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10 April 2019

Amanda Silva, Diabetes Clinical Specialist, Medtronic ANZ

Attended Bio Melbourne Devices + Diagnostics Lab 2019 Conference in March 2019

Amanda (2)

Tenure with Medtronic: 2 years

Why did you attend the Event?

Aside from the fact I was asked if I would like to present my personal health journey at the BioMelbourne Network’s Devices and Diagnostics Lab conference, I saw this event as a great opportunity to showcase Medtronic as a great company to work for. Furthermore, it also provided me with the platform to personally express my gratitude – to Medtronic – for bringing their life-changing and life-saving technology to Australia.

What were the key takeaways from the Event?

What I was surprised to hear throughout the course of the conference, was that patient experience/ choice is becoming increasingly more significant in the medtech space. Historically-speaking, clinicians were generally given the final say as to which medtech brand/treatment their patients would receive, however in more recent times we’ve seen a shift. As patients are becoming more informed about their health, medtech companies are actively listening to the needs of these patients and proactively working with clinicians and their respective patients to adopt a more collaborative approach to healthcare management and treatment.

What were the most memorable moments from the Event?

Apart from openly sharing with some 160 delegates that ‘my daughter looked like a heffer when she was born (I know, what was I thinking?!), the standout presentation for me was led by one incredibly passionate person, Dr Rebecca Seagrave, Deputy Director of BrainPark® – Monash University’s new neuroscience research laboratory. BrainPark® has been dubbed a “playground for the brain” — essentially, it’s a state-of-the-art sanctuary to help people recover from addictions and compulsions. Impressively, BrainPark® “has five zones for its’ five ‘interventions’ or methods”: therapeutic virtual reality, brain stimulation, physical exercise, meditation/yoga and cognitive training. What I loved most about Dr Seagrave’s presentation was that it spoke to people from all walks of life and included a healthy balance of clinical and ‘holistic’ teachings.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge and opportunity in Australian medtech innovation?

In my opinion, the biggest opportunity and challenge in Australian medtech innovation is the utilisation and influence of AI. From personalised healthcare to smart AI-enabled medical devices, the opportunity to reach new heights in ‘true’ preventative healthcare is one which medtech companies are starting to pursue.

The biggest challenge with AI-enabled medtech centres around customer/patient data privacy, and data protection. It’s my understanding that the privacy and ethical considerations of personal data is still an evolving field, with tighter regulations expected in the not-too-distant-future. As a result, the rate of adoption of AI in medtech innovation may be impacted.

By this time next year, what matters relating to healthcare would you like to see solved and/or part of public conversation?

Mental health. Whilst we’ve seen an increase in mental health awareness over the past decade, I am of the opinion, that there is a lot more work to be done on the subject of ‘chronic disease and its impact on mental health’. ‘Burnout’ is a term used by some clinicians to describe the emotional exhaustion, frustration and in many cases depersonalisation patients experience as a result of living with chronic disease. As it is generally thought of by clinicians as a ‘secondary consequence of chronic disease’, appropriate discussion, and intervention, is not generally regarded as a priority. As someone who lives with a chronic condition, I am no stranger to ‘burnout’ and the mental, emotional and physical symptoms associated with it. I look forward to further addressing – and solving – this real-life health issue in the near future.

My Bakken Invitation Experience

20 February 2019


The blog is contributed by Ashley Ng who has been selected as a Medtronic Bakken Invitation honouree alongside 11 others from around the world in 2018. Read more on her story.

I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 19 years old. Through the first few years of my diagnosis, I went through a very lonely journey. I didn’t fit in anywhere because people had such defined ideas of diabetes. So I did what any lonely teenager did and started blogging about my experiences and reflections of living with diabetes. As I started Bittersweet Diagnosis,I began to accept my diabetes and became determined to make positive changes in my life. I continued to share my story in the hopes that it would help others feel less lonely and more hopeful in living with diabetes.

Little did I know that this would be the springboard of my diabetes advocacy. I became more confident in navigating the diabetes online community and made connections that changed my life. The diabetes online community empowered me to take charge of my own health and made me realise that I deserved a positive support community just like any other person with diabetes. I am so grateful to the diabetes online community for enriching my life that I was determined to give back to the diabetes community. I wanted to make sure that people living with diabetes got the support they needed no matter the type of diabetes they were diagnosed with.

Suddenly (well, over the space of many years), I am not only a diabetes advocate. I am a healthcare professional, a researcher and a lecturer. I feel privileged to be in this position to use my skills, knowledge and experience to give back to the diabetes community. My research focuses on empowering diabetes self-management through digital health and social media. Similarly, my diabetes advocacy work focuses on empowering, supporting and connecting diabetes advocates around the world so that we can learn from each other and have a platform to share our work and achievements.

And that is what Beta Change, stands for. Our vision is to create a world where diabetes will not be seen as a barrier to living your best life and we aim to do this by supporting change-makers around the world. We have shared the stories of advocates who refuse to let diabetes hold them back from their hopes and dreams. From achievements such as graduating college to government advocacy, each and every story matters. For us, if a story reaches and impacts one person with diabetes somewhere around the world, it is a success in our eyes.

For Medtronic co-founder, Earl Bakken, this was exactly why he started the Bakken Invitation Award. He believed that if each one of the 70 million patients did something positive with the extra life they received from their medical technology or procedure, the world would be a better place. In January, I was honoured to be one of the 12 honourees for this award. Together with our care partners/love ones, we travelled to Kona, Hawaii, the place he called home during his retirement, to learn more about his legacy and how to further our own work.

We travelled to local communities that Earl believed in and contributed towards. To these communities, Earl’s spirit, energy and passion lived on in each project he participated in. Throughout the Bakken Invitation Event, we reflected on our own journeys as advocates, who we are as individuals and as leaders in our community. We learned different strategies to maximise our reach and impact. Most importantly we were reminded that our own health comes first and to understand our limitations to be the best advocate we can be. And now, taking all the lessons, networks and reflections home, I’m looking forward to a robust and busy year ahead to continue Earl Bakken’s legacy.

A special note of thanks to Ashley for sharing her story with us. Named after the late Earl Bakken, the Bakken Invitation was launched six years ago to connect empowered patients who affect social change, transform healthcare and inspire others.



22 October 2018

John Gillespie PhD, Principal Analyst/Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Consultant, Health Economics, Health Policy & Reimbursement, Medtronic ANZ

Attended the 13th International Evidence-Based Health Care Symposium for the Central and Eastern European Society of Technology Assessment in Healthcare (CEESTAHC), Krakow, Poland 8-9th October 2018.


Tenure with Medtronic: 8.5 years

What motivates you to work in the ANZ medtech industry?

Enabling patient access to technologies that improve and extend lives.

Why did you attend the Event?

I was invited to speak – Medtronic have a long-standing relationship with CEESTAHC – and we have been building relationships in the global HTA community looking at the interplay between HTA (systematic evaluation of clinical and economic outcomes to inform reimbursement/access decisions) and Value-Based Healthcare.

What were the most memorable moments from the Event?

Finding out I was the second speaker on Day One….when my schedule said Day Two! Great to hear about the diversity of approaches used across the CEE region to improve outcomes for patients. Personally and professionally –  spending time in discussions with global KOLs was priceless – I came back to Sydney with some great ideas to help improve how medical technologies are evaluated.

By this time next year, what matter relating to healthcare would you like to see solved and/or part of public conversation?

We need evaluation and funding frameworks for new technologies not covered under existing mechanisms – e.g. non-implantables. We also need evaluation processes to be shorter and more efficient. Coverage with evidence development would be good too!




12 October 2018

Julian Swindells,  Senior Clinical Specialist/Clinical Lead, VIC, Medtronic ANZ

Attending Melbourne Marathon to support Insulin for Life

Julian Swindells VIC-11463

Tenure with Medtronic: 10 years!! I made it!

What motivates you to work in the ANZ medtech industry?

Being able to help people living with diabetes to get the best results using the latest technology developed my our team.

Why are you attending the Event?

To raise funds for Insulin for Life Global as part of the Fiona Kwok Screening Program, Fiona was a very dear friend and colleague at Medtronic.

What are you looking forward to most in the Running Event?

Raising money and connecting with like minded people!

By this time next year, what matter relating to healthcare would you like to see solved and/or part of public conversation?

Some public funding for Insulin Pump Therapy and support for adults to get CGM.




4 October 2018

Ranae Stokes, Sales Manager Coronary and Structural Heart NSW and NZ, Medtronic

Attended Elevate Leadership Program session one Hong Kong with one day mission in motion event at Ronald MacDonald house


Tenure with Medtronic: 8 years

What motivates you to work in the ANZ medtech industry?

I have always had a passion to make a difference in health care outcomes and innovative solutions for patient care.

Why did you attend the Event?

It was incorporated into the leadership development program.

What were the most memorable moments from the Event?

We arrived the first day after the Super Typhoon had hit Hong Kong and we didn’t know what to expect in terms of the devastation. However, the most memorable moment for me was realising that we were helping clean/cook and fix the debris in the gardens for very ill children and their families. It was not for aesthetic appeal, but to keep the immunosuppressed children safe from further illness or injury that could be life threatening for them.

By this time next year, what matter relating to healthcare would you like to see solved and/or part of public conversation?

Stroke prevention and access to technologies that can help prevent stroke.



4 October 2018

Phil Bird, Senior Manager, Professional Training & Development, MITG, Medtronic ANZ

Attended Elevate Leadership Program session one Hong Kong with one day mission in motion event at Ronald MacDonald house.


Tenure with Medtronic: 8 years

What motivates you to work in the ANZ medtech industry?

I having worked across different sectors in predominantly Sales related roles, it was the rate of innovation and how that innovation positively impacts patients that attracted me to the medtech industry.

Why did you attend the Event?

It was an incremental part of the Elevate Leadership program to support a philanthropic event.

What were the most memorable moments from the Event?

Like most of these types of events the people you meet and new connections you make across our organisation are the memorable moments but having the opportunity to help the team at Ronald MacDonald House provide a safe environment for their patients following the Typhoon is something I will not forget.

By this time next year, what matter relating to healthcare would you like to see solved and/or part of public conversation?

The challenge of providing affordable access to Cancer treatment needs to continue to be part of the conversation as the challenge increases with the rising cost of care and the increasing unavailability of treatments in public systems.


Feel the beat to prevent stroke

26 September 2018

Last week we were once again proud to support hearts4heart and the Stroke Foundation to raise  awareness of atrial fibrillation (AF) in our community during the Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Week (17 September to 23 September). Just because the Awareness Week has ended doesn’t mean community attention on AF should too.

AF is a particular type of irregular heartbeat. In a healthy heart, all four chambers beat at the same time, somewhere between 60 and 100 times per minute. If someone has an irregular heart, the left side of the heart (left atrium) beats rapidly and unpredictably and can beat irregularly at over 400 times per minute.

If left untreated or poorly managed, AF may lead to serious health complications, like stroke or heart disease. However fast and simple checks could help identify those at risk of stroke.

AF affects up to 460,000 Australians and causes around 36 percent of strokes. The condition costs the Australian economy at least $1.25 billion every year.

hearts4heart Chief Executive Officer Tanya Hall said Australians must act now to reduce their risk of stroke and heart disease caused by AF. Ms Hall said that AF was the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm but once detected, it can be managed.


hearts4heart Chief Executive Officer Tanya Hall

This year, hearts4heart and the Stroke Foundation urged people to attend a screening event in their local area or visit their own healthcare provider to get checked for AF. However checks for AF shouldn’t be restricted to just one week of the year – it’s important to pay attention to your health all year round.

According to the Stroke Foundation, while your risk of AF and stroke increases with age, anyone of any age may be impacted.

Currently, there is one stroke every nine minutes in Australia and by 2050 this number is expected in increase to one stroke every four minutes. Yet most strokes can be prevented.

More than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented by managing conditions – including AF – and living a healthy lifestyle.

Recognising the increasing incidence of AF in the community, Australia’s first guidelines for the diagnosis and management of adult patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) were released by the Heart Foundation and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ) in August. For more on the Guidelines.