Sep 21, 2021

B20: World is on the Brink of a 'Revolution' in Healthcare

Business 20 leaders to make sweeping recommendations to improve global healthcare.

Healthcare business leaders, including Medtronic Chairman and CEO Geoff Martha, are finalizing sweeping recommendations to global government leaders that are designed to provide better healthcare to more people around the world.

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Geoff Martha
Medtronic Chairman and CEO

“Right now there’s nothing healthy about healthcare,” said Martha. “Healthcare spending is going up, not down. People are going into hospitals sicker than ever. In countries all around the world, there are wide inequities among racial, ethnic and social groups. And all of this is further compounded by issues of access. We should not accept this.  The world can’t wait for someday. We must accelerate the future. We have the opportunity to do that.”

Martha co-chaired the Business 20 (B20) Health and Life Sciences Task Force, which was charged with delivering actionable healthcare policy recommendations to the Group of 20 (G20) government leaders. The B20 is the G20’s official dialogue forum with the global business community. B20 leaders announced during a virtual discussion on September 20 that they intend to make three key recommendations to G20 leaders, urging them to:

  • promote the strategic use of science, technology and data to accelerate the pace of healthcare innovation;
  • invest in healthcare to help make it an economic driver and push the transition to value-based healthcare models;
  • build resilient and sustainable healthcare systems.
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“We stand in front of an unprecedented wave of innovation and new solutions in healthcare, particularly in the life sciences,” said task force co-leader Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer. “This bio-revolution will be instrumental in curing previously untreatable diseases. Health is truly a global conversation, and there’s no better place to own this conversation than the G20.”

The B20 recommendations will urge close collaboration on regulation, research and data exchange to speed the process of innovation and spread higher quality healthcare to more people.

“Data is critical to improving health outcomes and delivering at the speed and scale today’s world demands, making healthcare more predictive, and personal,” Martha said. “Data will drive advancements in developing smart medical devices. It’s the currency going forward in healthcare.”

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Geoff Martha discusses healthcare recommendations during B20 Health and Life Sciences Task Force virtual meeting on September 20, 2021.

“We must accelerate the pace of innovation and create a new normal in global healthcare,” added Task Force Chair Sergio Dompe, CEO of Italy’s Dompe Pharmaceuticals. “Harnessing the converging worlds of genes, cells and data presents with us a generational opportunity to use science and innovation for the greater good.”

A key theme of the Sept. 20 B20-G20 dialogue was the call for governments to adopt an investment mindset toward health, recognizing healthcare as an economic driver, not a cost burden.

“We need to increase funding for global and national health systems in order to overcome decades of underinvestment,” said Italian Minister of Health Roberto Speranza.

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Rob ten Hoedt
Medtronic EVP and President, Europe, Middle East, and Africa Region

The B20 recommendations will also focus on the importance of value-based models to the future of healthcare. Value-based healthcare involves restructuring healthcare systems to reward outcomes instead of activity, thereby also lowering costs of care. Rob ten Hoedt, EVP and President, Europe, Middle East, and Africa Region at Medtronic, shared the company’s experiences with value-based models surrounding diabetes and obesity. “Policies need to change. It’s hard work right now to pivot into the existing reimbursement models. But we are seeing positive evidence that value-based healthcare works. It’s time to stop piloting these models and start scaling them,” he said.

The B20 recommendations are the result of months of teamwork by various global healthcare business leaders. B20 leaders, including Martha, will officially present their recommendations at the B20 Summit in Rome October 7 and 8, ahead of the G20 Global Summit later in October. G20 nations represent 70% of the world’s population, 75% of international trade and 80% of global economic output.

“I am optimistic for the revolution in innovation emerging globally, where providers recognize the positive role that the healthcare technology industry will play. But the policy environment must advance and innovate in parallel to better enable the great potential benefits for patients and healthcare systems,” said Martha.

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