Brendan Cosgrave leads the CareAdvantage programme at Johnson & Johnson, a role he finds incredibly motivating and rewarding.
Brendan Cosgrave is a solutions architect for the commercial and strategic capabilities team in Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices in Ireland. He devises and delivers the deployment strategy for the team’s services and solutions value offering, meeting with key stakeholders in healthcare in Ireland to better understand and respond to their challenges.
“The solutions that we deploy are part of our CareAdvantage offering and can range from providing a patient-tracking white board, associated lean management training and supporting increased theatre utilisation, to building a new wing of a hospital through a managed service partnership,” he tells me.
Cosgrave occupies a niche role. So how did he end up in it? His lifelong interest in science and healthcare, he explains, led him to complete a postgraduate qualification in pharmaceutical sales management after his degree in business management.
In 2008, Cosgrave joined Janssen as a sales representative. “I worked there for nine years in various areas and eventually took on a healthcare strategy and engagement role. From there, I moved into a services and solutions manager role within our medical devices business, setting up the CareAdvantage function for Ireland.”
The CareAdvantage programme, Cosgrave says, was developed so that Johnson & Johnson could partner with healthcare providers to “deliver value beyond a product”. It draws on insights and data to improve patient care.
“It is designed to meet the ‘triple aim’,” he says, “improving patient outcomes and experiences while reducing costs.
“We have three main phases we work through with our customers. The first is ‘needs identification’, where we discuss challenges and perform analysis and on-site observations to define opportunities where we can help.
“Second is ‘co-creation’. Under the hospital’s culture, values and governance, we bring our capabilities as part of the Johnson & Johnson family. Finally, ‘desired results’. We tailor our approach to deliver meaningful results and measurable, long-term impact.”
An overarching theme of the programme is to help hospitals improve despite limited resources. Cosgrave explains: “Health systems need the extra head space and capacity to drive improvements, so our proposition is built on deploying our own resources for three to six months to deliver the change. This increases the chance of successful change and allows clinical resources to continue to devote most of their attention to front-line services.”
The team behind the programme
To make this a reality, Cosgrave draws on strategy development and implementation skills, knowledge of business and accounting principles and his understanding of the “intricacies” of healthcare funding and delivery.
The CareAdvantage team, he says, comprises “diverse backgrounds”. It includes engineers, nurses, health economists, former hospital managers and MBAs.
“The partnership and camaraderie you feel when working on hospital sites with the wonderful staff is like nothing I have ever experienced in my career,” he says. “The fact that I can draw such a direct connection between what I do and the positive impact for patients is my main motivation. I also enjoy the variety of work and the chance to learn something new on each project.
“From a business perspective, recruitment can be a challenge. What we do is highly specialised and has only become common practice in the last decade, so there is a small pool of suitable candidates to draw on. How we nurture, develop and grow the next generation of healthcare change agents is a key challenge and opportunity.”
Crossing borders is essential
Who is suited to this line of work? Anyone passionate about crossing borders and interacting with people on all levels will find a career like Cosgrave’s rewarding, he says: “This is definitely an area I would recommend for others due to the rewarding and varied nature of the work, particularly as this is an area where you have the opportunity to directly influence and improve how care is delivered while working for a great company.
“My advice for others interested in Johnson & Johnson, and particularly the strategic capabilities function, as a career path is to gain as many diverse experiences as you can early in your career and to not limit yourself to functions or jobs you think might be the best fit for your qualifications.
I would also suggest getting involved in teams or project work where you work across organisations rather than in silos. The ability to cross borders and interact with people on all levels is a key attribute of anyone who is successful in this type of work.”