Innovation for Life

Boston Scientific

From the start, the company has been clear on its purpose – to benefit public health by bringing more accessible, lower-cost, and lower-trauma medical options to patients. Over the last thirty years plus since, the company has time and again fulfilled that purpose by advancing medical science through the development and commercialisation of transformative medical technologies.

Says Paul Braico, Managing Director of Boston Scientific, “We have adhered to that approach to this day and this guides the type of medical devices we develop and companies we acquire.

“Boston Scientific Australia is passionately committed to helping patients of all ages through our people and innovative products. We do that by using science and medical technology to save lives as well as to significantly improve patients’ quality of life. We do this by providing medical device therapies that detect and treat diseases in their early stages, provide devices for minimally invasive procedures that avoid large and sometimes debilitating surgeries as well as keeping patients out of hospital through various means… We look forward to continuing this mission and contributing to the benefit of our health system and patients well into the future.”

A significant aspect of this type of work takes place offsite, in that Boston Scientific allows clinicians to monitor patients’ pacemaker and defibrillator devices in their own homes so they can be managed remotely and out of hospital settings.

In its Australian and New Zealand Division, the company now has a broad range of core competencies to meet the needs of its demanding client base. Alongside standard endoscopy technologies for diagnosing and treating diseases of the digestive system, airway and lungs, Boston Scientific also leads in Interventional Cardiology technologies which allow specialists for the company to diagnose and treat coronary artery disease and other cardiovascular disorders and Cardiac Rhythm Management solutions that allow treatment of irregular heart rhythms and heart failure as well as protection against sudden cardiac arrest.

The organisation also has a strong Urology and Women’s Health presence, offering solutions for treating urological and gynaecological disorders like kidney and bladder stones, stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, and also provides Electrophysiology technologies such as mapping catheters and radiofrequency catheters for diagnosing and treating heart rhythm disorders; Peripheral Intervention solutions for treating vascular system blockages in areas such as the carotid and renal arteries and the lower extremities; and Neuromodulation microelectronic implantable technologies for managing chronic neuropathic pain and neurological diseases.

“In the therapy areas we operate in, we have broad product portfolios of market leading products,” adds Mr Braico. “For example, in Interventional Cardiology, we have the #1 or #2 products in nearly all IC product categories. We are leaders in each of our other divisions.”

To this end, the company has been investing significantly in meaningful product innovation as it has grown to become a global market leader. Annually, the company invests nearly $1 billion into innovations which allow the company to bring to market medical devices and procedures that address unmet clinical needs and reduce the frequency of patient re-intervention.

“We have embarked on an aggressive campaign of acquiring companies with new and unique therapies such as WATCHMAN, SADRA, Cameron Health, Asthmatx and VESSIX,” says Mr Braico.

From these acquisitions, Boston Scientific has been able to promote such exciting therapies as the WATCHMAN® LAAC Closure Technology, which enables non-drug prevention of stroke related to irregular heartbeat; the Alair® Bronchial Thermoplasty System which delivers thermal energy to reduce asthma attacks in severe Asthma sufferers; Vercise™ Deep Brain Stimulation, which helps reduce symptoms in people with Parkinson’s Disease; and Subcutaneous ICD, the world’s first defibrillator implanted just under the skin that does not require any electrical cables (leads) to be placed into the heart. The company is also proud of its work in providing to clients the LOTUS Aortic Valve System which gives physicians greater control during valve replacement, the VESSIX V2 Renal Denervation procedure, to treat drug resistant hypertension, Synergy Bioabsorbable Polymer PtCr Stents which help blood vessels heal more quickly after the stent is implanted, and the RHYTMIA Cardiac Electrophysiology Mapping System to map the electrical activity of the heart to diagnose and treat abnormal heart rhythms.

“Boston Scientific has introduced and continues to invest in cost-effective technologies, such as minimally invasive technologies that use fewer resources than more invasive comparative technologies – such as Watchman, Cameron Health Subcutaneous ICD and the Lotus Transcatheter Aortic Heart Valve,” adds Mr Braico. “These products provide quicker recovery and procedure, and less chance of infection.

“Due to our broad product offerings in multiple medical disciplines, we were able to become preferred suppliers to public and private hospitals by providing cost effective commercial solutions for our commercial customers.”

The innovative company utilises its strengths well, nurturing a particular interest in promoting technology in remote locations. To become such a leader in this practice, the company has been active within the community, especially in promoting opportunities for companies like itself to continue to innovate and to thrive. At present, Mr Braico reports that industry has initiated a Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) application to allow for physician reimbursement to conduct remote monitoring services of Pacemakers and Implantable Defibrillators.

“Companies will continue to research and develop technologies that assist patients to be treated at home if an evaluation, such as the MSAC evaluation for remote monitoring, gains a positive recommendation,” explains Mr Braico. “Industry is working with MSAC to ensure a pragmatic approach is taken to the evaluation that considers the significant cost benefits of remote monitoring.”

This communal spirit is possible not just because of the forward vision of Boston Scientific, explains Mr Braico, but more so because of the incredible level of dedication, talent and character of the members of its team.

“From my experience, we have the best people in the industry, who have common values and a true passion for their customers and patients,” he says with pride. “We work very hard to develop and maintain a clear healthy culture that is values based and has a focus on developing people.”

The foundation stone of the Boston Scientific business strategy, he explains, is “GROW PEOPLE, GROW BUSINESS,” which is supported by extensive clinical and product training for the company’s representatives and leadership development for its managers and executives. The company has worked hard to instil its team with its corporate values – Caring, Meaningful Innovation, High Performance, Winning Spirit, Diversity and Global Collaboration. In the Australian and New Zealand division, the company has developed its own local values of Respect, Passion, Integrity and Excellence, which Mr Braico says the team uses as guideposts in developing behaviours and decision making skills both on the job and in the recruitment process. “Continuous learning is part of our success now and into the future,” he says.

Boston Scientific is an active member of the MTAA and supports its initiatives to promote Medical Technology in Australia. Mr Braico himself is on the board and several of the company’s local staff members are on working committees.

“It’s all about the people – passionate, likeminded people right across all parts of the company who are committed to their products, customers and patients. It’s all about getting the right people, establishing a working environment in which they are developed, empowered to do their work and can flourish, to get personal and shared satisfaction.”

Due to its leading product portfolios, Mr Braico reports that the company has a broad customer base as well as a variety of key stakeholders. In addition to its commercial customers, Boston Scientific’s clinical end users can include various Cardiologists, Vascular Surgeons, Interventional Radiologists, Gastroenterologists, Respiratory Physicians, Colorectal Surgeons, Urologists, Gynaecologists, and Pain Specialists who directly treat patients using Boston Scientific products. Referring physicians (and patient advocacy groups) are also becoming a more important customer group for the company – in particular in regards to broadening the general awareness of newer technologies and therapies. Other important stakeholders include the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), other government agencies and private payers.

“These customers assess the safety of providing the technology in Australian public and private settings; the effectiveness of the technology relative to comparative interventions; and the cost implications of introducing a new technology to the system,” he explains. “Boston Scientific is actively engaged in these assessment processes and in policy discussions impacting access to new medical technologies.”

Moving forward, despite the breadth of opportunities the company has been advancing, Mr Braico says that much work remains at hand for the company as well as the broader industry.

“Australia provides high quality health care,” he states, “but the healthcare system is facing increasing demands due to factors such the ageing population. For Australia to continue providing high quality care in an environment of increased demands, the hospital system needs to maximise limited resources.”

To ensure that Boston Scientific continues to grow and capture a larger market share, the company aims to continue to work to its strengths – nurturing its client and staff relationships whilst keeping ever vigilant in the hunt for new technologies which can increase the quality of life for its clients.

“That is simple,” he shares. “Apart from supplying our innovative products in a cost effective way, [it will mean] a great focus on training and developing our people and training our physicians for optimal patient outcomes as well as providing cost effective solutions for our commercial buyers.”

When all is said and done, Mr Braico credits the company’s sustained success to its “unwavering commitment to quality in everything we produce and everything we do.” When you have a work ethic such as that and the innovative technology to back it up, what option remains other than continuous, progressive success?

Stem Cells

The scientific study of stem cells has existed for a long time and has already contributed greatly to modern medicine. As scientific inquiry continues to advance and as discoveries gain more traction and acceptance in the scientific and medical communities, the true breadth and potential of this area of study can start to be realized.

October 20, 2018, 11:49 AM AEDT

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