Alumni in focus: Mattias Paulsson has confidence in the future of clinical pharmacy
12 september 2022
A robot that prepares cytostatic infusions, drugs designed for children with severe illnesses and elderly patients who avoid unnecessary readmissions. With the investment in clinical pharmacy, Uppsala University Hospital has an almost unique resource that is generating great value for both Region and patients.
“Our work to adapt drugs for seriously ill children is among the most inspiring things I have ever done. Most medicines are designed for adult bodies, and as a child it can be difficult to take them. We want to change that, and in Uppsala, healthcare, pharmacists and material scientists are currently working together to develop drugs with a taste, look, shape and dosage that suit our youngest patients. To our help, we have "Young experts", a group of children and adolescents that contributes valuable experience of what it is like to be a patient,” says Mattias Paulsson, Deputy Chief Pharmacist at Uppsala University Hospital and alumnus of the Faculty of Pharmacy.
Clinical pharmacists, pharmaceutical experts working close to patients within healthcare, used to be a rare resource in Swedish care teams. Today, especially if you are living within Region Uppsala, the situation is quite different. Currently, more than 25 clinical pharmacists are employed at Uppsala University Hospital, while an additional number of pharmaceutical experts work within the Region, an almost unique strength that Mattias Paulsson explains with the closeness to the Faculty of Pharmacy, but also the passionate work conducted by a number of driving spirits within both University and Region.
“Today, my colleagues and I prioritize our oldest care recipients who no longer have the same biological protection if a drug therapy is not optimal. We monitor, among many things, prescriptions, dosages and combinations of drugs, in all: total responsibility for each individual patient's medication. Our goal is to give every person a quality life at home without unnecessary readmissions, and several follow-up studies show that our work adds great value to both Region and patients.”
With the recruitment of pharmaceutical expertise, Region Uppsala has also opened the door to an almost futuristic side of pharmacy. On Mattias's initiative, the robot Blandinator - named by patients at the children's hospital - has been working for three years to prepare the more than 20,000 cytostatic infusions that are each year performed at the University Hospital. The advantages are considerable: The staff avoids monotonous moments and exposure to toxic substances. The automation provides increased traceability and patient safety. If everything goes according to plan, the plan is to eventually provide the new employee with a colleague.
“A student at the Faculty of Pharmacy recently carried out an inventory of which further preparations than can be carried out mechanically. Now the result is published and we will match it against the technology that is available on the market. I see it as an investment that should quite soon generate revenue in the form of freed competence, which is most likely necessary if we are to pay off the healthcare debt that continues to burden us after the pandemic.”
Decisions about future machine purchases are, as expected, a matter of how healthcare chooses to prioritize its already limited resources, but regardless, Mattias Paulsson has confidence in the future of clinical pharmacy within Region Uppsala. He describes constructive and continuous conversations with a responsive Hospital Management that has for long seen pharmacists as an obvious and valuable asset in the team caring for the individual patient.
“Working at Uppsala Hospital with the University just across the road is a fantastic benefit. Here, teaching, research and care interact with clear synergistic effects. If it was up to me, a similar nearness would be implemented within and between each Region. A concrete example is the lack of a shared digital system for the use and storage of medicines. Today, development work is underway in several but different directions. If we can stop and settle for a common path, Swedish health care will face yet another big step forward.”
Facts Mattias Paulsson
- Education Qualified pharmacist (1997) and Doctorate degree (2001) at Uppsala University
- Occupation Deputy Chief Pharmacist, Uppsala University Hospital, Affiliated. Researcher, Department of Women's and Children's Health
- Currently Participating in the interdisciplinary project Personal medicines for children suffering from severe diseases and in RealHOPE – Real-World handling of protein drugs with funding from IMI, EFPIA and the EU.