ST. LOUIS – Advocacy in eye health, product innovation and the patient experience are three areas of focus for Thomas Swinnen, the new North American president for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.
Primary Care Optometry News spoke with Swinnen here at Optometry’s Meeting about the priorities he has developed in his 3 months with Johnson & Johnson.
“We must continue to drive advocacy in eye health,” he told PCON. “Patients want convenience, but they don’t understand ‘bad convenience.’ The doctor-patient relationship needs to stay in the middle. We cannot jeopardize patient health for the sake of convenience.”
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care is a member of the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety, which advocates for eye health and safety and elevates the doctor-patient relationship. The alliance recently announced that the House Committee on Appropriations urged the Federal Trade Commission to update the process by which contact lenses are verified.
Swinnen said in a press release from the alliance: “This report language reflects the importance of amplifying patient eye health and safety issues with policymakers. We’re pleased that the committee recognizes the need to modernize the prescription verification process – a critical step in maintaining the doctor-patient relationship at the center of patient care.”
Swinnen also discussed with PCON Johnson & Johnson’s Acuvue Oasys with Transitions, an innovation that “offers a way for eye care providers to manage light,” he said.
“It’s a dynamic solution for something that’s static – a contact lens,” Swinnen said. “Patient feedback has been tremendous, and we will continue to evaluate the technology.”
The company is also working on incorporating antihistamine into a contact lens, he said.
Swinnen noted that the patient experience is changing, with everyone becoming more digitally savvy.
“This affects not only technology, but how we interact with each other,” he said. “Engagement must be interactive and smooth.”
Johnson & Johnson’s MyAcuvue Subscription Program for contact lenses optimizes the patient experience, “closing the loop on all of these issues,” he said. – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO
Disclosure: Swinnen is employed by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.