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My Stroke Story: Keely [Sydney, Australia]

27 October 2017

Sunday 29 October is World Stroke Day. Learn more at https://strokefoundation.org.au.

MY STROKE STORY by Keely. A member of the Medtronic team in Sydney, Australia.

Keely Blog

I have proudly worked for Medtronic for 11 years. I realised early that the likelihood that a family member or friend would benefit from our therapies was quite high- this was greatly increased when Medtronic and Covidien joined forces. Unfortunately, the personal experience I am sharing is about my Dad not having access to our therapies.

My father is the patriarch glue that holds our family together. He is my hero, my coach and the smartest man I know.  I am a quintessential, “Daddy’s Girl”

When I moved from California to Sydney with Medtronic in early 2016, my biggest fear was that something would happen to my parents and I would be half a world away.  This fear was realised early on Sunday, April 24th. While visiting my sister to celebrate her son’s birthday in Shawnee, Oklahoma, my Dad suffered an ischemic stroke (Large Vessel Occlusion-MCA) 

My Biggest Fear

At 4 am in Sydney, I woke up to multiple missed calls and texts informing me that my Dad had a stroke. Unfortunately, I received the news 6 hours after his stroke.  When I received the news, I broke down because I know enough about stroke to know it can be absolutely devastating. I immediately booked a flight and got in touch with the Neurovascular TM in Oklahoma City, Weneva Edge.

I have great pride in working for Medtronic and have always been impressed by the mission focused employees at Medtronic. Everything in my last 11 years at Medtronic pales in comparison to what I experienced when I engaged with Weneva.  Immediately, Weneva became our “Stroke Coach” and my Dad’s 4th daughter.  Weneva guided our family through an incredibly scary experience with her kindness, strength and clinical knowledge. She was a beacon of light in a very dark situation.

Weneva spent hours on the phone with our family to help our family navigate the complexities of this situation. She educated us on the standard of care, communicated the complexities of post-stroke care and the importance of Comprehensive Stroke Centres for optimal treatment and recovery. Without being asked, Weneva leveraged her amazing relationships with the Stroke team at Oklahoma University and helped us navigate the complexities of initiating a transfer.

After speaking with Weneva, my sister Valerie and I worked tirelessly with my mom to advocate for my dad to be transferred. My dad had the stroke in Shawnee and was given Tissue Plasminogen Activator [tPA] locally at the emergency room. Unfortunately, the hospital decided to transfer him within network bypassing THREE comprehensive stroke centers with Clot Retrieval technologies-literally driving by them. After mandating for a computed tomography angiography [CTA], they finally gave him one 13 hours after his stroke. When my mum asked for a transfer, they threatened that she was transferring my dad without medical advice and would be 100% liable for the hospital charges. After hours advocating and multiple case workers, the hospital relented. At 4 am- 22 hours after his stroke, my father was finally transferred to a comprehensive stroke center, outside the current window to benefit from Medtronic’s clot retrieval technologies.

It is heartbreaking that my Dad was unable to benefit from Medtronic’s technologies, but we are very fortunate that he is recovering quite well due to a well-established collateral network.  However, it will always be pre-stroke and post stroke for my Dad and for our family- our family is forever changed.

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A special note of thanks to Keely for sharing her story with us, and our community. Visit https://strokefoundation.org.au to learn more about stroke. Recognise the signs of stroke:

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Medtronic have PRIDE

24 October 2017

At Medtronic, diversity, inclusion, and engagement aren’t just buzzwords — they’re part of our Mission to recognise the personal worth of all employees. We deliver on our Mission in a variety of ways including support of our Employee Resource Groups [ERG].

Medtronic PRIDE formed earlier this year in Australia and New Zealand to provide a community for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Medtronic employees and their allies. Medtronic supports policies that further create and support equal treatment for all persons.  The company stands committed not only to promoting an inclusive global work environment but also to fostering a world where Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) individuals and their families are accepted, safe and valued.

Not surprisingly, one area of interest to this group is the Marriage Law Postal Survey in Australia. The survey, which is open until 6pm on 7 November 2017, asks eligible Australians on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll: should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry? Yes or No.Catherine King_Marriage Equality

We recognise the outcome won’t be as simple as yes, or no. The consequences extend beyond the contract of marriage. They impact health – wellbeing – and worth. The Hon. Catherine King MP, Shadow Minister for Health and Member of the Australian House of Representatives [pictured] recently stated:

“It’s a ridiculous proposition when the evidence is clear — this isn’t just a social issue, it’s a health issue… Failing to implement marriage equality is a form of social exclusion, a discriminatory environment which has been documented to foster feelings of lack of acceptance, rejection and low self-esteem.

We agree the debate is not healthy and a resolution is needed. We encourage all eligible community members to use their voting privilege and vote positively for a healthy Australia.

Meet a member of Medtronic Pride: Nicki Elkin, Retail Division Manager, MITG. Tenure with Medtronic: Five years

Medtronic Macquarie-000536

Tell us about the Medtronic Pride Employee Resource Group

The Australia and New Zealand Medtronic PRIDE group was established this year, with the objective to promote an inclusive work environment where Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) employees and their families are accepted, valued, and free of prejudice and discrimination. Our mission is to spread awareness, understanding and sensitivity to build a safe and respectful work environment that creates a culture of inclusion, equality and respect for all employees.

Why is it important to you to be part of Medtronic Pride?

We all spend a significant proportion of our lives at work, and I strongly believe that everyone should feel comfortable there.    I am part of the LGBTIQ community, and have experienced homophobia in various workplaces. I have felt uncomfortable about ‘coming out’, fearing the response I might receive. Much of this was probably my own internal fear, but I don’t believe that anyone should have to have that experience. I want to be part of creating an organisation that proactively creates and works really hard to promote a positive culture; where no one is ever unsure about the response they will receive.

How would you vote in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, and why?

YES!

This is much more than a vote about marriage. There are young people growing up in Australia today who may be questioning their sexuality or gender. If our country says you can marry whoever you love, regardless of gender, this will help them grow up feeling that who they are is OK. If Australia says NO, these young people will get the strong message that there is something wrong with them; that it is not acceptable to be different. I know personally what a damaging message this is for a young person to hear.

LGBTIQ people have significantly poorer mental health and higher rates of suicide than other Australians. Self-harm and suicide rates for same-sex attracted young people are six times higher than for their heterosexual peers.

If allowing marriage equality can send a positive message to LGBTIQ people, can create a more positive environment for LGBTIQ people to grow up in, and can, in any way, lessen their feelings of exclusion – why not?!

What is your message to Australian’s unsure of how to vote?

Please vote YES. I know there has been confusing information shared within the community. Consider this

  • Religious Marriage will not change – it is separate from civil marriage and religious leaders will still be able to refuse to marry whoever they want, including same-sex couples
  • Parenting won’t change – same-sex couples are already able to raise families, have access to IVF, foster, adopt and be named on birth certificates as parents
  • Schooling won’t change – any changes to the Safe Schools programme will be made independently to any change to the Marriage Act

So, why do same-sex couples want the right to marry?

  • Married parents have clear legal parental rights over their children. Allowing same-sex couples to marry will give them these same rights, and strengthen family bonds
  • In the event of your partner’s illness or death, being married gives you clear rights and entitlements that de facto couples do not have. Allowing same-sex couples to marry will give them these same rights, allowing them to make critical decisions in this really difficult time
  • Marriage is recognised in our society as the ‘ultimate’ commitment you can make to another person. Allowing same-sex couples to marry will give a strong message that their relationships are equally important and meaningful.

I hope our community will work together to be a part of history and make Australia a better, more inclusive, more accepting place.

To learn more email australia@medtronic.com.

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MEET OUR TEAM: Natalie Lawandi, Speaker at the New Zealand Private Surgical Hospitals Association Meeting 2017

22 September 2017

Natalie Lawandi, Senior Manager, Healthcare Economics & Reimbursement for Medtronic Australasia Pty Ltd was asked to speak at the 2017 New Zealand Private Surgical Hospitals Association Meeting in Wellington. Her topic: Healthcare Transformation: The future of healthcare requires new approaches and new forms of innovation.

Meet Natalie:

Natalie Lawandi

Qualifications: Bachelor Applied Science (Health Information Management), Master of Health Science (Clinical Data Management) from the University of Sydney.

Tenure with Medtronic: 14 years this December

Why are you attending NZPSHA?

To learn what Value-Based Healthcare [VBHC] means for the New Zealand private health sector.

What are you looking forward to most at NZPSHA?

Engaging with attendees on VBHC – particularly in terms of the practical aspects that face NZPSHA members as providers and key stakeholders to the delivery of healthcare.

Who are you hoping to meet at NZPSHA?

I’m excited to be part of the conversation that’s transforming healthcare and so I am looking forward to meeting everyone who is interested in taking healthcare further.

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

Variation in healthcare – particularly in relation to access and outcomes. We need to work together and engage in a productive discussion so we can address the variations in access and outcomes throughout our health care system. This is important to me as a patient, a daughter of elderly parents and a mother of two young children.

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If you are interested to learn more about Value-Based Healthcare visit: http://www.medtronic.com/au-en/transforming-healthcare.html. To arrange a discussion on healthcare transformation with a member of our team, email anzcommunications@medtronic.com.

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MedTech’s Got Talent – MEET OUR MENTORS

21 September 2017

Medtronic are proud supporters of MedTech’s Got Talent – Australia’s largest largest medical device accelerator program. The program is a unique entrepreneurship challenge supporting emerging entrepreneurs to develop and refine skills in pitching a business concept, developing a technology roadmap and launching commercialisation activities for their medical technology innovations.

Two Medtronic team members have been identified as mentors for the 2017 competition. Meet them here:

Medtronic Macquarie-0701

Ranjini Mathivanar, Pathfinder – Restorative Therapies Group, Medtronic Australasia Pty Ltd.

Qualifications: MBA, M.Phil (Masters by Research in Biomedical Materials).

Tenure with Medtronic: Two years.

What excites you about the future of MedTech in Australia?

We can improve the commercialisation of Medtech innovations with the involvement of key stakeholders – industry, incubators, financiers, universities/research organisations and government.

What skills can you offer to a mentee in the MedTechs’ Got Talent competition?

My experience co-founding a biomaterials start-up, more than 10 years in upstream and downstream medical devices marketing, 10 years in product development in cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators and a number of years consulting for start-up companies in Australia.

What will you be looking for in a mentee in the MedTechs’ Got Talent competition?

Passion, enthusiasm and energy.  A willingness to learn and leverage the experience and knowledge of mentors.

What is your advice to any/all participants in the in the MedTechs’ Got Talent competition?

My first piece of advice is to be clear about what problem you are solving; the size of the market; your target market; your value proposition and competitive advantage. My other piece of advice is to develop your elevator pitch.

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

Patient centred healthcare and how we deliver value to patients by collaborating with the key stakeholders in delivering health  – Government, Hospitals, Healthcare Professionals,  Insurers and Suppliers.

James Britton

James Britton, Senior Program Manager, Integrated Health Solutions & Value Based Healthcare, Asia Pacific.

Qualifications: Bachelor Industrial and Systems Engineering, MBA,  Harvard Business School – Executive Program – Value Based Healthcare, Lean Sigma Black Belt.

Tenure with Medtronic: Five years [firstly in the US, before relocating to Australia].

What excites you about the future of MedTech in Australia? 

I think there is a promising future for MedTech in Australia, particularly given the aging population, rise in spend of healthcare as a percentage of GDP and how geographically spread the population is. I believe Australia is a great testing ground for new innovations that will improve outcomes and reduce costs to the healthcare system, I think it’s exciting the positive impact we can have on patients’ lives across Australia.

What skills can you offer to a mentee in the MedTechs’ Got Talent competition? 

My first hope is to motivate the team to reach their own potential. I also plan to draw on my experiences working in healthcare across: Engineering [quality, manufacturing, R&D, ops/supply chain],

business development [project/program management, strategy, operating mechanisms], and innovation [new product development, business model innovation].

What will you be looking for in a mentee in the MedTechs’ Got Talent competition?

I will be looking for demonstrated teamwork, grit, whether they are open to advice/direction, and a depth of knowledge in specific area of innovation.

What is your advice to any/all participants in the in the MedTechs’ Got Talent competition?

Understand the patient / customer needs, and take regulatory, compliance, legal, quality in healthcare seriously.

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

Improved access to underserved populations, better measurement of clinical outcomes, the slowing of healthcare spend as a percentage of GDP.

Learn more about MedTech’s Got Talent by visiting medtechchallenge.com.

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STROKE: TOGETHER WE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Our commitment won’t end this week…

8 September 2017

Medtronic are proud supporters of National Stroke Week 2017 (4 – 10 September).

This week we have been sharing information about the stroke care continuum – and sharing stories from patients who have benefited from Medtronic technologies. But what happens when stroke care is not as good as it could be?

Know the facts:[1]

  • There will be 56,000 new and recurrent strokes in 2017.
  • Stroke kills 12,500 people year – stroke kills more women than breast cancer and kills more men than prostate cancer.
  • 475,000 Australian are living with effects of stroke in 2017.

These aren’t just numbers. They are lives – someone’s Mum, Dad, Sister, Brother, Daughter, Son, relative or friend. It serves as a reminder of ‘why’ we need to continue our efforts to evolve stroke care and improve access to patients who could benefit from medical technology.

Implementation of the newly updated stroke clinical guidelines represents an opportunity to meet the challenge of stroke. The Stroke Foundation has called upon the Australian Government to invest in clinical tools that will empower health professionals to drive better treatment and care. The new Stroke Guidelines went LIVE on the 4 September. Learn more here.

[1] National Stroke Foundation – No postcode untouched –Stroke in Australia 2017.

Stroke Foundation https://strokefoundation.org.au/About-Stroke/Facts-and-figures-about-stroke (Accessed 9th August 2017.

STROKE: TOGETHER WE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Stroke Week 2017 – Rehabilitation

7 September 2017

At Medtronic, we are proud supporters of National Stroke Week 2017 (4 – 10 September). This week we will be sharing more information about the stroke care continuum. We will also hear what happens when stroke care is not as good as it could be – highlighting the importance of improving access to patients who need medical technology.

Spasticity can be a disabling consequence of stroke: review of several studies reported 17% to 42.6% of post-stroke patients experiencing spasticity.[1] Oral medications can be used to reduce muscle spasticity, but many post-stroke patients are unable to tolerate the side effects of these medications.3

Stroke Week_Fact 4

Medical technology is evolving rehabilitation:

  • Intrathecal baclofen (ITB) has emerged as a treatment option for post-stroke spasticity. This therapy uses an implantable infusion system to deliver baclofen – a muscle relaxant – directly to the spinal canal. This approach thereby avoids intolerable side effects of oral medications.

The power of data collection. Rehabilitation needs identified in the National Stroke Audit Rehabilitation Services 2016[2] have translated into recommendations in the new in the new Stroke Guidelines[3] – launched on Monday 4 September. A key focus area is the need for health professionals to strongly partner with stroke survivors and their families and carers.

[1] Dvorak et al. The Underutilization of Intrathecal Baclofen in Poststroke Spasticity. Topics in stroke rehabilitation 2011 vol:18 iss:3 pg:195 -202.

[2] Stroke Foundation: National Stroke Audit 2016.

[3] Stroke Foundation. Managing complications – DRAFT Clinical Guidelines for Stroke Management (2017). v1.0 published on 24.10.2016.

STROKE: TOGETHER WE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Stroke Week 2017 – Treatment

6 September 2017

At Medtronic, we are proud supporters of National Stroke Week 2017 (4 – 10 September). This week we will be sharing more information about the stroke care continuum. We will also hear what happens when stroke care is not as good as it could be – highlighting the importance of improving access to patients who need medical technology.

Stroke Week_Fact 3

 

TIME IS BRAIN: For individuals who have acute ischemic stroke caused by a blood clot, the key to effective treatment is early restoration of blood flow to the affected area of the brain. This can be facilitated with certain medication, or by using medical technology such as mechanical thrombectomy [MT], also known as endovascular clot retrieval [ECR].

In 2014-2015, five randomised controlled trials on MT were published reporting significant clinical benefits and improvement in functional outcomes in carefully selected patients with large vessel occlusions.[2]

As a consequence of these positive findings the 2015 American Heart Association Stroke guidelines were updated in 2015, with new recommendations made on the use of MT. This treatment is rapidly becoming the ‘standard of care’ for AIS patients and is often referred to as endovascular clot retrieval (ECR). The use of mechanical thrombectomy is discussed in the new Australian Stroke Guidelines[3] which were launched on Monday 4 September.

[1] https://strokefoundation.org.au/About-Stroke/Facts-and-figures-about-stroke.

[2]Goyal et al (2016). Endovascular thrombectomy after large vessel ischaemic stroke: a meta-analysis of individual patient data from five randomised trials. The Lancet April 2016;387 (10029):1723-1731.

[3] Stroke Foundation. Acute medical and surgical management – DRAFT Clinical Guidelines for Stroke Management (2017). v1.0 published on 24.10.2016.