Malin Welin Svahn at work. Her commitment shines through her big smile and warm gaze.

During the 1990s, midwife Malin Welin Svahn's professional life was characterized by a strong drive to improve Swedish healthcare. As a surgical nurse, she witnessed how expensive resources were underutilized and how operating rooms were empty much of the time. This insight laid the foundation for her commitment to more efficient and effective care.

With over 25 years of experience in Region Skåne, Malin has had a broad and varied career. She has worked as a midwife, held managerial positions and in recent years has freelanced through staffing agencies. Her passion for healthcare and innovation has led her to a role as a clinical expert at Cetro Medical. In her work, Malin combines clinical work in Norway and northern Sweden with educating Cetro's staff about different products and bringing the healthcare perspective to product development. She actively contributes to quality issues, marketing and innovation at the company.

Malin's journey is characterized by a strong drive to improve and streamline Swedish healthcare. She is an experienced healthcare veteran with a strong commitment to both patients and colleagues. Here, we find out what she thinks about some of the current challenges in healthcare - and how to overcome them.

What is the biggest challenge you see in Swedish healthcare today?

"Staff shortages are one of the biggest challenges we face today. It leads to stress and ill-health among staff, which in turn can lead to poorer quality of care and an increased risk of malpractice. To create a better workplace and improve care, we need more empowerment and individual planning for staff. Giving them more responsibility and control over their work can increase motivation and job satisfaction. Smaller units can also contribute to a better working environment and sense of belonging.

Decorative picture. Medical staff team having a morning meeting in the boardroom. Doctors and nurses looking at a digital tablet.
In a work environment where staff feel more involved, motivation and job satisfaction increase.

We need to focus on making the care profession more attractive by offering better working conditions and higher salaries. It is also important to create a working environment where staff feel involved and valued.

Beyond this, we can look at solutions that make it easier to combine professional and private life, for example by aiming for more flexible schedules. Another important aspect is skills development. By providing continuous training, we can ensure that staff have the latest knowledge and skills to do their job well.

In the long run, a more attractive healthcare sector with satisfied staff can lead to a better working environment, fewer malpractices and a higher quality of care for all patients".

How can we create more equal care in Sweden?

"Uneven care is a problem that affects many people in Sweden. The quality of care you receive can vary depending on where you live. To create more equal care, we need to pool resources and specialist expertise to strengthen smaller hospitals. Digitization can also help increase accessibility and give patients across the country access to specialist care.

Decorative image. Snow-covered landscape with Kalix mountains and a clear blue sky in the background. In the foreground is a lone man on a snowmobile.
In sparsely populated areas, it can be more difficult to get equitable care.

Equal care is a fundamental right for everyone in Sweden. We therefore need to invest in strengthening smaller hospitals and making it easier for patients to get the care they need.

One solution could be to create regional healthcare partnerships where hospitals in a region collaborate and share resources and specialist expertise. This can help strengthen smaller hospitals and make them more attractive for staff to work in.

Digitalization can also play an important role in creating more equitable care. By using digital tools, we can give patients in remote areas access to specialist care via telemedicine. We can also use digital tools to coordinate care and make it easier for patients to get the information and support they need.

By investing in both traditional and digital solutions, we can create more equal care in Sweden. All patients, regardless of where they live, have the right to good care."

How can we make healthcare more efficient and accessible?

"Digital solutions can revolutionize healthcare in several ways. By complementing face-to-face meetings, they can improve efficiency and accessibility. Patient records and prescriptions can be digitized, saving time and resources, reducing paperwork and making information accessible. This frees up time for healthcare professionals to focus on patient care. 

Digitalization also improves communication with patients. They can easily book appointments, get lab results and communicate with their doctor online. This gives patients more control over their own care and reduces waiting times.

Telemedicine is another positive effect of digitalization. Patients can receive care remotely, regardless of where they live. This is particularly beneficial for patients in sparsely populated areas or with reduced mobility. Digital tools can also be used to analyze patient data and make more informed decisions about care and treatment.

Digital tools can be used to analyze patient data and improve diagnostics.

However, it is important to remember that digitalization does not replace face-to-face contact between patients and healthcare professionals. Face-to-face meetings will always be an important part of healthcare. Digital solutions should work as a complement to improve efficiency and accessibility.

Successful digitalization in healthcare requires good infrastructure and training of healthcare professionals to use the new tools. It is also important to ensure that all patients have access to digital tools and the internet, otherwise digitalization risks widening the healthcare gap."

What is needed to create more stable and long-term care?

"Stable and long-term care requires a clear political vision and strong cooperation between different actors, including politicians, civil servants and health professionals. We need to invest in preventive care and create a working environment where staff feel comfortable and involved. 

Decorative image. A doctor in hospital clothes is squatting in front of a little boy in a blue romper. They are smiling at each other.
"Healthcare workers are the most important resource in healthcare, so we need to create a working environment where they thrive".

We need to plan for the future and set clear goals based on science and experience. Healthcare issues are too important to play politics with, which is why we need cross-party cooperation to find common solutions. This is particularly the case for care queues, a complex problem that requires long-term and coordinated initiatives.

By, for example, implementing 'waiting initiatives' with extended opening hours, offering more digital healthcare options, streamlining coordination between healthcare providers, investing in preventive care and strengthening healthcare resources, we can create more accessible and efficient healthcare for everyone in Sweden. This is needed to prevent diseases and save both money and suffering. Healthcare workers are the most important resource in healthcare, so we need to create a working environment where they feel comfortable and involved. By focusing on these areas, we can shape a better and more stable healthcare system."

How can we improve products for midwives and other health professionals?

"By actively listening and collaborating with healthcare professionals, we can improve the products that make their work easier. Taking feedback and ideas from users is an important part of product development and my work at Cetro Medical. Midwives and other healthcare professionals have valuable knowledge about the daily challenges and needs of healthcare. By listening to their feedback, we develop products that are more useful, effective and adapted to their specific tasks.

For example, midwives can provide input on how to improve instruments for gynecological examinations to make them more comfortable for patients. They can also suggest new products to facilitate care, such as gynecological tools that simplify examinations, or instruments that make a difference in childbirth. One example of a really good tool developed by Cetro Medical in consultation with health professionals is a self-retaining disposable vaginal speculum, Easyspec.

Image of Cetro's self-retaining vaginal speculum Easyspec in transparent plastic against a white background.
Cetro Medical's single-use, self-retaining vaginal speculum, Easyspec®.

Another one we produce is the Hegenberger Retractor®, a sterile disposable plastic device for postpartum diagnosis and suturing developed by Danish midwife Malene Hegenberger. 

Open and close collaboration between healthcare professionals and product developers is key to creating innovative solutions that improve care for both staff and patients. By harnessing the practical experience of healthcare professionals, we can develop products that support them in their work and contribute to a better quality of care."