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Advancing the Safe Use of Healthcare Products


A quick-fire interview with J&J’s Joanne Waldstreicher about the company’s “Advancing the Safe Use of Healthcare Products QuickFire Challenge”.

A quick-fire interview with J&J’s Joanne Waldstreicher about the companys “Advancing the Safe Use of Healthcare Products QuickFire Challenge”.

Last year, the first “Advancing the Safe Use of Healthcare Products QuickFire Challenge”- a joint initiative between Johnson & Johnson’s Office of the Chief Medical Officer and Johnson & Johnson Innovation-called for innovative ideas from global applicants across the pharmaceutical, medical device, and consumer products sectors to help advance the safe use of healthcare products. The winner, CertaDose-a novel pediatric dosing system designed to reduce errors in calculating pediatric dosing for injectable medicines-was announced in late November.

PharmExec caught up with Joanne Waldstreicher, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at J&J’s Office of the Chief Medical Officer, for more details about the Quickfire Challenge and how it supports the Office’s vision.


PharmExec: Can you outline the work of the Chief Medical Officer and how the QuickFire Challenge fits into its remit?

Joanne Waldstreicher

Joanne Waldstreicher: The Office of the Chief Medical Officer is focused across all three sectors of J&J -consumer, pharmaceuticals, medical devices-with an approach that is evidence- and science-based, as well as ethics and values driven. We try to bring that strategy and those principals into everything that we do. We are an independent, objective group within the company-we’re not part of R&D, regulatory, commercial, etc-and that helps us have a keen focus on what is best for patients and consumers - the people who use our products.

We approached this QuickFire Challenge, advancing the safe use of healthcare products, with the thinking that, most of the time, people think about innovation as a new treatment or a new product. What we really wanted to stimulate was some more innovation thinking and innovative solutions around safety and the safe use of healthcare products.


What key issues/themes emerged from the entries submitted this year?

We had about 100 applicants from around the world-including 70 from North America and 12 from Europe-and we saw many different ideas come up in digital health, ways to mitigate challenges with medication errors, new tools for surgery or enhancing surgery, and solutions around decreasing infection.


How difficult was it to select a winner from the finalists, and what made CertaDose’s entry stand out particularly and what was the process?

Before we received the submissions, we divided our company experts in to teams of experts  in surgery, safety, consumer products, etc. As the applications came in, we sent them to the relevant experts and we employed a ratings system that we used to rate them. Then we got together as a team and reviewed the top applicants. CertaDose’s application really stood out in our minds for a variety of reasons. It is a very innovative solution for pediatric dosing errors, but at the same time it is very simple. It is based on a color system that’s already used in emergency rooms and hospitals, which is based on children’s weight. What CertaDose did was create a color matching pediatric dosing system for an injectable medicine, which, by using the color system, gets rid of three different mathematical calculations that doctors, nurses and healthcare workers need to do to administer this particular medicine,  epinephrine. We found it so simple yet so meaningful. Also, as it involves the most vulnerable patients-children-it just rang out to us as a worthy winner.


How will J&J work with the winners to help realize their idea?

As the winning application, CertaDose gets a $100,000 grant from us to further develop the dosing system, as well as mentorship from leaders in our team to help them in any way that they need.  In addition,  they will also have space in our JLBAS facility to be able to set up their office.

What we will do now is watch how CertaDose evolves, how their idea develops further, and how they use the funding. Then we’ll to come together as a group and figure out the launch our second QuickFire challenge.



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