A Moment of Realization
The second experience, which really cemented my desire to stay in this function, was far more terrifying and made the significance of my day-to-day role become imminently clear. About four years ago I had a health scare while at work. My blood pressure shot up unexpectedly, I collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. The doctors estimated that I was within 30 minutes of death or significant brain/kidney damage.
I was somewhere between conscious and unconscious while the medical team was treating me. I don’t remember a whole lot, but I do remember looking up and seeing some of the medical devices that I value from companies such as Philips being used to treat me. And I remember my immediate reaction being one of hope – a high level of confidence knowing that the quality teams, who were part of the product’s journey until they were used to treat me, had ensured that quality is built in and every proper compliance check had been made. It was a bit of a bizarre experience, but one that made me realize how valuable it was to have strong, values-driven professionals working on life-critical products and solutions.
It also made me further realize how much patients deserve to know the tests and compliance standards that the medical devices being used on them have gone through. I now ask my team different questions on their decisions and approaches than I would have without this first-hand experience, which I (thankfully) have lived to share.
Because of my experiences, I am determined to continue to champion the quality team’s role throughout my organization in 2016. I want to strengthen the reputation of the people who helped save my life when it mattered most and generate recognition for the good work that is happening in the Q&R team across Philips. The global transformation that we, as a company, are undergoing provides an exciting time to review and improve our operations, but most importantly celebrate when key milestones in that journey are surpassed.
With the Q&R team now elevated within the business, reporting directly to top management, we have been able to start driving critical change. Designing and launching a single, global Quality Management System at Philips has landed on my to-do list, and I can say with certainty that I am excited about the challenge instead of skeptical or disappointed by it. I know the positive outcomes that “getting quality right” can drive. I’m living proof of it every day.