With change sweeping through healthcare in the form of hospital consolidation, coupled with requirements to increase operational efficiency and improve patient outcomes, medical device suppliers face a new landscape. To control costs and enhance quality of care, administrators play an ever-increasing role in purchasing decisions. This means medical suppliers must alter their approach to customer interaction.
Historically, surgeons and other clinicians were the primary decision makers for operating room supplies. So, medical device suppliers focused their selling and marketing efforts on them. “The clinical decision maker was our primary focus,” says Tim Schmid, chief strategic customer officer of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies (JJMDC). In 2016, the JJMDC embarked on a new commercial model that focuses on the needs of the hospital C-suite, while maintaining its commitment to clinicians. Schmid—formerly president of Ethicon US, part of the JJMDC—was named to lead a new organization tasked with fostering relationships with health system administrators called the Strategic Customer Group.
Schmid’s organization helps bring the best of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies to health systems. “Our role is to help create access to the C-suite while our device companies continue driving clinical demand for our products and services,” Schmid says. Each health system now interacts with one empowered leader, accountable for coordinating resources aligned to the customer’s priorities. Working with fewer points of contact simplifies the experience and was just what customers were asking for, Schmid says. It’s a big change from just four years ago, when each of Johnson & Johnson’s eighteen medical device companies operated independently with health systems.
Implementing a new service model was a business imperative. “The days of health systems carrying multiple device brands in the same category are numbered, especially with the accelerating focus on addressing clinical and operational variability,” Schmid says. His group is also helping streamline procurement and contracting processes. “We have new progressive contracting models, covering all categories in which we do business,” he says. Customers can utilize one master agreement with standard terms and conditions across the JJMDC.
The organization functions more like a strategic partner and less like a traditional vendor. The focus is on assisting health systems to achieve the triple aim: lower costs, better patient outcomes, and increased patient satisfaction. “It’s no longer enough to just make medical devices,” Schmid says. “We must bring value at every point along the care pathway.”
For example—through CareAdvantage from the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies, a holistic, data-driven approach—health systems can now access the broad clinical, consumer, and operational capabilities of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies to address the triple aim. From an operational perspective, Schmid’s team offers tailored approaches to help health systems improve efficiency, decrease complexity, and reduce waste across the entire supply chain through proven order performance, inventory management, and logistics strategies.
To address patient outcomes and satisfaction, Schmid’s group offers other elements of its CareAdvantage capabilities focused on care pathways and consumer patient insights and engagement. For example, Digital Care Navigation helps hospitals engage, educate, and communicate with orthopedic patients, guiding them through their episode of care. Another capability, PATIENT ATHLETE, is designed to help patients prepare for and recover from orthopedic surgery using science-based principles from the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute.
Beyond its work with health systems, Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to advancing human health includes a passion for philanthropy, and Schmid leads the corporation’s partnership with Operation Smile. For more than twenty-five years, Johnson & Johnson has supported Operation Smile in its efforts to help children afflicted with cleft lip and cleft palate with donations of more than $25 million in surgical supplies and cash through 2015 and a commitment of another $25 million over the next five years. Johnson & Johnson’s business in surgical products and its focus on healthcare makes supporting Operation Smile’s mission a natural fit.
Schmid has traveled to several Operation Smile missions, where he had the powerful experience of following patients and their families through surgery and witnessing the impact that a forty-five-minute surgery can have in transforming a life. “It’s difficult to express how deeply impactful this experience was for me and others on my team, but it really helped reinforce the importance of the work we do every day” he says. “We were extremely humbled and honored to represent Johnson & Johnson.”
At Johnson & Johnson, employees are proud to lend their support and are encouraged to get involved in philanthropic causes like Operation Smile. The company has also found that this work helps advance employee engagement. Through employee initiatives on behalf of Operation Smile, more than one hundred thousand children have had surgery to correct their condition.
“It’s an example of the profound change we can make by giving back,” Schmid says. “That’s why I’m completely passionate about it, both professionally, and more importantly, personally.”