Think of the word “innovation.” What’s a company that comes to mind?
If you thought of a nascent startup, we bet you wouldn’t be alone: The term lends itself well to conversations surrounding newer companies that are just hitting their stride. But this word shouldn’t only be reserved for those with fresh ideas. In fact, innovation can be more impressive when it’s applied to a brand that’s been around for more than 125 years.
Since its namesake founder Dr. Wallace Abbott began using science to produce medications in 1888 — alongside the goal of better care for patients and their physicians — Abbott has been a company at the forefront of health research and service. From developing a synthetic antiseptic for soldiers fighting in World War I to obtaining the first licensed blood test to pinpoint the HIV virus in the mid-80s, Abbott’s long history is filled with innovations that give it something newer companies don’t have: perspective. And since its focus is on improving and prolonging human life, such storied experience isn’t only desirable, it’s necessary.
From your head to your toes
Aside from its impressive age, Abbott also has an impactful reach: It currently has a presence in more than 150 countries and employs more than 94,000 people. In order to give that scope some direction — after all, that would be one big conference call — the company is broken down into six distinct business areas: nutrition, diagnostics, vascular care, vision, pharmaceuticals, and diabetes care. Since its vision category is now a part of Johnson and Johnson, we’ll focus on the other five.
Sure, it isn’t exactly a little-known fact that eating right is the secret to good health — everyone is aware that chewing on a banana over a burger is a smart idea in the long run. Still, choosing a healthy meal isn't always easy, and that’s why Abbott’s science-based food products help promote strong, diverse diets in children and adults alike. From Similac and PediaSure for kids and Ensure and ZonePerfect for adults, Abbott’s line of nutritious foods can help customers get or stay healthy so that they can participate in active pursuits.
Remember the last time you lost your cool when a video took too long to load? Imagine if you had to twirl your thumbs for a test result regarding your health. Abbott’s diagnostic technology — which includes everything medical environments may need, from blood tests and lab work to the emergency room and hospital visits — is optimized for providing accurate and efficient tests. Some tests even go as far as to study the molecular makeup of a patient, and even that can be done in a precise but timely manner.
When it comes to heart health, keeping plaque levels in check is priority number one. And when a heart or its connective arteries need an assist because of a disease or an arrhythmia, Abbott’s minimally-invasive procedures — including stents, catheters, and guidewires — allow patients to get the best care with the least amount of recovery time.
Medicine has to cover two needs in order to be truly worthwhile: low budgets and high qualities. Abbott produces effective generic medications for people globally, including tailoring available medicines to the specific needs of poorer countries. When working with “emerging economies,” Abbott also takes into account efficient packaging and delivery methods. The possible treatments throughout the world include women’s health, heart health, respiratory illness, influenza vaccines, and more.
Diabetes requires daily, if not hourly, monitoring, and Abbott strives to make this process as accurate and painless as possible. Its personal meters and hand-held hospital monitors allow for timely and fast data results, which helps to lessen patient errors and create more seamless visits with doctors.
In September 2017, the FDA authorized the sale of Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System for adults in the U.S., which is the first glucose-monitoring device in the country that doesn’t require a finger prick. Instead, a user can attach a thin sensor to his or her upper arm and then put a hand-held reader over it to track glucose levels. The sensor can be worn for up to 10 days (although in other countries, where this product has already been available, it’s 14 days) for real-time readings that are plotted over an eight-hour trend. The results can be stored on the reader for up to 90 days.
According to projections by the World Health Organization, diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death worldwide by 2030, and the American Diabetes Association has estimated that 30 million Americans had diabetes in 2015. Products like the Freestyle system allow for people with diabetes to track their health more easily and with greater precision — in fact, a test noted that users checked their levels up to 16 times a day.
The “business of life”
Although it sounds lofty, Abbott assures customers that it’s in “the business of life.” That isn’t untrue: Its health objectives cover needs in infancy into older adulthood.
The company has had generations of practice to see how each stage of life is best lived, even as life continues to change, and its overarching outlook has the type of positive reassurance one would hope to get from a beloved grandparent (of course, one that has an active Facebook account).
When a company is as committed to health as Abbott, where technological advances in science are readily partnered with the compassion to treat all individuals, it should be simple to see its value. Abbott knows that good health is the key to a full life and that standpoint is bound to produce success.