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Joe Carlson

Reporter | Medical technology
Phone: 612-673-4779
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Joe Carlson writes about medical technology in Minnesota for the Star Tribune.


Carlson has covered health care beats full time since 2008, including medical technology, not-for-profit providers and health care legal affairs. His stories tend to blend health care business affairs and patient-focused information.
Recent content from Joe Carlson
Medtronic's Fridley headquarters.

Medtronic facing litigation over surgical staplers and injury reporting

The device maker isn't commenting on litigation but has defended the safety of its stapling systems in a report filed with regulators.
Medtronic closed its Puerto Rican factories to allow employees to take care of their personal needs. This photo was taken in Guanica, which is a littl

Medtronic shuts Puerto Rico factories as workers dig out from quakes

No significant damage was reported. Op­er­ations were halt­ed as em­ploy­ees as­sessed their own situa­tions and tend­ed to per­son­al needs.
Neringa Zymancius, left, led a 2018 protest at the Oak Brook, Ill., headquarters of Sterigenics against the company’s ETO sterilization plant in nea

Med-tech industry anxious as local communities push on toxic chemical use

Plants using ethylene oxide to sterilize medical devices face scrutiny, as ETO is now called carcinogenic
John Haverty was facing amputation until a persistent infection was treated with phage therapy. He recently was able to travel to see the Arches in Ut

Minn. man faced loss of leg after antibiotics failed, but then an old remedy worked

The 62-year-old had 17 surgeries over a decade to rid his leg of a stubborn infection that lingered after knee-implant surgery. He had no way of knowing his eventual cure lay in a bacteria-killing virus known as a "phage," found writhing in a sewer treatment plant.
Verata was founded in 2017 by former Mayo Clinic physician Dr. Jeremy Friese, a radiologist with an MBA who grew frustrated after seeing firsthand the

Former Mayo doctor's Bloomington startup helping hospitals with complicated prior authorization process

Verata is using artificial intelligence to speed prior authorization process.

FDA says Smiths Medical drug-infusion pump recall is Class 1

A software problem with the Smiths Medical devices deemed potentially dangerous or lethal.
Gov. Tim Walz

Gov. Walz hopes to tighten data security at Minn. insurers

The proposal follows revelations about vulnerabilities in computer systems at Minnesota Blue Cross.
Boston Scientific offices in Arden Hills.

FDA says Boston Scientific's new single-use scope a step forward in safety

The FDA-approved single-use device could soon replace those that are reused on patients.
Certain model of the SynchroMed II made between May 2018 and April 2019 have been recalled.

Medtronic issues recall of some models of SynchroMed II drug pump

Medtronic said motors in some SynchroMed II models can seize up.
A whistleblower told trustees he believed Blue Cross was failing to take reasonable protective steps with data.

Minnesota Blue Cross scrambles to boost cyberdefenses

Protecting its 2.8 million users' info is a top priority, the insurer says, and "efforts are ongoing."
The Gonda Building, which is part of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. (GLEN STUBBE/Star Tribune)

Mayo Clinic, maker of Gore-Tex outerwear are teaming up in Crohn's fight

For-profit venture, called Avobis Bio, hopes to market promising stem cell therapy for Crohn's disease.
Michael Sween, 28, of Minneapolis, died on Nov. 8, 2019 in a car accident.

Michael Sween, outdoors enthusiast who battled mental illness, dies at age 28

A world traveler, the Minneapolis man died in his beloved Toyota Land Cruiser while trying to avoid another vehicle that hit a deer.
Mayo Clinic announces joint venture to operate 'mega-hospital' in United Arab Emirates

Mayo Clinic announces joint venture to operate 'mega-hospital' in United Arab Emirates

Aim is to replicate clinic's care in Abu Dhabi center.
In this Aug. 29, 2019 photo, the Medronic logo is reflected in a lake at the Minnesota headquarters in Fridley, Minn.

Medtronic says MiniMed 600-series insulin pumps have potential safety risk

Medtronic issues warning regarding its MiniMed 600-series devices.

FDA approves Medtronic medical balloon for kidney patients

Medtronic's drug-coated device is to keep kidney patients' vessels open.
Rochester cancer-therapy firm to collaborate with drugmaker on melanoma treatment

Rochester cancer-therapy firm to collaborate with drugmaker on melanoma treatment

Vyriad, a company in southeastern Minnesota that is designing viruses to selectively kill cancer cells, has signed a major agreement with the biotech drugmaker Regeneron…
Medronic’s operational headquarters in Fridley. The legal headquarters of Medtronic is in Ireland.

Medtronic beats earnings estimates, talks up innovation

The medical device maker saw growth across all four product groups.

Medical Alley, Accenture to collaborate on value-based health care initiative

Goal is to move toward value-based care.
Robert Ford has worked at Abbott for 23 years, and came up through the company’s diabetes care division.

New Abbott Labs CEO has deep background in medical devices

Robert Ford played key role in St. Jude merger.
Boston Scientific’s Watchman permanently seals off an obscure corridor of the heart where blood clots form when the heart is quivering, allowing pat

Stroke-prevention device with Minnesota ties reaches a key milestone

Boston Scientific's Watchman has become a key tool in treating patients with atrial fibrillation

Patterson Cos. strikes agreement with FTC to settle price-fixing allegations

The dental-supplies firm won't have to pay a fine.

Maple Grove-based Pursuit Vascular sold for $75 million to California firm

Pursuit Vascular, a Maple Grove company whose small venous-access caps can make a big difference in warding off devastating infections, is being acquired by a…

Boston Scientific beats earnings expectations despite challenges

Despite pressure on several fronts, medical device maker Boston Scientific reported quarterly results that were above market expectations on Wednesday, lifting the stock 5%, to…

Pressure mounts for med-tech to show its value

A push to value-based care may not treat all device categories the same under the proposal.
Jolie Holland, a licensed school nurse in the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winstead School District in central Minnesota, prepares an insulin pen for an inject

Minnesota insurers try to address unhealthy cost of insulin in 2020

In 2019, Caitlin Block has paid as much as $552 a month to buy insulin, a drug she needs to stay alive. The 30-year-old Coon…

Health care company shutting down New Hope facility, eliminating over 50 jobs

About 50 at New Hope facility will lose their jobs.
Pat Dillon of the Minnesota High Technology Association

Minnesota High Tech Association to coach firms to win grants

The new accelerator program will help small-tech firms learn how to apply for funding.
Medtronic's Fridley offices.

Medtronic to create $35M settlement fund for implantable drug pump lawsuits

About 500 people would receive settlements from the fund for those who say they were harmed by the SynchroMed II: documents.
Medtronic on Tuesday introduced the Hugo RAS, its robotic system for soft tissue surgery.

Medtronic demonstrates its robotic surgery system, expects to begin selling it in 2 years

Device maker's product would assist in surgeries, be on market in 2 years.
This erroneous email was sent to Allina Health patients on Thursday and Friday as a result of a technical glitch at the health system. Allina says no

Allina Health MyChart users sent erroneous e-mails, raising concerns

Thousands of Minnesotans received the messages saying the e-mail address used to contact them had changed, but Allina is assuring patients that nothing was changed and no data were breached.
Matthew H. Wiederkehr

Matthew H. Wiederkehr, early professional balloonist, dies at 90

He became dedicated later in life to a little-known rosary called the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows.
Owatonna podiatrist Dr. Barry Butler with a working mock-up of his invention, the SubioMed shoe insert, which uses layers of flexible carbon fiber pad

Bloomington startup's device is making it easier to walk in a cast

SubioMed's device uses a mechanism that makes it easier to walk in a cast or a brace, and reduce lingering pain.
The University of Minnesota is proposing to buy the Shriner’s Hospital on the bluffs of the Mississippi in Minneapolis for $22.5 million. The U inte

U eyes Shriners site in Minneapolis for child brain health research center

$55 million plan is to turn the property into a research site for children's brain health.

Medical device makers see slowdown in sales of highly touted opioid alternative

Manufacturers seek answers to growth decline of promising alternative to addictive drugs.
The TriClip was designed by Abbott Laboratories in Chicago.

Abbott doctor helps move cardiac innovation from the left to right side of heart

A new class of structural heart devices is undergoing testing by Abbott Northwestern patients.
Geoff Martha

New Medtronic CEO's big challenge: Growing revenue in a tough market

Geoff Martha needs to improve shareholder returns and grow revenue in a tough market.
Omar Ishrak, chairman and chief executive, will step down from his CEO role in spring 2020.

Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak to retire in 2020

Executive Vice President Geoff Martha, who led the Covidien acquisition, will succeed him.
Christina Doran, manager at LadiBugs, uses new cold-air technology to kill lice and nits on a client. LadiBugs has begun using a new technology that d

Hot air, cold air, combs: battling lice is a $1.9 billion business

The market has been fundamentally changed by the rise of lice that are resistant to the common over-the-counter treatments.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is the latest insurer to jump into the race to limit consumers spending on insulin.

Blue Cross Minnesota to eliminate insulin co-pays for fully insured members

Blue Cross is the latest insurer in Minnesota to change insulin coverage for next year.
Medtronic's latest profit rose 6% and executives raised their outlook.

Medtronic talks robots as it beats earnings estimates, hikes guidance

Device maker touts a product pipeline that includes a dual-chamber tiny pacemaker.
A Boston Scientific Corporation logo is displayed in Massachusetts in July 2010. (AP file photo.) ORG XMIT: MIN2018051422163682

Boston Sci closes on $4.3 billion deal for British health company BTG

Jobs will be added in Minnesota to manage treatments, devices acquired in the deal for BTG.
Dr. Jacob Bergsland, left, and Nikolai Hiorth co-founded a medical device company called CardioMech, which is developing a minimally invasive system t

Norway company aims to create a device in Twin Cities to treat heart valve disease

CardioMech AS is building its team in Minnesota and plans a funding round soon for its mitral-valve repair system.
A patient holds a vial of insulin during a news conference outside a Windor, Ont. pharmacy on July 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) ORG XMIT: MERed1

UCare is second insurer in Minnesota to unveil $25 cap for insulin

The Minneapolis-based health plan's move comes on heels of similar Medica benefit.
Carolyn Pare, CEO of the Minnesota Health Action Group, will depart the organization at the end of September.

Longtime CEO of Minnesota Health Action Group to retire

Carolyn Pare has led the not-for-profit health care group for 20 years.
Implantable heart monitors accounted for nearly $1 billion in U.S. sales last year and continue to grow, with Medtronic’s Reveal Linq leading the ma

Why is an Ohio hospital getting false alerts from a Medtronic heart monitor?

An Ohio medical center reported a "significant" number of false positives with a Medtronic device and is working with the company on solutions.
This 2015, file photo shows the Food and Drug Administration campus in Silver Spring, Md. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) ORG XMIT: MIN1906211122490662

FDA to require enhanced warnings on labels of certain drug-coated medical devices

Stents and balloons coated with the drug can remain on the market for PAD.
Sign outside Medica headquarters in Minnetonka.

Medica to cap monthly out-of-pocket insulin costs at $25 beginning Jan. 1

The insurer said it will absorb the cost of spending caps for as many as 6,500 members.

Plaintiffs' attorneys plan to appeal Bair Hugger ruling

Judged tossed 5,000 cases alleging body warmers caused post-surgical infections.
3M's Bair Hugger patient warming system is depicted in a company provided image.

Judge tosses lawsuits from 5,000-plus plaintiffs against 3M warming blanket

Judge said plaintiffs failed to prove that the warming device caused patient infections.

Prime Therapeutics says waste and fraud detection program has saved $279 million

The PBM says integrating medical data with prescribing data allows its program to cast a wider net.
An increasing number of Minnesotans covered by Blue Cross health plans are finding that their scans and medical procedures are being denied, even thou

Minnesota Blue Cross CEO defends tougher review of medical procedures

Dr. Craig Samitt says use of contractor is an effort to rein in rising costs, unnecessary care.
Bright Health CEO Bob Sheehy, Chief Health Officer Tom Valdivia and President Kyle Rolfing. ORG XMIT: MIN1707171636242753

Minneapolis' Bright Health plans to double markets where it sells health plans

Company founded by former UnitedHealth execs plans to double its locations nationally.
Boston Scientific narrowly beat profit expectations during the spring quarter.

Boston Scientific, dodging obstacles, sticks to profit goals

The company's latest results narrowly beat Wall Street expectations.
Jamal Abdulahi is CEO of FandF Health, which provides bundled information technology to small and midsize health care providers.

Did the home health care attendant show up? This app will tell you

A Minneapolis firm is offering electronic-visit verification on an easy-to-use platform for home health care providers.
Blue Cross officials on Friday rejected the allegation that they established new policies and procedures with the specific intent of denying or delayi

Blue Cross defends new policies that some say restrict needed care

Hospitals see aggressive denial of coverage; insurer says that its contractor ensures best practice.
Abbott Laboratories' latest profit was helped by sales growth at its Minnesota-based St. Jude Medical unit.

Glucose monitors, other device sales lift profit at Abbott Labs

While its medical device franchise is growing at a healthy rate overall, Abbott Laboratories is working quarter by quarter to unlock the growth potential of…
.

Hospital trade group wants Minn. to investigate Blue Cross Blue Shield

The insurer defended rules that the Minnesota Hospital Association said may violate state law.
John Hetterick, former CEO of Rollerblade and disability-rights activitst, who died suddenly an hour before his grand-daughter’s baby shower at his

John F. Hetterick, former PepsiCo and Rollerblade executive, dies at age 74

It was a baby shower unlike any other.Late last month, guests bearing baby gifts arrived at the Plymouth home of John and Kathe Hetterick, whose…
The FDA issued an alert on Medtronic MiniMed insulin pumps.

FDA recalls Medtronic 600-series MiniMed insulin pumps

Alert says Medtronic's MiniMed device could malfunction on airplanes.
CEO Jeff Ross, seen at Miromatrix headquarters in Eden Prairie in 2017, said the goal of the spinoff is to build sales for two products cleared by the

Miromatrix spins out a company, steps up focus on bioengineered organs for humans

Reprise Biomedical will focus on device maker's hernia and wound-repair products.
SPR Therapeutics’ Sprint peripheral nerve stimulation system is constructed using a tiny 100-micron wire, about the size of a human hair.

SPR Therapeutics' neuromodulation system treats phantom-limb pain

Minnesota-made system has created long-lasting pain relief in trials.
Pictured is Medtronic’s MiniMed 508 insulin pump.

Medtronic: Older insulin pumps are vulnerable to hackers

Medtronic is warning thousands of users worldwide that the devices may contain a serious cybersecurity vulnerability allowing a malicious hacker to change drug-delivery settings.
This 2018 file photo shows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration building behind FDA logos at a bus stop on the agency's campus in Silver Spring, Md.

FDA releases millions of records of incidents involving medical devices

The previously undisclosed records were filed by device makers from 1999 to April.

FDA panel sees link between paclitaxel devices, patient death risk

Experts worry that its use for blocked leg arteries is linked to patient deaths.

After review of paclitaxel risks, FDA panel recommends more data

Seek more data to assess a rise in deaths and update product labels to reflect potential deaths, experts tell regulators after 2-day hearing.
A peripheral stent was made by Boston Scientific and designed in Maple Grove. September 2, 2015 in Maple Grove, MN.

Twin Cities companies have a lot riding on FDA's decision on drug-coated stents

Paclitaxel-coated variation proved troubling after a close look at trial results.
Medtronic, which is run from operational headquarters in Fridley, has more than 750,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Mexico, roughly 8% of th

Medical device makers in Minnesota, U.S. brace for tariff fallout

The cost of components from Mexico could soar by tens of millions a month.
Mike Magee, author of "Code Blue"

A doctor exposes dysfunction in U.S. health care in 'Code Blue'

NONFICTION: "Code Blue" reveals long-standing, intractable problems.
The new report shows 2% of patients with Biotronik’s Orsiro stent needed a “revascularization” within three years.

Is a thinner stent a better stent? Device makers are trying to find out

A recent study bolstered an 'ultra thin' model developed by a German device maker, but Medtronic and Boston Sci aren't convinced.
Medtronic's MiniMed 670G “hybrid closed-loop” system.

Medtronic touts promising trial results for its 670G insulin pump

Device maker says insulin pump can reduce roller coaster of highs and lows.
Katrina Anderson, co-founder and CEO, ClinicianNexus
The Minneapolis company is a software provider that helps track health system workers’ training

Health care software CEO talks about training challenges facing health systems

Doctors and other health professionals can’t learn everything in the classroom — at least half of a student’s undergraduate medical education happens in hospitals and…
Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak. The company beat profit expectations in the latest period but sales of its biggest product category, heart-rhythm devices,

Medtronic beats profit expectations despite declining heart device sales

CEO calls the performance a "solid finish" to fiscal year.
FILE - This Aug. 2, 2018 file photo shows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration building behind FDA logos at a bus stop on the agency's campus in Silv

FDA hidden database included 37,000 reports of problems with Medtronic defibrillator wires

Some 37,000 defibrillator reports at issue; Medtronic says doctors notified.
Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

Hospitals on alert to fix potential cybersecurity risk

Microsoft has made available a security patch for operating systems, even those it doesn't support anymore, to prevent a ransomware attack.

CVRx data show its device can benefit heart-failure patients

In a first, Minnesota medical device maker CVRx presented data at an influential medical meeting over the weekend showing that its implantable Barostim Neo electric-stimulation…