Measure what counts, not money saved

Hello Mats Högberg, CEO of Pharmacolog. Tell us about your background. 
I’ve worked in the medical technology field for more than 25 years now. I started with a short stint as a medical engineer at a hospital in Sweden before going off to university to study Business Administration and Marketing. This gave me a Master’s degree from Uppsala University, and I also completed their Executive MBA program later on. My career then began in earnest at Scanditronix AB where I held various sales and marketing positions. After several management roles at other corporations, I became Managing Director of Nucletron Scandinavia AB. Prior to my current assignment as CEO at Pharmacolog AB, I was Vice President of Elekta AB (publ).

What’s the latest news in the biotech industry in Uppsala and at Pharmacolog? 
The medtech and biotech industry is booming in Uppsala, with a large number of interesting new start-ups entering the scene just about every single month. The sheer amount of innovation is staggering. However, the challenge facing many new start-ups is how to move into the true growth phase with increased sales and rapid business expansion. Many of these promising start-ups are being acquired by larger international companies at a very early stage. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the area would benefit if the newly started companies could grow a little more before being acquired. The value would be higher, as would the probability for the companies to remain in the region.

Pharmacolog is entering a very interesting stage right now, following a great first half of 2017. We delivered and sold our first system through our French distributor, and strengthen the team by getting Kent Öbrink on board as Sales and Marketing Manager. In addition, Jörgen Höjdmo took on the role of Development Manager. We’ve also initiated an exciting collaboration with Uppsala University Hospital in which we aim to develop a new solution for controlling the antibiotic concentration in blood.

Could you share your three best recommendations for how hospitals and their staff can handle medication more safely? 
First off, I want to be very clear about one thing. Healthcare staff in hospitals and institutions are doing a tremendous job and sincerely put the patient first. But we’re all human, and humans make mistakes. Having worked with clinics world-wide for several decades, my recommendations for hospital management and staff are the following:

1. Measure what counts, not money saved 
Many national healthcare systems today are highly focused on cost-saving measures. A department that is rewarded for every single penny saved loses the incentive to invest in solutions that improve patient care. We need to raise our vision and realize that sometimes we need to invest to save money.

2. Establish a culture of safety 
In this respect, health care services can learn a thing or two from the airline industry. Foster a culture where it is OK to spend time and resources on safety.

3. Reduce stress and improve work environments 
A stressful environment can increase the risk of human errors and mistakes. Human interaction is an important part of the healthcare process and therefore healthcare management and politicians need to understand that treating patients require time with the patient and a good work environment.

Healthcare management and politicians need to understand that treating patients requires time with the patient and a good work environment

– Mats Högberg

What are your thoughts on this topic? Feel free to contact me or continue the discussion on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages.