The global healthcare industry was put through turbulent circumstances during the initial period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare service providers were at shortage of both, workforce, and adequate medical equipment, leading to the profound loss of human life across the world.
Pertaining to the same, eminent personalities in the healthcare sector stepped forward and contributed significantly towards the fight against the pandemic. Lena Hagman, the Executive Vice President Quality and Regulatory Compliance at Getinge AB, was one among these impactful personalities.
In the following interview, Lena shares a few insights into how she, as a leader in the medical device and life science niche, has made a positive impact, and on how her company has acquired a stronghold in the Swedish healthcare market.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Give us a brief overview of your journey in the healthcare sector.
I have been in the medical industry my whole career. Joined Mölnlycke Health Care at an age of 19 in the finance office and after 3 years I went to the University, Chalmers School of technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. Came back after my education working in the R&D lab. Since 1994 I have been in one or another way in the quality area with additional responsibilities mainly in R&D and operations in parallel.
What is Getinge Group and its vision, and also what are the key aspects of its stronghold in the medical device industry.
Getinge provides hospitals and life science institutions with products and solutions that aim to improve clinical results and optimize workflows.
From a business leadership perspective, what is your opinion on the impact of the current pandemic on the healthcare sector?
It is a huge pressure to treat patients and at the same time protect themselves and colleges and will of course require a totally different short-term leadership and the healthcare professionals will take time to recover from the stress they have been through for a very long time. Long term investments will fall behind and will put some long-term scars in the health care sector.
What is your opinion on the necessity for healthcare service providers to align their offerings with newer technological developments, especially when it comes to catering to the ever-evolving customer needs and preferences?
I believe all manufactures always need to be close to their customers and understand their needs and work environment to create a common value for the patients and the society. The pandemic has also shown a need that may not have been that obvious or clear and has set the new norm that each part needs to find a common way for the future.
What impact did the COVID-19 pandemic have on your company’s daily operations? What efforts did you take to ensure safety of your employees at the same time?
At Getinge we have been facing both sides of the pandemic from a business perspective. Some areas are medical necessity e.g., ventilators, ECLS products where a huge demand and in other areas the customers are not focusing on investments or are not able to do elective surgeries.
In the beginning it was also a challenge to get our service techs to come to the hospitals to either maintain the devices or to even install the needed ventilators. For the medical necessity manufacturing sites, it has been a huge planning and control to keep our employees safe and still able to keep operation up and running to continue to ship those medical necessity products to help customers to save lives during the pandemic.
In your opinion, what could be the future of the medical devices sector post the pandemic? And how are you strategizing to scale your company’s operations and offerings to be prepared for that future?
A lot of new insights have been received during the pandemic and will set a new standard for everyone and in all companies. I still believe a company needs to have a high-level commitment (strategy) that needs to be broken down to each department and individuals, and the pandemic has put everyone in the situation to adjust the commitment to the new expected future and the learning done during the pandemic. I also believe that companies who adjust to the new circumstances and dare to change will be more successful in the future.
If given a chance, what is the one thing that you would change about the global healthcare ecosystem?
Big question, but I think there is a lot of ‘waste & non-value added’ activities at all the different stakeholders and players and time and money should be used to get a more pragmatic and sustainable ecosystem. One piece is of course to work much more in a proactive way to keep the system active where it is needed.
As an established leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the medical device space?
Firstly, it is a huge and interesting industry, with a very good purpose, to prevent and save lives. As it is a regulated industry the requirements should not be underestimated and the time it will take to get products approved or cleared, but at the same time it should not hold anyone back to go into the field. It is, as always important to be surrounded with open minded and skilled team members.