2016 Q3 Value-Based Healthcare: How will it help patients

Value-Based Healthcare:

How will it help patients?

Value-Based Healthcare

Keeping up with changes in the delivery of healthcare is as much a challenge for manufacturers as it is for diabetes educators who see patients everyday. However, we all have the same goals - helping patients with diabetes manage their disease better, and live healthier, fuller lives. For this issue, we chatted with Suzanne Winter, Group Vice President of Americas Region for Medtronic Diabetes, to gain insights into how Medtronic is working to meet these goals.

Q: Value-based healthcare is an emerging concept in the healthcare field. Can you explain value-based healthcare as it relates to diabetes management?


Value-based healthcare is driving change in the healthcare market place. The approach is based on the assumption that healthcare products, services and solutions deliver a positive impact, not only on clinical outcomes, but on patient satisfaction and improved economic outcomes. Increasingly, payment methods are being designed based on value-based methods and away from traditional fee-for-service.

As a company, we are taking the lead in our approach to value-based healthcare. Omar Ishrak, our CEO, has been a true pioneer and visible industry leader on this topic. We try to guide our discussions with payers, providers, employers and government to ensure our goals are aligned.

Ultimately we want to be measured not only by providing therapy, but also by the impact on clinical and economic outcomes. It’s exciting to help provide a standardized approach across our businesses that tap into knowledge, assets and resources to support the healthcare system for patient success.

The opportunity to improve is real, especially in diabetes. Despite the investment and innovation, we see increasing incidence in diabetes diagnosis and a massive cost impact to the healthcare systems, including costs associated with: pharmacy, readmissions, and complications due to diabetes. This means we need to assess how we are managing the diabetes population and look for ways to improve care. Improving the quality of care through continued technological innovation, providing increasing access to care, and an integrated care will ultimately lead to improving the costs of care and patient satisfaction.

Q: What solutions are your teams focused on to drive value-based healthcare? How do you see this impacting healthcare?


The Diabetes Service and Solutions Business Unit (BU) and the Non-Intensive Therapy BU have developed turning point solutions that are aimed at driving integrated care and patient engagement and adherence. There are currently three areas that we are approaching:

  1. Preventing readmissions due to diabetes/post-acute care
  2. Glycemic control
  3. Therapy optimization in type 1 and type 2

As we all know, diabetes is a disease that is largely self-managed up to 90% of the time. A patient sees their doctor for approximately 10 minutes every 90 days. Doctors can provide a plethora of information in a short amount of time. After the patient leaves, they are on their own to self-manage and making hundreds of decisions a day to manage their disease. Diabetes is also a data driven disease. The turning point solutions provide a health coach tool to encourage patient engagement so that patients are more inclined to adhere to the clinical plan. The goal is to increase patient engagement and adherence, which should improve overall glycemic control, and prevent readmissions due to a diabetic event.

Another exciting solution for the care team is iPro, professional CGM. It is a critical diagnostic tool that provides a retrospective look at the patient’s CGM profile. This facilitates patients and their care team to work together to identify and address treatment needs or determine how current therapy is performing. These are just a few, and as a company, we will continue to strive to provide reduced costs and improve outcomes.

Q: What is an integrated health system? How can it positively impact diabetes educators?


Integrated health delivery networks (IDNs) are large health systems that serve a market. IDNs include hospitals, clinics, physician groups, acute care and outpatient facilities. There are approximately 500 health systems across the nation and each with own strategies of delivering care to communities. Most face the same challenges with diabetes patients:

  • Endocrinologists offices are overwhelmed with patient demands
  • Primary care offices are seeing the majority of type 2 patients
  • Pharmacy costs are one of the fastest growing areas of payer costs
  • Patients discharged from hospitals are overwhelmed with navigating the healthcare system and follow-up instructions
  • Care throughout the healthcare system is not standardized and inefficient

We formed a team to work directly with the IDNs, payers, care delivery organizations, and employers to help optimize the coordination of care for patients through our devices and solutions. As such, a critical partner in this process will be our outstanding network of diabetes educators who can help us connect the dots on standardizing care. Educators play a big role – they are in the forefront actively involved in coordinating care. We want to partner with educators to establish the highest quality of care at all clinics at regional levels, exchange patient data across multiple health networks, and provide quality care to patients. Our goal is for patients to receive a standard of care at all clinics.

All of this is new to us, and it is different from what we have done in the past. Now more than ever, we are going to need the help from educators. We are on the same journey with the same goal: good patient outcomes and satisfaction.

Q: What has been your biggest learning experience throughout this process?

It’s been amazing to see the response from the health system. Together, we are all excited for the opportunity to transform and move away from fragmented care. Everyone understands that we can do it better and more effectively. It has been amazing to see the innovation in healthcare delivery. For instance, many healthcare systems are creating roles like Chief Innovation Office or Vice President of Population Health. I have seen new administrators coming from Disney and IDEO with “out of box” thinking and consumer focused mindset to approach integrated care for healthcare systems. Why is this happening? To date, patients are required to orbit and navigate the healthcare system to achieve quality care. Now, healthcare systems are focused on patients and putting the patient in the center.

We understand that clinical pathways are important, however, care must be individualized for each patient for optimal outcomes and behavior change. For us, it presents a real opportunity to provide our tremendous expertise in diabetes care, advanced technology, resources, and to help systems and educators achieve what they want to achieve. This is where we see an opportunity to work together, and we are very excited to see the transformation unfold.

Suzanne Winter, Group Vice President of Americas Region, joined Medtronic in July 2015 and is responsible for partnering with region and business unit leaders to provide innovative, long-term business and market development strategies aimed at working together to help more patients gain access to diabetes solutions and therapies in the U.S., Canada and Latin America. She is also responsible for advancing relationships with key customers, including government, payers, physicians, and strategic partners.

Suzanne came to Medtronic from GE Healthcare, where she most recently served as General Manager of the Detection and Guidance Solutions division and was responsible for the US Sales and Marketing organization. Prior to GE, she served as VP, Worldwide Sales, Marketing and Service at Alsius Corporation, and was Director of the Ultrasound Business Unit for Toshiba America Medical Systems, and held positions of increasing responsibility for Hewlett Packard Medical Products Group, where she led worldwide product introductions, including development of marketing, pricing, sales strategy, and training programs.

Suzanne earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Saint Lawrence University and an MBA from Harvard University Graduate School of Business.