AYHAN ÖZTÜRK

Turkey 2020 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

Significant investments in industry leading technologies are enabling Medtronic to help treat chronic diseases on a global scale.

Ayhan Özturk
BIOGRAPHY

Ayhan Ozturk was promoted to the Turkey Country Manager role after the acquisition of Medical device company by Medtronic in 2014. Before joining to Medtronic, he established and managed various businesses and operations in Healthcare, Medical Device and Manufacturing. He managed go direct projects, transformed business from distribution companies to Medtronic successfully in Turkey and strengthened the team focusing on building sustainable organizations with strong business model, talent and diversity management and inclusion in emerging and complex markets. He holds MBA degree from Ozyegin University BSc degree in International Relations from American International University. He speaks English, Turkish, German, and French. He serves as board member in various leading Industrial Trade Association, currently he was elected as the Vice President of Medical Device Association (ARTED) in Turkey.

How do Medtronic's products and services help tackle the cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes?
Medtronic is the best-positioned company to help treat chronic diseases on a global scale. Cardiac-related deaths are the leading causes of death around the world. Medtronic has an innovative portfolio of solutions to treat cardiac-related diseases, such as atrial fibrillation and heart failure. The smart algorithms in our devices manage a patient's condition to sustain life without suffering severe heart failure conditions. Medtronic has invested heavily in several technologies in the cardiovascular field. Our external heart pump is an example of this, as is the first lead-less pacemaker, Micra, which is implanted directly into the patient's heart via a minimal invasive technique without leads, removing the risk of misplacing or moving leads and reducing medical complications. On the surgical side, Medtronic has the most innovative portfolio of treatments for diseases ranging from obesity to cancer, colorectal, and thoracic. For diabetes, our insulin pump and continuous glucose-monitoring technologies are important tools to manage a diabetic patient's condition effectively to avoid associated medical complications from escalating. The future of this technology is artificial pancreas. In Turkey, around approximately 20% of the entire healthcare budget is spent on diabetes and related complications. Healthcare systems and governments can save money by paying for the value that we add with our technologies. Those savings can then be reinvested in other areas.

How has Medtronic introduced connectivity to its devices?
Technology is in our DNA; our technologies help hospitals and healthcare systems treat patients in a more efficient way with better outcomes. This in turn prevents patient complications and additional costs arising from low clinical outcomes. The company's CareLink network links its devices, enabling them to monitor remotely, gather data, and reach out to the patient for early prevention or diagnosis. We use CareLink technology for implanted cardiac devices like pacemakers and for insulin pumps, and we are adding more devices to the network to gather massive amounts of data.

What are the biggest challenges of overseeing such a large region?
The majority of countries under my management are emerging markets. In Turkey's case, if we compare the population size and prevalence of disease with the number of surgeries performed, the ratio is low compared to developed countries. Increasing access to better healthcare is one of the main challenges in the region. At the same time, we have to keep in mind the differences between every healthcare system. In some countries, there is an advanced healthcare infrastructure. In Turkey, advanced PPP hospitals are being built, and there is universal healthcare coverage. Challenges in healthcare are too complex and require collaboration between industry, policymakers, and government bodies. The Turkish healthcare system is more mature than those of its neighbors. Other countries can learn and benefit from Turkey.

What role is training and research playing in Medtronic's future strategy?
Training and education are our primary means of increasing access to healthcare, helping physicians become more skilled, and consequently improving outcomes. Medtronic Innovation Center (MIC) in Istanbul, one of our seven training centers around the world, plays a critical role in training physicians. It has the capacity to train a few thousand physicians a year and hosts physicians from 35-40 countries.

What are Medtronic's goals for 2019?
First, through our training and education, we want to help the region treat more patients with better outcomes. Second, we would like to engage with our customers in a more meaningful way so they can better realize the value we provide with our technologies and solutions. Medtronic recently established its operations in Pakistan. In that context, we want to train Pakistani physicians and ensure the market has access to high-quality medical devices.