Oct 7, 2021

Investing in Health on a Global Scale

Medtronic Chairman and CEO Geoff Martha played a pivotal role at the B20 Summit in Italy

Medtronic Chairman and CEO Geoff Martha urged world leaders gathered at an international summit in Italy this week to move swiftly to support policies that enable better healthcare for more people around the globe.

“The pandemic has been a wakeup call in demonstrating how we must adopt an investment mindset toward health,” Martha said. “And we must rethink the speed and scale at which the world can be served.  I know we can help more people, in more meaningful ways, and we can do it a whole lot faster. While some people are benefiting from various health systems around the world, too many are not. And we have an opportunity to change that.”

adding value

Martha delivered his remarks at the Business 20 (B20) Global Summit in Rome where a consortium of international business and government leaders worked to advance a series of policy recommendations to the Group of 20 (G20) which holds its Global Summit later this month. The B20 is the G20’s official dialogue forum with the global business community. 

As a co-chair of the B20 Health and Life Sciences Task Force, Martha guided many of the important healthcare policy conversations at the B20 Summit, which was expected to draw such dignitaries as United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen; Amazon’s founder and executive chairman, Jeff Bezos; and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Italy is hosting both the B20 and G20 Global Summits.

Investing in healthcare to support global economies
During the B20 Summit, the Health and Life Sciences Task Force made three actionable policy recommendations. Those recommendations included:

  • Promoting the strategic use of science, technology, and data to accelerate the pace of healthcare innovation
  • Investing in healthcare to help make it an economic driver and push the transition to value-based healthcare models
  • Building resilient and sustainable healthcare systems

By adopting these policy recommendations, world leaders will take a crucial step toward transforming healthcare on a global stage, said Sergio Dompé, CEO of Italy’s Dompé Pharmaceuticals, who chaired the Health and Life Sciences Task Force with Martha.

And now is the time to act, he said.

“We are in an unprecedented and exceptional situation,” Dompé said. “The COVID epidemic gave us [a very sharp signal] that health is wealth. It’s impossible to think about an economy flourishing without taking care of healthcare. It’s an investment, not an expense.”

As the world’s largest medical device company, Medtronic is in a unique position to drive many of the policy recommendations presented at the B20 Summit. By using tools like artificial intelligence (AI), robotic-assisted surgery, data analytics, and predictive modeling, the company is already creating a bold new era in personalized medicine, one where technology makes healthcare more efficient, accessible, and equitable.

Data, Martha said, is one of the keys to unlocking new advancements in healthcare.

“For example, imagine a diabetes insulin pump that learns your patterns and gives you personalized guidance to better manage your health,” Martha said. “The potential also goes beyond improving the performance of individual devices. There is an opportunity to improve healthcare overall. With the advent of 5G, we can transport data faster, like millions of images and videos from surgeries around the world to train other physicians to make them better. We can democratize the best surgeons’ skills with technology. And data is also the means to track outcomes and costs, and to set models for achieving better results in relation to the money spent. Many people refer to this as value-based healthcare.”

Martha’s first international visit as CEO
Prior to the B20 Summit, Martha met with employees, customers, and government officials as part of his first international trip since becoming the CEO of Medtronic in April 2020, just after the COVID-19 pandemic erupted.

During meetings with Italian and international leaders, Martha championed partnerships between the public and private sectors that help democratize healthcare while strengthening local economies.

“Investments in health not only benefit patients, they benefit the economy,” Martha said. “It’s estimated that the incremental economic benefit could be 2-4 dollars or euros for every 1 dollar or euro invested in better health. To achieve even better results, it’s important to invest wisely. Too often investment flows only to buildings. We need more innovation and investment in effective and efficient ways to deliver care.”

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