By Meghan Scanlon, SVP and President, Urology and Pelvic Health, Boston Scientific
The medical device industry has played, and continues to play, a leading role across the continuum of patient care, whether through improving existing clinical best practices or developing new technologies to help physicians treat their patients in new ways. I have been fortunate to spend over two decades in the industry, and it has allowed me to pursue my passion for helping patients while leading, serving and collaborating with high performing teams.
I treated every experience – positive or negative – as an opportunity to grow and learn, and some of the lessons that resulted have served as guiding principles over the years. The fundamental pillars of my personal and professional philosophy are that you have to listen to learn, that working smarter is more important than working harder, and finally that continuous growth is essential to expanding access.
Our work in the stone franchise in particular is a great example of how these strategies can be successfully implemented. Kidney stones are becoming more common, with approximately 12% of adults develop kidney stones at some point in their lives, and although stones may pass naturally, the process has been described by some as being much more painful than natural childbirth. With a growing and predicted shortage of urologists, the prevalence of the disease far exceeds the number of procedures that can be performed, making it essential to develop solutions that are both effective and efficient.
1. You have to listen to learn
Hearing diverse and unique perspectives made me stronger as a leader, and it also taught me that you don’t have to be, and really can’t be, the expert in everything. By listening, observing and learning directly from our community of urologists, we have gleaned deeper insights that allow us to develop better and more effective solutions, treatment options and innovations that meet their needs.
What we have learned is that the majority of urologists are 55 or older, and for every new urologist entering the field, 10 will retire. At this rate, the United States should have 32% fewer urologists than necessary to meet the high patient demand by 2030. While these statistics may be shocking, I have encouraged my team here at Boston Scientific to not just take the information at face value, but to listen and closely observe urologists and their teams to learn Why the issue persists to make sure we address the root issues. By first understanding the problem before looking for a solution, we can avoid developing products in a vacuum and create innovations that drive real change.
This philosophy has been the guiding principle behind our new and ever-evolving StoneSmart Solutions platform, which offers peer-to-peer training, case studies, and the products and resources we know urologists need and want. The platform is intended to empower surgical decisions, improve the provider experience, optimize patient care, and ultimately advance kidney stone treatment globally. StoneSmart is something we will continue to build and evolve based on continued feedback. Without understanding the most significant pain points felt by urologists and their staff, the platform risks becoming a misguided solution that fails.
2. Work smarter, not harder
Kidney stone removal procedures can be very unpredictable and can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours, presenting a planning and scheduling challenge that ultimately limits a specialist’s ability to see every patient. For these procedures, many specialists rely on reusable ureteroscopes – devices designed to examine kidney stones in the ureter.
However, the intense cleaning and disinfection process of a reusable endoscope is time-consuming and inefficient, and endoscopes being reprocessed are unavailable for long periods of time. However, a hospital can only perform a finite number of procedures in a given time frame with its inventory of reusable devices. Reusable endoscopes also create an operational burden for hospitals, as reprocessing devices and repairing broken devices tie up staff and inventory for long periods of time, requiring significant financial and time-consuming investments to properly train and certify these employees. on the process.
We worked to address many of these inherent inefficiencies when we developed the LithoVue Single Use Digital Flexible Ureteroscope, which we designed to be a disposable ureteroscope packaged as sterile and developed to function as a reusable device. The efficiency of a single-use endoscope aims to eliminate the significant operational burden that reusable endoscopes create for hospitals without sacrificing sterility, functionality or performance.
3. Continuous growth is the key to expanding access
As a leader, I continually look for ways to evolve our organization and make market insights and data-driven decisions that ensure physicians have both the skills and devices they need to improve. the quality of life of their patients, now and in the future. From strategic acquisitions to in-house innovations, we are constantly examining how we can expand our portfolio and foster scientific dialogue with clinicians with the ultimate goal of helping more patients around the world.
A good example is our recent acquisition of the surgical business of Lumenis Ltd. and its Holmium laser system with MOSES technology. Lasers are one of the most critical tools for how surgeons treat kidney stones, and these acquired technologies integrate with our existing portfolio of kidney stone offerings and can ultimately reduce procedure times and optimize treatment outcomes for patients.
I chose a career in medical technology because it gives me the opportunity to work with amazing people to help patients every day by enabling truly meaningful innovation. Central to this goal is to ensure that I am always learning, growing and striving to be my best. This purpose extends to the teams and people I work with and serve. As a leader, I consider it my responsibility to ensure that our teams and employees can learn, grow and strive to be their best to continue to change the lives of patients in the around the world and play an important role in the success of our businesses.
About the Author:
Meghan Scanlon is SVP and President for Urology and Pelvic Health at Boston Scientific. Prior to joining Boston Scientific, she spent nearly 15 years in senior management positions at medical device company Johnson & Johnson after beginning her career as a design engineer for Gillette. She is a member of the Global Council for Inclusion and is the Executive Patron of Boston Scientific’s PRIDE Employee Resource Group, a network of LGBTQ+ employees and allies that promotes inclusion and professional growth through programs. and business and community initiatives. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University and an MBA and MSME from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.