After learning of these changes, three words sprung to my mind: “People,” “Convergence” and "Reinvention."
I’ll start with convergence.
Ever since I joined Johnson & Johnson, I've heard about how the company is uniquely positioned. Let's face it -- how many other healthcare companies can boast of a portfolio of products that range from skin care products to sophisticated medical device and diagnostic tools to prescription medications? Since each operating company or business unit has a wealth of consumer and scientific knowledge in many different fields, perhaps one of the greatest opportunities for the company is to take advantage of this expertise to create innovative new products or approaches to patient care.
That’s a great objective, and recently the folks here in New Brunswick and at the company’s operating units have been talking a lot about how the company can enhance how it leverages these strengths to better serve patients, caregivers and customers amid changes that are leading people to take a more active role in their healthcare needs.
That’s where people come in.
When you take a good hard look at the trend for more consumer-driven healthcare (something that's been touched on a few times on JNJBTW), you find that patients, medical professionals and others think about treatment in terms of the entire continuum of care - not just on a product by product basis.
This trend is one of the reasons behind the creation of what's being called the Surgical Care Group. Today, most Johnson & Johnson products touch the surgical patient at just one moment in time - during surgery. But the surgical patient can also benefit from products sold by other J&J medical device companies.
Orthopedic surgery provides a great example of this -- and I know this first hand. When I broke my hip while skiing seven years ago (don’t ask…) I not only had implants in my leg, I was then sutured up, and underwent a lengthy recovery that involved other treatments and therapy to get me on my feet (and the slopes) again. The Surgical Care Group will look at care through the patient’s eyes to see if there are identify products and services that they can provide a more complete package for surgical patients - that can also help improve outcomes.
Thinking about people was also behind the creation of the Comprehensive Care Group. Those businesses are going to look at conditions and chronic diseases, such as metabolic disorders, from the patient’s perspective to find more opportunities for all of Johnson & Johnson’s businesses.
For example, metabolic disorders include chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease -- and the breadth and scope of Johnson & Johnson's business puts the company in a great position to provide comprehensive care to patients.
In fact, this was a point made by Nick Valeriani during last month's third quarter earnings call. To illustrate how different parts the business can help management diabetes, during our third quarter conference call Nick Valeriani described the use of biomarkers to detect diseases and medical conditions earlier than before, including a new gene-based test that’s been approved to detect if breast cancer had spread to the lymph nodes. These novel new approaches were made possible through collaboration between the company’s pharmaceutical and medical diagnostics businesses.
As part of last week’s changes, Nick was given responsibility for an entirely new function for Johnson & Johnson -- the Office of Strategy and Growth - which is charged with looking at new technology platforms and strategic opportunities outside of businesses the company is in now. This all reminded me of a post my colleague Bill Price put together some time ago - about how one of Johnson & Johnson’s strengths was how it would periodically reinvent itself - and that this reinvention has helped Johnson & Johnson grow and prosper as the market and industry has changed over time.
You could say that in this regard, Nick’s new role is nothing really new - it’s just another part of the ongoing reinvention of the company.