RISK AND QUALITY MANAGEMENT IN HEALTH CARE
Healthcare service industry is delicate since it deals with saving and improving the quality of life that people lead. Complex issues in this industry occur as a result of fear pain and insecurity which is caused by reported incidents. This has created the need for risk and quality management programs that identify the causes of clinical issues that arise, their symptoms and measures that can be taken to prevent similar occurrences in future (Meena, 2011). Johnson & Johnson has put health first by ensuring that people are well and stay well. Its internal risk concepts revolve around quality assurance, reputation, protecting trade secrets, environmental health and safety as well as supply chain management. As for the external concepts, emphasis have been put on technological advances, competition for talent and the general conditions in the industry, economic conditions and healthcare reforms. While addressing these issues, the organization ensures that risk and quality issues that may arise are anticipated for and addressed adequately to promote efficient health care (Kavaler, Alexander & Kavaler, 2013). This paper analyses the risk and quality management concepts in Johnson & Johnson, how they are addressed, and the changes that can be introduced to improve quality.
Risk and Quality Management in Johnson & Johnson
The most common issues in hospital risk management include; Intubation errors during the administration of drugs, cases of infant trauma or even death in childbirth are also common. They have been associated with delayed response by staff. The breaches of privacy and confidentiality as well as inadequate information on the risks and alternatives that exist in a particular treatment have also received a lot of attention. Risk and quality management aims at preventing wrongful or unexpected death which is the biggest fear to both patients and medical staff (Kavaler, Alexander & Kavaler, 2013). Johnson & Johnson is an American health care company that specializes in research and development and manufacture of health care products. It addresses issues in consumer, pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical devices. Its key concepts of risk and quality management evolve around the nature of products released into the markets (Meena, 2011).
The company’s long term goal is evident in the mission statement in which the company declares a first responsibility to every single person that uses its products and services. It aims at delivering the best quality while maintaining reasonable prices through cost cutting. Prompt and accurate response to consumer needs is the ultimate goal in delivering quality health care. Its short term goals are meant to compliment the long term goals by ensuring that every product is designed to ensure that it can last through its shelf life and perform as required. The suppliers who offer raw materials must meet the requirements set by the organization. There is always a reviewing and approving procedure before changes can be made in the composition, labeling, packaging, procedures, systems and equipment of any products (Diggs-Brown, 2012).
Johnson & Johnson also promotes confidence among its consumers by putting procedures in place to prevent the products from following the unintended distribution channels and from counterfeiting. These precautions are exercised by working closely with health authorities and other bodies who set standards to ensure that the quality systems are up to date and that they are improved continuously. The businesses and facilities are certified by the International Organization for Standardization which means that the organization’s products meet the rigorous standards set. Continuous training programs for the employees have been introduced to empower them to create and manage quality systems to meet all regulatory requirements. It has extended its commitment to compliance by engaging the external manufacturers who produce the ingredients or the finished products. It has established responsibility standards that are used to identify partners and suppliers who operate by the company’s values and understand the performances expected of them (Johnson & Johnson 2013).
Risk factors exist in the product development life cycle. It starts from developing the product concept, conducting research and development, certification, processes and procedures in manufacturing and production, product marketing and promotion, storage, supply and distribution, utilization by consumers, deposal methods and finally reuse and recycling. There is a risk factor in very stage of the product development and the organization identifies issues that may arise in each of the stages and establish prevention strategies. Quality checks and testing are performed on products before they can be released in the market for consumption. Even after the products get into the market, the company goes a step further to promote appropriate use by educating consumers on how to use and dispose these products. These educations programs are aimed at the general public, the doctors and other health care professionals are also educated to ensure that they are very conversant with the products that they administer to patients (Johnson & Johnson, 2011).
There is a great risk in ingredient safety and the organization has addressed this risk by engaging the pharmacists, laboratory analysis and toxicologists in extensive evaluations. They are carried out in the company’s libraries that have been put have for this purpose. The specialists work with sophisticated tools and systems to analyze factors that may affects quality, efficacy and safety of the final products before they are released into the market. Product ingredient is especially risk because consumer needs keep changing and there is a need for innovation and reformulation of products to keep up with the changing needs. For instance, the company had to phase out formaldehyde releaser preservative from baby products since there were cases of allergy from the use of such products. They have been replaced by cleansing formulations that keep the levels of dioxins at minimal levels. It is well below the amount considered to be safe by the US Food and drug Administration and regulatory agency. The company aims at providing mothers and their babies with products that are safe, mild and gentle. These products promote trust and confidence in the Johnson & Johnson products (Johnson & Johnson, 2011).
Product labeling also poses a health risk to Johnson & Johnson products since there is a probability of people using the wrong products to solve delicate issues. The company has overcome this risk by including package inserts in all the pharmaceutical products that are sold over the counter. These inserts contain appropriate information to be read by both patients and health care professionals. As for the consumer products, the products are labeled with instructions and information which is easy to read and understand. The information guides the consumers on how the product can be used and contains a list of all the ingredients that have been used as well as the proper disposal method to be used. Providing consumers with information reduces the risk of wrong prescription since the patients can easily read and confirm whether the medication can be used on their condition or not. On occasions in which they feel that a mistake has been done, this information empowers them to question and obtain a clearer explanation as to why they should or should not use the drugs provided (Johnson & Johnson, 2011).
The risk of customer dissatisfaction, lost trust and confidence in the services or products provided by Johnson & Johnson has been addressed and measures have been put in place to strengthen customer relationships. The company employs mechanisms like surveys, interactions on the website, focus groups and patient advisory groups to measure customer satisfaction. Once the feedback is collected, the issues are analyzed and addressed internally to come up with corrective measures. Such information is not shared externally for the sake of competition. Customer service issues revolve around the supply chain and have been addressed using an operating model which promotes reliable product supply by eliminating complexity and redundancy in the process (Johnson & Johnson, 2011).
In marketing communication, pharmaceutical products are supplied directly to the retailers, wholesalers and to medical professional for prescription. Medical devices and diagnostics are distributed to retailers, hospitals and to wholesalers. However, they are used principally in the professional fields by clinics, nurses, therapists, hospitals and physicians. Information is given to the consumers either face to face by medical practitioners before any operations are done. It can also be accessed from print media, on the internet, broadcast and social media. While interacting with healthcare professionals, Johnson & Johnson follows the Voluntary AdvaMed Code of ethics to promote healthy relationships. It has also established internal guidelines that are used in direct communication with consumers. It works closely with health care compliance officers in assessing the business to establish whether the policies and procedures, resources, monitoring and training complies with the standards set for the promotion of regulated products (Johnson & Johnson, 2011).
Compliance risks are prevented by promoting accountability for the mistakes that occur. For instance, the case of Motrin which is an over the counter pain relief medication and the harm it caused its users attracted a lot of attention. It resulted in civil laws suits and negative publicity which destroyed consumer confidence in Johnson & Johnson products (Philip, 2011). There were also numerous cases of a faulty hip implant that resulted in traumatizing and complex revision surgeries to remove the faulty hips. Patients suffered from the side effects of the hip failure and the multiple surgeries. The company expects all the businesses and the employees to comply with the rules and regulations for the provision and use of the company products and services (Michelmore & McDermott, 2011).
To promote quality in health care innovative quality assurance should be explicit and systemized by setting methods, apprising and maintaining them. This eliminates the probability of introducing products that may not work well on the consumers like the case of allergic reactions due to formaldehyde releaser preservative in baby products. The organization involves suppliers, health care professionals and researchers among other stake holders. It is essential for it to establish a single set of values and ideals so as to promote proper functioning of the organizations. As a result of the increasing concern on quality health care it is important for Johnson & Johnson to integrate international standards and objectives of health care in its procedures and processes. This will solve the confusion that occurs among health care professionals as to what is expected of them in administering quality health care. The employees will be in a position to relate their values and cultures with the wider international expectations in healthcare (Kay & Denis, 1999).
Following the deteriorating malpractice litigation trends and the increased expectations on patient safety, health care providers should focus on improving the effectiveness of the risk management programs that have been put in place. Risk management involves protecting negative information from leaking into the public and liability exposure. It helps an organization to mitigate from losses that may arise in future as a result of current events. Quality management on the other hand aims at designing formal processes to improve on the causes of the underlying events. It involves parallel investigation which does not necessarily focus on litigation but rather on improving the quality of patient care. Both disciplines complement one another by ensuring that organizations do not focus more on risks to overlook the potential causes and effects likely to occur on health care. They both have a common goal of promoting quality healthcare. Johnson & Johnson has focused on both discipline and taken a responsibility to promote healthcare in the society.
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