medtronic Open Innovation Platform with the support of the Singapore Economic Development Board to identify and invest in promising medical technology and digital health solutions
  • Forming a strategic partnership with Stasis Health Private Limited of India to help scale up its artificial intelligence-powered bedside monitoring system
  • Enhancing early diagnostic capabilities of cardiac-related diseases in Singapore through a digital and AI-enabled platform established in partnership with Farrer Park Hospital
adding value
Medtronic Chairman and CEO Geoff Martha speaks at APACMed’s 2021 Med Tech Forum.

“We stand on the cusp of using data and technology to accelerate great advances in prevention, diagnosis and treatment,” said Medtronic Chairman and CEO Geoff Martha who recently shared the company’s vision for the future of healthcare at APACMed’s 2021 MedTech Forum. “With technology innovation accelerating faster than ever before, the future is here, the future is now. And it will take all of us working together to deliver on the promise of technology to improve patient lives across Asia Pacific and the world.”

Supporting tech innovation in Asia Pacific

No single company can solve the complex healthcare challenges facing Asia Pacific. Collaboration is essential to creating local solutions that improve patient outcomes. That’s why Medtronic recently launched the Medtronic Open Innovation Platform (OIP) with the support of the Singapore Economic Development Board.

This first-of-its-kind platform in the APAC region allows Medtronic to identify and invest in the best medical technology innovations from inside and outside the company. Under the OIP, the Medtronic APAC Innovation Challenge (MAIC) identifies innovative ideas from startups and business organizations. It builds upon a successful employee idea sourcing program, MDT Spark.

“Building on the entrepreneurial spirit that we share with other companies, including startups in the region, our Medtronic OIP serves as a launchpad for us to grow new ideas, empower an innovative ecosystem and translate collaboration into actionable outcomes,” said Chris Lee, senior vice president and president of Asia Pacific, Medtronic. “Medtronic is one of the best destinations for innovation and innovators due to its large and diverse portfolio across 70 disease states. This is indeed aligned to our new brand and bold ambition to become the global healthcare technology leader, with a focus on AI, robotics, automation, and digital health.”

adding value
Chris Lee, senior vice president and president of Asia Pacific, Medtronic, signs a Memorandum of Agreement with the Singapore Economic Development Board.

The OIP will also support the Digital Medtronic Innovation Center, a new digital experience center opening in Singapore in early 2022. A first in the APAC healthcare technology sector, the center will provide an immersive experience leveraging augmented and virtual realities, robotics, and other technologies and tools to accelerate technology adoption. It will also serve as the center where ideas from the MAIC will be nurtured and developed.

The MAIC launch builds on the experiences of previously piloted startup engagement programs in South Korea and Australia. Those programs identified six startup and business organizations which have entered partnership discussions with Medtronic.  

Creating ‘smart’ hospitals in India

To deliver quality healthcare to more people in Asia and around the world, Medtronic is tapping the power of digital technologies, artificial intelligence, and data. By launching a new strategic partnership with Stasis Health, Medtronic will help scale up the use of the Stasis Monitor, which uses predictive AI to remotely monitor patients, helping hospitals better manage staffing resources.

“The addition of the Stasis Monitor to our portfolio marks another important step in furthering our commitment to improving patients’ post-procedure experience,” said Medtronic India VP and managing director Madan Krishnan. “This is the first such partnership by Medtronic in India and we are proud to offer a solution that is completely manufactured in India, aligning with the government’s vision of ‘Make in India.’ This system can turn any hospital into a smart hospital within hours and, in the post-pandemic world, should help increase nursing productivity with the long-term goal of creating better outcomes.”

Martha told health leaders gathered at the APACMed MedTech Forum that he expects AI-based technologies and advanced data analytics to have a “profound” impact on healthcare in the future. But to make healthcare work for all, he said, it must first be accessible to more people.

“We have a wealth of technology at our fingertips,” Martha said. “We must harness this to address the challenges of today. And we must move with urgency. The world can’t wait for someday. Today, more than ever before, healthcare is at the epicenter of a changing world.”

Enhancing early diagnostic capabilities with AI

To enable early diagnosis of cardiac-related diseases, Medtronic Singapore is working with Farrer Park Hospital to provide a digital auscultation device with electrocardiogram and AI algorithm technology that identifies ‘the missing sound’ in people’s hearts that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Patients with structural heart issues or abnormal heart rhythms tend to get underdiagnosed in a typical examination with their primary care physicians. This can result in a large group of individuals who could potentially be at risk of sudden cardiac arrest, heart failure, and stroke. Through the partnership with Farrer Park Hospital, patients who visit general practitioners or health clinics for common coughs and colds can now receive early screenings for potential cardiac diseases.

Together with Farrer Park Hospital’s network of doctors, Medtronic can better support the community and enable earlier use of technology to save lives. With the partnership, Medtronic is focused on redefining the referral pathway, working with physicians to provide preliminary capabilities and, more importantly, offering local health systems life-transforming technologies to improve outcomes.

This program is part of a growth initiative in Singapore that started off as an employee-generated idea in MDT Spark.

“The talent pool across APAC is critical to the future of healthcare,” Martha said. “And our passionate team of nearly 10,000 employees across APAC looks forward to all that these collaborative partnerships will bring to Medtronic, the region and, most importantly, our customers and patients.”


Timely Insights from Thought Leaders
Learn More: Perspectives