When you think of Johnson & Johnson, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Baby shampoo? Bandages?
Countless people across the planet stock their homes with these iconic consumer products, but here’s what you may not know: The company is also at the forefront of inventing digital solutions to help address some of the world’s biggest health problems.
In fact, Johnson & Johnson just ranked number one on the CNBC iQ 100, a new index of large-cap companies that derive substantial revenue growth from protected, proprietary technology.
In short, it's a list of companies that are consistently and measurably the most innovative—and the four cutting-edge tools you're about to learn about are just a few of the reasons why Johnson & Johnson topped the list.
From an app that helps make managing diabetes easier to a wearable tracker designed for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, here are four savvy ways Johnson & Johnson is using—and tailoring—the latest technology to help improve human health.
The App That Can Help You Anticipate the Onset of Allergies
Seasonal allergies have a tendency to sneak up on you: One day, you’re feeling totally fine—and the next, you're a runny nose, red-eyed mess, at which point popping an allergy pill seems almost moot.
"We looked at when consumers were buying and taking their allergy medications and found that, for some reason, they were taking them when the pollen count was low and that seemed a little off,” says, Associate Brand Manager for Zyrtec?. “Consumers didn't really have the information they needed to understand what the allergy situation would be for them on a given day in their region.”
The AllergyCast? app helps solve that problem by providing the pollen count each day for your zip code, along with an "allergy impact number." You know how a weather forecast will tell you that it's 80 degrees outside, but it "feels like" 99 degrees? The allergy impact number provides similar information.
Thanks to a proprietary algorithm, the app uses multiple factors—such as weather and social media mentions of allergies in your zip code—to give you an idea of how likely you are to have symptoms each day using a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being a strong indicator that you may experience them and should have medication handy.
AllergyCast? also allows you to create a profile, so you can track your data over time to see if specific seasonal or behavioral patterns could be influencing your allergies.
A Wearable Tracker That Can Help You Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis
Three years ago,, Vice President of Immunology Biomarkers, Janssen Research & Development, and his team of scientists asked themselves a key question: In addition to developing new medicines, can we also produce more integrated solutions that can help people live better lives and better manage disease?
Today, one of those very solutions, designed to help patients cope with rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, is coming to fruition: The second prototype of a mobile app called RA-RA (Remote Assessment in Rheumatoid Arthritis) is headed into a clinical trial soon for testing.
RA-RA works in tandem with popular wearable activity trackers, like a FitBit or Garmin, to collect such behavioral and health information as heart rate, steps taken, sleep duration and daily levels of joint pain. Taken together, these details can indicate how well (or not) medication is working, and whether a patient’s condition is worsening or improving.
Currently, most patients track symptoms by visiting a rheumatologist in person, which is still a good idea. What this app will allow them to do is monitor their progress every day in between visits, which they can then share with their doctor to provide a more detailed picture of their overall health and how well their treatment is working.
The App That Can Help You Monitor Your Glucose Levels
For people with diabetes, staying on top of their blood sugar (a.k.a. blood glucose) numbers can be stressful. But a new-and-improved version of Johnson & Johnson's OneTouch Reveal? mobile app, which launches by mid-2017 on iOS and Android, can help make that process faster and easier than ever.
"If you use a OneTouch Verio Flex? blood glucose meter, which has Bluetooth? wireless communication embedded, then you can download this app and use it to connect to your meter," says , Senior Director, R&D, Digital Product Development.
As you test your blood sugar over time, the app can help you visualize trends in your numbers—for instance, you may notice that your levels tend to run high between 2 P.M. and 3 P.M.—enabling you to better manage your glucose levels.
Want to share your data with your doctor or set up alerts? No problem—the app allows you to do that, too.
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A Digital Ecosystem That Can Help Identify If You’re a Candidate for Knee Surgery
Fact: It takes the average person 7 to 11 years from the moment that she first feels knee pain to schedule surgery to help treat it.
"But for people who will ultimately need surgery, there's a lot of clinical data showing that having it sooner rather than later leads to better outcomes," says, Vice President, Product Innovation & Delivery. "They're more satisfied with the process, they have greater range of motion, and they have an easier recovery."
That's why Johnson & Johnson has created an interactive way to accelerate surgical consults for people with knee pain who meet certain criteria.
First, they can visit careadvantage.jnj.com to answer questions about their pain, such as how intense it is and how long they've had it. Then, using those results and predictive analytics, the site can provide personalized treatment advice, whether it’s to consult with a doctor about surgery or other therapies, like an injection to increase shock absorption.
Patients who are surgical candidates at participating hospital systems will also be able to download the Health Partner Digital Surgical Companion, a free app launching in 2017 that can help prepare them for surgery and recovery with targeted tips based on answers to key questions.
The app will even manage expectations, like advising you to mentally prepare for having to take some steps within 24 hours of surgery.
Similar systems for people considering hip or bariatric surgery are also in the works and scheduled to become available by the end of 2017—because when it comes to healthier living through technology, the possibilities are endless.