December 22, 2020

Addressing health care’s toughest challenges – chronic pain, stroke, spine disorders and heart disease – will require strong collaboration across the health care industry. That’s why Medtronic, a global technology, services and solutions company, and University of Missouri Health Care have established a formal collaboration to accelerate innovation in these areas.

“For MU Health Care, this collaboration will create new research and education opportunities to strengthen our health system’s research efforts on a global scale and further the NextGen Precision Health initiative’s emphasis on finding solutions to more effectively prevent and treat cardiovascular and neurological disorders,” said Rick Barohn, executive vice chancellor for health affairs at the University of Missouri.

Medtronic has an extensive background in health care technology, and the collaboration will provide the company with real-world insights from MU Health Care providers, who will be partners in developing solutions to deliver more efficient and effective care.

“MU Health Care’s expertise in neurosciences, spine and cardiovascular disorders provides distinct opportunities for us to work collaboratively to better understand how we can improve patient outcomes as well as the potential to explore promising new ideas for existing therapies or possibly even develop new therapies,” said G. Sean Haag, vice president of strategic alliances for Medtronic.

The collaboration aims to enhance research, form frameworks for new clinical pathways, create efficient operational workflows and develop care delivery initiatives.

Initial Areas of Innovation and Research

  • Vertebral Compression Fractures
    Vertebral compression fractures can lead to long-term pain and disability. If patients with these fractures are not diagnosed early or treated, a downward spiral of complications may occur, resulting in the patients being more likely to be readmitted to the hospital and use more medication. This leads to decreased quality of life and increased costs for patients and health systems. The Medtronic and MU Health Care teams are implementing a clinical care pathway with the goal of helping to diagnose patients early and treat them appropriately to improve outcomes.

  • Cryptogenic Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation
    Another in-progress project aims to improve outcomes for patients with cryptogenic stroke, also referred to as stroke of “unknown cause.” Specifically, the project will focus on identifying patients with cryptogenic stroke who may have atrial fibrillation – an irregular, rapid heartbeat – which increases the risk of another stroke. To gain a diagnosis, typically, providers use technology to monitor patients’ heartbeat for a few weeks, months, or years after a stroke.

“We at MU Health Care are collaborating with Medtronic to create a clinical pathway to detect underlying atrial fibrillation as a cause for cryptogenic stroke,” said Arun Kumar, MD, one of the MU Health Care physicians involved in the project. “Our clinical expertise combined with the latest technology in atrial fibrillation detection can help improve lives in mid-Missouri.”

“Using Medtronic’s extensive background in creating novel health care technologies and operations, combined with the expert providers at MU Health Care, will enable us to deliver more efficient and effective care to deliver high-quality results,” Barohn said. "We're early in the process, but we're optimistic that this collaboration will yield the kinds of results that allow Medtronic and MU Health Care to improve outcomes, drive efficiency and expand access to care. MU Health Care has a decades-long history of being a strong partner for health care technology companies, and we are excited to continue that success in our collaboration with a premier organization like Medtronic."