The Impact of COVID-19: A Case Study from Boston Scientific
I am putting proverbial pen to paper on this piece the day after the UK officially became the ‘sick man of Europe’ by overtaking Italy in terms of official death toll related to the Coronavirus crisis. As the total closes in on 30,000 deaths (and will be higher by time you read this) let us take a moment to remember the individuals and families impacted by this virus – not just numbers on a government chart that was much-lauded when we were in the relegation zone, but now downplayed and dismissed as we take top spot.
Boston Scientific has moved quickly to respond to this crisis – it feels like a long time ago that our online travel system turned into ‘computer says no’ and we moved into our own form of lockdown. One of our values as a company is ‘Caring’ and this was demonstrated as thousands of team members redeployed to working from home and were fully supported through a wide variety of digital resources, but more critically, through their managers and colleagues – acknowledging that people respond differently to these (thankfully) rare situations, and need specific levels of support.
From a customer perspective we have preserved our supply chain and offered field clinical support in line with customer policies and with the overriding driver of keeping staff, customers and patients safe. Our investment in digital solutions certainly helped in this regard. All of this you would expect from a company like Boston Scientific, yet it remains both impressive and humbling to see this emergency response swing into such effective action.
What has been equally impressive is the number of colleagues who have a healthcare professional background, and who have volunteered to return to the front line in their various countries to do what they can, at considerable risk, to be of help as systems struggle to cope with this surge in demand. I am somewhat thankful that the services of a former NHS procurement professional are in somewhat less demand apparently…
Another of our company values is ‘Global Collaboration’ and as we manage the current crisis and plan for the ‘Restoration’ we have been able to learn from our friends and colleagues in Asia-Pacific who are at a different stage of the cycle and who indeed were hit hard previously by SARS and MERS. Our teams in China and South Korea especially have been invaluable in helping us to chart a course for the coming days, weeks and months.
We have also found the proactivity and insight of the team at ABHI invaluable. As providers of information they have been active and succinct whilst positioning the industry as an intrinsic, strategic and valuable part of the healthcare system and a key player in the system of the future that will be built on the back of at least some of the learnings (and failings) of the crisis. The regular Board calls keep us all in touch and allow us to learn from each other, deal with the immediate, and crucially, plan for the future, whatever shape that might take.
Mark McIntyre, Senior Director of Health Economics and Government Affairs EMEA, Boston Scientific & ABHI Board Member