Sophie Haarlem is an engaged sales pro who can call herself a health economist. She is a big fan of working preventatively and she’s been in occupational care for the last 5 years. Now she’s here at Visiba to guide our customers to a solution she really believes in and to contribute to a better work situation for healthcare professionals.
Tell us a bit about your background, Sophie!
Most recently I come from occupational care and more specifically digital occupational care. I have been working with complex sales for about 15 years, in different industries. When it comes to my education it’s a bit motley — I’m a trained economist and a chemist engineer. But I’ve actually made some good use of some of the biochemical classes working in healthcare, where you learn what happens in the body. I have worked with the economic perspective on healthcare quite a lot, teaching and giving lectures on health economics.
How did you find your way to us?
I saw the ad for a salesperson in Stockholm. Since I had some experience of the platform in my former position and wanted to stay in healthcare, it looked perfect. When I told one of my best friends that I was applying, she could only confirm my feeling for the company; she had heard great things and gave praise to one of the leaders at Visiba, whom she knew from before.
What’s the best thing about working at Visiba in your opinion?
I thought about this before this interview and I really must say the chance to contribute to a better work situation for healthcare professionals, since I’m passionate about occupational health. In the end, that will lead to better care and maybe, even more, saved lives. I couldn’t work with something that I don’t find important. Especially when you are in sales, it is crucial to believe in the product you are selling.
How do you believe digital care can have the biggest impact on society?
With my background in health economics, I like to look at preventative measures — there’s good economy in catching a patient earlier. Every dime spent on preventing is much more well-spent than those spent on treating. For example, it is more expensive and much harder to rehabilitate a person form burnout than to treat them for early signs of stress. Making it easy for people to connect with healthcare on different levels early on reduces the risk of conditions going too far. Moreover, care will be more equal, regardless of socioeconomics or where you live.
Where lies the biggest challenge in digitalising healthcare?
I think changing the behaviour in an organisation is the hardest part. Internal ambassadors and leaders that can explain the change in a clear way are invaluable. We’re all a bit sceptic towards change and if you are a thinking individual, you want to know why you should change. I know I would. If you can clearly show the benefits of change and make your organisation work together, I think you will get people on board. But then, you also need to keep them there and not think that the job is done when the tools are implemented. Letting go of change management too soon seems to be a common mistake.
Where do you see digital care in 10 years?
In 10 years, we’ve hopefully learned a lot about how to utilise the existing tools in the best possible way. Having the ability to gather all health information and medical history about a person in one integrated, seamless system is a dream scenario. There are important questions about data, security, and integrity to take into account of course, but the benefits could be huge. Imagine being able to keep track of your health and maybe even predict risks through your medical record, smart devices, apps, and other tools. That could make care proactive for real – suggesting tailored habits, diets, or activity that could improve wellbeing and prevent serious conditions.
What’s your dream? Do you want to climb a mountain or something like that?
No, I can’t do that, I’m afraid of heights! Lately, my dreams are smaller and more balanced. They are mostly about the people close to me staying well. But I do have a dream to go back to Africa on a long trip. I have been in Botswana on a safari way out in the bush before and I fell in love. My daughter is adopted from Lesotho, so that’s another good reason to get to know Africa better.
Tell us something unusual about you!
I used to be on the Swedish national fencing team. I have put a lot of hours into sparring and some of my merits are: ranked number 12 in the world, Swedish champion and Nordic champion. I’m still quite quick and I have really good reflexes in my right hand! I’m not sure how it can help in this role, but if you drop something, I will be able to catch it in the air for you.