Spotlight on Award Winners: J&J’s Improved Shears Decrease Packaging and Waste, Enhance Performance
This article is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson.
In a recent Johnson & Johnson study of global health care professionals, over half of respondents said hospitals are incorporating sustainability into their purchasing decisions, and 80% said that will be the case within the next two years. The results of the study – commissioned by Johnson & Johnson and conducted by Harris Polls – reflect a growing focus on sustainability, a trend that inspired improvement on an already successful product with the launch of the Harmonic Focus+ Shears, winner of a 2015 Environmental Leader Top Product of the Year Award.
Johnson & Johnson’s original Harmonic Focus Shears were successful at improving the experience of surgeons in the operating room. But a few needs were still not being met, says Karin Bergqvist, a senior marketing manager with Ethicon, part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies. “We wanted to improve the experience of the surgeon, but our customers are not only the clinical customers but also the non-clinical stakeholders. And because sustainability is more of a focus in hospitals now, we saw the opportunity to reduce packaging and device materials used, while further improving the experience,” she says.
For the new Harmonic Focus+ Shears with Adaptive Tissue Technology, Johnson & Johnson reduced device material by 25% and packaging by 22%, compared to existing Harmonic Focus, decreasing the hazardous waste of hospitals by six pounds per 100 devices, and reducing transportation and storage costs. To inform the product’s improvements, the company says it applied the Johnson & Johnson Earthwards approach to sustainable product innovation.
Additionally, the new shears enable surgeons to perform many jobs with one device, reducing instrument exchanges during surgery. This means shorter procedures and better outcomes. The slimmer design increases speed and visibility, and improves dissection capabilities. Adaptive Tissue Technology regulates energy output for improved thermal management and efficiency of energy delivery, Johnson & Johnson says. The product has also generated strong business results, contributing 5.6% to the overall Focus line to-date.
In order to create a new, sustainable and successful product, a company should first look for unmet needs in the marketplace, suggests Bergqvist. “You can’t innovate just to innovate. The innovation has to be rooted in customer needs. This means you have to spend time in the research and development process.”
Once aware of the needs that can be met by creating or improving a product, look at additional benefits that can be provided. “It was the unmet clinical needs that got us thinking about refreshing the Harmonic Focus, but we took the opportunity to look at environmental improvements, as well,” Bergqvist says. “You have to be able to look at it with a broader view, to say, ‘what else can we improve that would be important to the customer?’”
The Harmonic Focus+ Shears appear to have successfully met the needs of clinical and non-clinical stakeholders, from both a practical and sustainable point of view. “This product illustrates nicely the notion that sustainability can be a huge driver of product innovation leading to new and/or increased revenues as this one has. This aspect of sustainability is often overlooked. A great advance in medical device technology,” said an EL Product & Project Awards judge.
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