Devices & Diagnostics

2011 healthcare innovation: Medtronic’s Ishrak, mHealth and more

Healthcare doesn’t do “memes” — at least not as much as the tech industry does. But 2011 showed that is changing. Amid the tidal wave-sized trends like healthcare reform, innovation in the life sciences and healthcare has started to take to the web. Now more than ever, concepts that will change healthcare forever were starting […]

Healthcare doesn’t do “memes” — at least not as much as the tech industry does.

But 2011 showed that is changing. Amid the tidal wave-sized trends like healthcare reform, innovation in the life sciences and healthcare has started to take to the web. Now more than ever, concepts that will change healthcare forever were starting not just in labs or through clinical trials or tech transfer offices, but online: through healthcare social media, open innovation and digitally minded startups and incubators ready to catch convergence by the tail.

MedCity surfed much of that wave in 2011. Below are some of our  best stories as they played out on our digital pages (based on what you were reading).

The Omar Ishrak Era Begins at Medtronic

Omar Ishrak arrived at Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) and things changed immediately in big ways and small. He embraced social media (somewhat). Then, he quickly told the industry how Medtronic would expand under Ishrak: an aggressive global push with a focus on India, a drive to increase revenue from its emerging health IT operations and a greater factoring of sustainability when developing products.

Ishrak had a largely it-is-what-it-is approach to U.S. healthcare reform. “As far as we are concerned, as long as we work on programs that provide better quality, lowers cost at the same time and provide technologies that improve access, then those are the right strategies to win in any healthcare system,” he said in September. “The specifics of the U.S. are the specifics of the U.S., and it’s complex. But at the end of the day, these three things need to be achieved in the U.S.” But he also said he favors the European approach to regulatory approval: One that seems to be getting products to market much faster.

More Health IT (Every Way Possible)

The mobile health revolution has arrived (even if everyone is still struggling to figure out what’s what). Four top-notch incubators have emerged in Blueprint Health, Rock Health, HealthBox and Startup Health. They are teaming with the likes of Kauffman Foundation and Mayo Clinic and are gathering startups across the country that let doctors answer questions through an app, manage prescription medications and better manage patient stress.

And other areas of health IT emerged: big data, innovations in electronic medical records and the increasing adoption of chief medical information officers.

Will this perspective on the future of healthcare data be a 2012 mantra?

“Organizations should not have information as a basis for competition. We should work to have data shared so [that] data can be assembled into the most complete picture we can get of an individual. Organizations should then compete on how well they serve an individual based on that information.”

A Sneak Peek: Your Job Will be Different Forever

Your job will be gone. Your job will be contracted. Your job will be exported. Your job will be based on your communication skills. Your job will be done online through Web-based products and you won’t ever see another person again. The future of work is not here, but its foundation was being built in 2011.

Cleveland Clinic’s (Business) Innovations

It was a coming-out party of sorts for Cleveland Clinic Innovations, the commercialization arm of Cleveland Clinic. Innovations started the year with the sale of one of its spinoffs to Boston Scientific, which netted the health system $28 million. It also made a groundbreaking commercialization partnership with another hospital system.

It built on its big Boston Scientific exit with big “entrances.” The leader of the Kansas Bioscience Authority joined the Innovations team to expand research collaborations and this month received an $11 million donation to help with its growth.

How has Innovation built its success? We got some insider insight on that this year: Chris Coburn, the leader of Cleveland Clinic Innovations, gets a share of the exits.

Mayo Clinic’s (Social) Innovation

Mayo Clinic’s digital dominance continued this year: It launched its own version of Facebook, a series of Spanish-language social media feeds and took over the healthcare twitter conversation during its healthcare social media conference. If you were linked with Charlie Sheen in 2011, you were, well, #winning.

The impact is bigger than Mayo. The world of content and information is changing because of healthcare social media. More and more, patients are looking to hospitals over traditional media for healthcare information.

Show me the money (NIH style)

Venture capital can’t be the only way to grow a life science business these days. So everyone is on the search for dollars (and who has them). Who has the NIH dollars? States like California, Massachusetts and New York, and institutions like Johns Hopkins, University of Pennsylvania and the University of Washington.

The New Face of a Blockbuster Drug

Benlysta won U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval this year — showing that the definition of blockbuster has changed: “expensive products targeting ever more specific segments of the patient population. And as GSK and other pharmaceutical companies continue working on biologics, expect more of this to come.”

Everyone Loves a Good Rivalry (and Good Doctors)

Everyone loves trash talk. How do we know? The single-most popular story in 2011 was about the storied sports-like rivalry between Cleveland Clinic and its neighbor, University Hospitals that included an allusion that, nowadays, healthcare rivalries nationally and locally may be the hottest ones around.

How’s this for trash talk, hospital style (from the story’s comments section): “I think most in the Clinic see it like this: “UH thinks it competes against the Clinic, the Clinic thinks there is no competition.” On the peds front, I hear the Clinic see’s more peds patients then Rainbow does. The Clinic’s peds specialties have doubled in the last few years. I think Rainbow better watch out.”

But people love something else about hospitals: good doctors, like the lists we ran of the greatest Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic doctors in history.

Here’s to an innovative and feisty 2012.