Read the Conversation

EF: If you had to create a new startup in the healthcare sector, what would it be?

Using data and AI, we can help the healthcare industry to make smarter decisions, deliver more efficient care, and achieve better outcomes for patients – and the need is urgent, with the industry facing growing populations and increasing costs. The other area I would look into would be vaccines, especially for the non-communicable diseases; what can be done in terms of vaccine technology today and how we can help people in the future to stay well and thrive?

EF: Could you elaborate on the lessons that you learned in these past years and how you are leveraging them into the future?

Medtech is really starting to harness the power of robotics, artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and predictive data analytics to help surgeons transform patient outcomes. One example is Zimmer Biomet’s Persona IQ, a “smart knee” with sensors from Canary Medical that transmit data about how the replacement is working. Healthcare teams then track steps, range of motion and other metrics after surgery. They can see if patients are hitting recovery milestones and intervene if the performance measures fall short. With this sort of technology, healthcare is being more predictive and less reactive.

EF: Zimmer Biomet recently completed an acquisition. What are your expectations for South Africa with this new acquisition, and how do you see this new portfolio of products working in the country?

The acquisition of Acquire Embody Inc. by Zimmer Biomet is one way we are maintaining leadership in the orthopedic space. The soft tissue healing element I one way we are bringing new advances to patients and surgeons, and it is really redefining the standard of care.

EF: What is your take on companies doing spinoffs and specialization? What do you think is the reason behind these moves?

AC:  We are in an era where customers have expectations that can only be met through specialization, and spin-offs can create a stronger growth profile for each company with enhanced management focus, while better aligning resources and processes with the strategic priorities of each business. Last year, Zimmer Biomet spun off the spine and dental business, and now we are on the hunt for acquisitions that will help to diversify our portfolio.

EF: The MyMobility Care Management platform is part of your digitalization and technology strategy. How exactly does this app fit into your digitalization and technology strategy?

Our strategy is to make meaningful technologies and services available to our customers along the entire patient pathway. In the pre- and post-op care phases, MyMobility gives hospitals, surgeons, care teams and patients a way to streamline communication, patient information and education needs into one single view. It makes clinical related data points available along the entire pathway to surgeons, including patient activity data (step count, walking speed, and double leg support), patient reported pain scores, and patient reported outcome data.

EF: How can we improve or foster collaborations with every stakeholder in the industry?

There are long waiting lists and patients experiencing a decline in their mobility and solving that is a big focus for Zimmer Biomet. We are always looking at how to bring stakeholders in the system together to define the need and deploy solutions like enhanced recovery practices. Elements like the national healthcare system look very promising in terms of improving access for people and the potential for more facilities once we iron out all the details.

EF: How are you developing and nurturing future talent?

Our graduate program is building a pipeline for the future, and it includes plenty of hands-on and frontline experience; for instance, when a sales representative books a procedure, we pack the instrument kits and everything else required for that procedure. By assisting our packers, the graduates understand what products and instruments are needed for every procedure. We also have sessions where they can watch a live procedure. We have 15 people who are part of the YES program, and we are gradually bringing in more. We are also looking to give people experience in ‘inside sales’ and using virtual reality to support our customers.

The orthopedic space is traditionally male dominated, but there is phenomenal work underway to improve diversity and highlight and elevate women, including through Zimmer Biomet’s ‘Women in Orthopedics’ initiative.

EF: How does 2023 look like for Zimmer Biomet?

We are focused on solving problems for our customers, particularly how to improve outcomes for patients and how to make better, data-informed decisions that increase the efficiency of healthcare teams and hospitals.  After the pandemic, we have high demand and some challenges with supply, so the Zimmer Biomet team is doing all we can to get what our customers need so they can improve the lives of patients.

EF: What achievements are you going to celebrate at the end of this year?

For me, there are two measures of success. The first is the continuing development of our team members. And the second is how effectively we alleviate pain and improve the quality of life for people in South Africa, across the African continent, and around the world.   I am really looking forward to upskilling more people and being able to do round two of the YES programs to empower more people to get the right level of experience and build sustainable lives for themselves. I would like to look back at the end of this year and say we have done that and met our goals as a business, too.

April 2023
South Africa