Collaborating to Drive Healthcare Innovation

No other field touches lives with the immediacy and urgency of healthcare. And as the challenges that define our field grow greater – from shifting demographics to pricing pressures and beyond – we have to constantly rethink our standard operating procedures to deliver even greater value for patients and clinicians.

Baxter and Mayo Clinic recently announced an R&D collaboration focused on developing transformative healthcare technologies. Our initial target is unmet patient needs in treating kidney disease, with more to follow. For Baxter, it’s a first-of-its-kind agreement.

It’s not exactly a radical act these days to embrace the benefits of collaboration. Companies in just about every industry actively promote employee collaboration and maybe even some tightly defined external arrangements to spark creative thinking. Hesitation can start setting in, though, when it comes to larger scale, more ambitious, relatively free-form collaborations across institutions. Potential obstacles like financial entanglement, distribution rights and plain old bureaucracy start creeping into the picture.

But no cause is more compelling or has greater (literal) life-and-death urgency than fundamental healthcare innovation. Organizations that want to maximize their impact must be prepared to circumnavigate or smash through perceived barriers to realize some crucial advantages:

STRENGTH(S): Well-paired organizations combine complementary strengths to accomplish things that would be more difficult when going it alone. In this particular case, Mayo Clinic brings its unsurpassed clinical, education and research capabilities, which mesh with Baxter’s own world-class R&D, manufacturing and commercialization strengths.

SPEED: Broader capabilities and skill sets mean more expertise can be applied in tandem to accelerate innovation. And when it comes to saving and sustaining lives, every minute counts.

ACCESS: This is what we’re all working toward: front-line access to innovation that can change lives for the better. There’s greater potential to make a difference when multiple organizations work jointly to ensure the wide availability of new healthcare solutions.

Our agreement with Mayo Clinic holds great promise, and it’s only one of Baxter’s many research pathways. The ultimate message is this: When it comes to advancing care in today’s complex, competitive environment, the stakes are too high to limit yourself to pursuing change in isolation. You must be open to embracing potential within and beyond the confines of traditional practice to elevate care to the next level.


—Joe Almeida, Chairman and CEO