→ PRIOR JOB: Global Vice President, Eye Health Integration at Johnson & Johnson Vision.
• THOUGHTS ON MYOPIA: “. . . Myopia is an area where we are looking to find innovative solutions.”
→ WHAT YOU WON’T FIND ON HIS LINKEDIN PAGE: “I’m Belgian, so if it isn’t chocolate or a nice Belgian beer, nothing happens in my house.”
Thomas Swinnen, recently named as president, North America for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., says he is eager and excited to focus on three company goals, which he shared with the Optometric Management staff at Optometry’s Meeting, the annual AOA conference, held in St. Louis, in June.
“I think it’s the optometrist who’s at the center of patient care, and one of the reasons I’m here is to listen to them and figure out how we can support their needs,” he says. “Based on meetings with fellow J&J Vision staff and O.D.s, I think it all comes down to three company goals.”
Mr. Swinnen listed those three goals as:
1. Advocating for eye health. While patients express a desire for convenience, J&J Vision wants to ensure that convenience isn’t traded off for the standard of care.
“That means protecting the doctor-patient relationship, which is why we [J&J Vision] are so passionate about our leadership position with the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety and why we believe in and support the AOA and the Think About Your Eyes campaign,” he explains.
2. Innovation. “We want to continue to provide innovative products that optometrists can proudly prescribe to their patients, and I think we’ve accomplished this recently with the availability of ACUVUE OASYS with Transitions, which is about correcting refractive error and offering new lifestyle benefits of value to consumers, such as addressing bothersome light,” Mr. Swinnen says.
Although the company’s antihistamine-eluting contact lens isn’t yet available for commercialization, Mr. Swinnen says the lens generates excitement too because, “it creates that opportunity to make an impact across the entire journey of the patient.”
3. Customer experience. Mr. Swinnen says the company is interested in tapping into the wants and needs of all customers and millennials, in particular:
“We [J&J Vision] know they comprise a great deal of the current population, that they are digitally savvy; they want convenience; they want to connect on a personal level; they want access to their information; they want to be engaged; and they want to feel they can get answers to their questions. And these are all needs we need to address but, again, without compromising the doctor-patient relationship,” he relays.
One way to meet this challenge is through contact lens subscription services, such as MyACUVUE, which allow patients to pay for their lenses on a monthly basis. These provide the convenience patients covet without intervening in the doctor-patient relationship “which is crucial to exceptional patient care,” says Mr. Swinnen. OM