TBY talks to Ayhan Öztürk, Sr. Country Director of Medtronic Turkey, on challenges, product demand in Turkey, and the country's main healthcare issues.

Ayhan Öztürk
Born in Germany, Ayhan Öztürk completed his Finance studies at Bilkent University and pursued his higher education at AIU and UCLA in Los Angeles. He began his career as an investment analyst at EGS Investments in Turkey, and later joined Medicall in 2004, where he was promoted to become CEO of the company. Since 2011, he has been serving as Vice-President of the Medical Industry Employers’ Association.

What are the opportunities and challenges for Medtronic that are unique to its operations in Turkey?

Turkey's reimbursement policy could potentially cover the whole population from the cradle to the grave. The country's almost 80 million population is fully covered by the national social security system. Turkey's existing healthcare infrastructure, both private and public, is growing through the large healthcare city public-private partnership (PPP) project. This project will bring a new mindset into the market in which advanced therapies and high-level services can be provided. The challenges are creating awareness for chronic disease among patients and healthcare professionals, and increasing the effectiveness of referring channels ensuring access to the right therapy. Medtronic has the most diversified product range, treating many conditions including cardiac and vascular diseases, diabetes, and neurological and spinal conditions with the largest number of sales technicians in the field. As part of the Medtronic Global approach toward supporting the healthcare authorities, we share best practices from other countries experiences from a healthcare economics point of view and promote sustainable healthcare policies. Medtronic has approximately 150 employees in Turkey and, as a global leader in medical technology, aims to treat chronic diseases and create awareness of the diseases using the most technologically advanced therapies that we provide.

Which of Medtronic's services or products are in greatest demand in the Turkish market?

Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are Turkey's most prevalent non-communicable diseases. Medtronic products and therapies are used to treat these and many other chronic conditions to help improve the quality of life and advance healthcare. While the rate of heart failure in society in general is 2% to 3%, this rate increases to 10% after the age of 70, and 15% to 20% after the age of 80. Life expectancy in Turkey has increased by 10 years within the last two decades and is 75 now. The number of elderly is gradually increasing. It is expected that this figure will increase two fold again within the next 10 years. Around 50% of patients with heart failure are taken to intensive care units a minimum of four times a year. The number of people above the age of 60 is 7.5 million; however, it is anticipated that this will have reached 14 million to 15 million by 2023. Looking at the current situation, heart failure may be regarded as one of the heaviest burdens on our healthcare system. For cardiovascular disease, we provide innovative and comprehensive solutions that extend beyond the industry's broadest portfolio of technologies to programs and services that drive economic value across the care continuum. There are approximately 9 million diabetic patients in Turkey. Around 3.6 million of them are not diagnosed or have glucose intolerance; they are the diabetic population of the coming years. Of around 5.4 million patients who are under treatment, 1 million are insulin dependent but use different types of insulin at different times of the day. We are the world leader in advanced diabetes management solutions, including integrated diabetes management systems, insulin pump therapy, continuous glucose monitoring systems, and therapy management software, as well as offering world-class, 24/7 expert consumer and professional service and support.

What has Medtronic identified as the main healthcare needs for the country, and how is it working to address these issues?

Medtronic will launch its Hospital Solutions model in Turkey, with our broad portfolio of market-leading products, deep clinical knowledge, in-hospital footprint, healthcare economics expertise, lean sigma resources, and a strong financial position. We are uniquely positioned to collaborate with our customers and hospitals to provide services that deliver clinical and economic value in this challenging healthcare environment. These efforts will also address and expand patient care pathways, potentially increasing access to care for patients. This is essential at a time when hospitals and health systems are facing ever-increasing pressure to meet the demands of an ageing population with finite resources.