Photo: Mats Högberg

I think everyone agrees that the medical system needs a healthy influx of innovation

Hello Kent Öbrink! Could you tell us a bit about your background, and how you got started at Pharmacolog?
I have worked in sales positions at various pharmaceutical and medtech companies since 1990. After landing my first job with Pharmacia, I worked with product areas such as cancer pain, heart disease, gynaecology and nutrition.

When Fresenius Kabi acquired the nutrition and fluids part from Pharmacia, I assumed the position of Sales Manager. It seemed a logical next step that I would come along to Fresenius Kabi. After seven years there, I decided to move on to a totally new area for me.

Around 2005, I started as Nordic Sales Manager at Nucletron, working with radiotherapy. After leaving Nucletron in 2010, I began at C-Rad – also doing radiotherapy – first as Nordic Sales Manager and, later on, as Global Sales Manager covering Europe and the United States.

In June this year, I decided to leave C-Rad, and as of three months ago I am the Sales & Marketing Manager at Pharmacolog.

What have you done at Pharmacolog since you began?
I was really excited to get on board with a rapidly growing company in a new and important healthcare field. It is a fantastic challenge and opportunity to be a part of a small team doing such extraordinary things, and to come in at an early stage.

By now, I feel at home in the company and I have the confidence to discuss our solutions with customers. Thus far, my key focus has been visiting Nordic customers and our distributors.

My next trip outside Sweden will be a joint outing to Germany with our business partner. The goal is to build a good relationship with our distributors and ideally find additional partners in other European countries.

What are some of the challenges facing healthcare when it comes to introducing new technology?
There is a growing number of medtech companies. It’s a competitive sector, with a high level of innovation. Now, this is of course a good thing, but there are also issues with healthcare services failing to adopt new technologies.

One reason for this is that healthcare services make for such stressful working environments. Caregivers are doing a good job just keeping afloat in grueling conditions, and there simply isn’t enough time and resources to implement and assess new technologies on the large scales involved.

Though many healthcare practitioners believe that new ideas and methods are sorely needed, it can be difficult to plunge ahead with evaluations and trials, as this takes both time and effort.

Companies may also focus to an inordinate degree on technological innovation while failing to consider user friendliness and ease of use. Implementing new solutions cannot be a time sink, it must be a smooth and simple process. There must also be clear benefits to patient safety.

Since finding the time to meet with representatives of these companies during working hours can be difficult for caregivers, an idea might be for the County Council to arrange small-scale local medtech days, where companies would be given a chance to exhibit and demo their products. Caregivers could then visit these exhibits whenever their schedules permit.

This could help gauge mutual interest and benefit, and make it clearer how to proceed. I believe that we need to involve hospitals and their employees at an earlier stage to help companies understand how a given solution could better be implemented in healthcare.

I think everyone agrees that the medical system needs a healthy influx of innovation that optimizes treatment outcomes and patient safety. The only question is, how can we best achieve this?

I think everyone agrees that the medical system needs a healthy influx of innovation

– Kent Öbrink

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