Rob Robinson is the former Senior Director of Global Learning and Development at Johnson & Johnson Worldwide Government Affairs & Policy. He is a founder of Health Care Policy 360, an executive training program organized for businesses developed by the Quality Institute and run in partnership with the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations. For six years, Robinson led Johnson & Johnson’s customized Health Care Policy 360 program titled, Health Policy Immersion.
Can you tell us the origins of Health Care Policy 360?
In 2011, I was asked to put together a training program for our employees that would focus on changes in the U.S. health care system, specifically the Affordable Care Act, which was being discussed at the time. There were many questions among people working in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries about how these changes would impact both health care and their jobs.
We reached out to Rutgers University and also to David Knowlton (former President & CEO of the Quality Institute). David really had his finger on the pulse of what was happening in health care and the Quality Institute helped us find other faculty — people who were living the actual changes in health care — such as Linda Schwimmer of the Quality Institute, Cristie Travis of the Memphis Business Group on Health, and William Zeruld, a Quality Institute Senior Fellow and Business Development Lead for Otsuka Pharmaceuticals.
It’s been almost eight years since the ACA was enacted. How has the executive training program evolved and does it still bring value to businesses?
The program has become so much more than educating participants on the effects of the ACA. The modules span the entire health care industry and cover topics from the changing payment and delivery systems to health policy around the world to the educated consumer. The content is always current and is customizable so employers can hone in on the issues that are most relevant to them. In addition, having offered this program for nearly six years, J&J now has a cadre of people who really get the big picture of health care and can connect the dots between their work and the larger industry forces at play. This has been invaluable to J&J.
You say some have remarked that this program is the best professional development program in which they’ve participated. What do you think makes this program so valuable to the participants?
I think first and foremost it’s the faculty. We have found real value in having faculty who are either currently employed, or who have extensive experience in the world of health care. That means providers, employers, hospitals, payers … They are better able to interpret not only what’s happening right now but also where things are going in the future. And they can relate to the people in the room who are facing issues — and opportunities — because of these changes. The program is also valuable from a networking perspective for people from a large organization to meet and spend time together. As they’re learning how fast health care changes —from year to year, even month to month — they also see that they were not the only ones in the company experiencing the changes. It builds an affinity among the program’s alumni.
How did you develop the training?
We created a four-day program with individual modules focused on different areas, such as consumerism, population health, market access, health care delivery, and health care payment. We made the sessions very interactive because nobody wants to sit and listen to power point presentations for four days. We also inserted J & J case studies into the program to illustrate business impact and response. These short, 30-minute cases with Q&A were presented by employees who had been through the program. These sessions tended to be very popular.
How can a business customize a program of its own?
A company can contact Health Care Policy 360 and the faculty will work with them to customize a program of its own. Ideally, the program should be provided to a single organization, such as a pharmaceutical company or other large or medium company or hospital, device maker, employer or insurer. You want people to speak freely.
The internal networking is also a good value for a business. The need for health care information spans across sales and marketing, research and development, economics, management, medical affairs, global regulatory policy … compliance, legal affairs, finance. You get all these people in a room together to add a new layer of learning to what the faculty delivers.
As we speak, many of the healthcare changes that we’ve seen over the past few years are being repealed or are shifting and evolving. The U.S. health care system will continue to evolve as the different players vie for position, consumers become more powerful, and technology advances. I don’t think there is a better time to engage employees.