Editor’s Note

Holistic look at the health care industry

By Steve LeBeau

Wordsmiths love the etymological association between “health” and “whole.” In the case of a business magazine, it is impossible to look at the health care industry without noting that it is connected to every other industry, thus forming a whole. This is especially true in Minnesota, where we have become a global supplier of medical devices and services, from Medtronic to the Mayo Clinic. This issue of Minnesota Business is devoted to those multifaceted connections, which culminate in our Leaders in Health Care Awards..

Any holistic perspective has a built-in optimism: We know that everything is connected, so it is simply a matter of finding those connections. It is also a flexible scheme — you can start anywhere. So, let’s start with Medtronic. One virtue of a successful medical device company is that it attracts gifted people from around the world to come to Minnesota, enriching our talent people. Some of these people go off and start their own businesses — such as Manny Villafaña — creating more jobs and adding to the state’s economy. As the medical devices get more complicated, they require precision parts made by smaller manufacturers, like so many acorns sprouting up around the giant oak tree.

Suddenly we find a cluster of these smaller firms that choose to locate near these larger companies and near each other. We find this happening in the northwest quadrant of the Twin Cities — as can be seen in the commercial real estate trend in Plymouth — which also happens to be close to executive housing and other amenities.

And just as medical devices are reaching stratospheric new heights, a profound new emphasis is being placed on empathizing with each individual patient. We are even learning that practitioners are people, too, and need to be concerned about their own health, especially that creeping malady known as burnout. And let’s not forget that business people are people, too, so they must be agile and adaptive when they confront an unwelcome chronic illness.

Of course the elephant in the room for all of the above is the Affordable Care Act, which for all of its good intentions, has affected many businesses that are mandated to comply. Such demands augment the mountain of paperwork required for providers, making it one of the reasons that doctors rarely open up their own clinics anymore.

The broad lesson in any holistic endeavor is the basic truth that everyone counts. Thus the community and businesses alike benefit when they find ways to employ people with disabilities, and it allows those hired to build their self-confidnce as well as their skills.

Finally, a hearty and wholesome congratulations to all of the finalists and winners of the Leaders in Health Care Awards! The good work they do is sure to affect us all, sooner or later, directly or indirectly.

Steve LeBeau
Editor in chief