Predicting the Future of Urology with Meghan Scanlon of Boston Scientific


Meghan Scanlon is senior vice president of Boston Scientific and president of its urology and pelvic health business. [Photo courtesy of Boston Scientific]

Meghan Scanlon, President of Urology and Pelvic Health at Boston Scientific, discusses the field, challenges and opportunities ahead.

The specialty of urology faces a critical moment, with 10 urologists ready to retire for every new urologist entering the field, said Meghan Scanlon, senior vice president and president of urology and pelvic health at Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX)

It is therefore incumbent on medical device manufacturers to develop faster, safer, and more effective ways to break down kidney stones, reduce enlarged prostate, and manage other critical treatments.

In an interview with our DeviceTalks Weekly Podcast, Scanlon outlined Boston Scientific’s plans to build a large platform for endoscopes, imaging and AI to help urologists.

Go to DeviceTalks.com to hear the whole conversation, including company details Acquisition for $ 1.1 billion of the surgical activity of Lumenis. (We have edited the following excerpt for brevity and clarity.)

Why did you decide to join the medical technology industry?
Scanlon: I am a recovering mechanical engineer. In my previous life, I worked for the Gillette company designing razors, which is an amazing job. I left Gillette to pursue graduate studies at MIT where I obtained my master’s degree in engineering and my MBA. It was the springboard to change industry. I graduated in 2000 when everything was dot-com. Very few people were interested in health care, but it was just about helping people while doing something technical, even though I had no intention of returning to an engineering profession.

What was your first job in medtech?
Scanlon: I spent 15 years with Johnson & Johnson in their sports medicine business. I worked in various positions in Marketing, Operations, Finance, and then I came to Boston Scientific. I knew a few of the leaders here, including our CEO, Mike Mahoney, and I took that leap seven years ago now. And I haven’t looked back since. It was a big move for me. I have one of the coolest jobs in the business. I have the honor to chair this division.

Most of the division heads come from sales and marketing. You come with an engineering training. Are you still using your engineering skills?
Scanlon: I like this question. They ask me a lot. I will never fully put my engineering skills behind me. The good thing about medical devices is that they are very technical, both the biomechanics of the procedures we perform and the biomechanics of how the devices work. The loads they undergo, the energy that is deployed, it’s very technical. So my learning curve to understand the technicalities of these procedures, devices, and what surgeons are trying to accomplish has been pretty quick. My technical base was set in those early years at Gillette, but the rest of the house – the commercial part – has been built since 2000 when I joined Johnson & Johnson and it has been, it has been pretty cool because I feel like that made me a very complete business professional.

Urology has benefited from one of the fastest growing technologies, single-use endoscopes. How does this fit into your business?
Scanlon: Boston Scientific created the first disposable flexible ureteroscope, LithoVue. I spent my first three and a half years at Boston Scientific working on our endoscopy business and was part of the device’s innovation journey. So I was thrilled when I came to Urology and Pelvic Health to see how LithoVue has just transformed the market. We launched it in 2017 and it continues to grow in double digits for us. It is a huge engine of growth.

How is it received by the clinical community and what are the benefits?
Scanlon: First and foremost, he’s always ready. It’s still sterile. And urology is a specialty right now that has more demand than supply in terms of medical capacity. We have seen surgery centers completely switch to disposable ureteroscopes only because of the efficiency benefit of how they can manage their clinical practice. It absolutely outweighs the reprocessing burden. Second, the device is still working. To achieve kidney stones, you have to squeeze these devices into tight turns over and over again. When you multiply this over many surgeries for reusable scopes, sometimes if your reusable scope is in its late stages of needing servicing, the last thing you want is to have to swap out a reusable scope because it can’t. make that tortuous curve. So we discovered that in complex cases, a disposable ureteroscope like LithoVue is always ready for play.

What has happened technically that has allowed the creation of disposable litters that have the functionality of a reusable scope at a much lower cost?
Scanlon: It’s a remarkable feat of engineering, right? Being able to sell disposable eyeglasses for a few thousand dollars (compared to $ 30,000 or $ 50,000) is amazing. If you look at the heritage of Boston Scientific, we are the masters of technologies based on long catheters, guidewires, etc. So it is very much in our core competence. Plus, imaging chains were the most expensive part 10 or 15 years ago. But the cost of the digital imaging chain and the chips has come down so much that now a lot of the complexity is really in the precision engineering to be able to get working channels, suction channels, steering cables. and all the buttons up to these little French seven, nine devices. But we are used to developing long, thin and sophisticated devices. But it’s a great feat of engineering. You have the chance to see how innovation can truly transform the way care is delivered.

Are you concerned about the global chip shortage?
Scanlon: We have an amazing global supply chain organization. This has gone a long way in providing us with a secure supply base for the chips we need. This is obviously something that we continue to stay close to.

Where will urology be in five years? What technologies will change the game?
Scanlon: We are facing a critical impasse in urology. Twelve percent of the population will suffer from kidney stone disease at some point in their life. This onslaught of patient demand does not match the number of urologists. This means we need to make sure we make these procedures more efficient, more predictable, and more available to help patients. We want to create a complete ecosystem of technology platforms. For example, LithoVue is a wonderful imaging device. We are surpassing ourselves at the end of this year with an oscilloscope which now allows you to monitor and measure the pressure in the kidney. Because when you work on the kidneys a lot, you add fluid, energy, and the pressures can be very variable. Basically we want to be able to provide a pressure speedometer, if you will, to the doctor. We also want to track the fluid and monitor the power source, the laser fiber. How do you modulate your energy source based on what you see? Kidney stones are not all the same. Some stones are soft, some are hard, some are small, some are huge. We’re developing an interconnected ecosystem, which we call smart intrarenal surgery, where each of these platforms – whether it’s a scope, fluid management, or laser – can work on its own with an advantage. clinically significant. Then we’re going to work to connect that ecosystem through something called Stone Cloud, which allows these systems to communicate with each other for speed, predictability, efficiency, and improved clinical outcomes.

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