Lessons from Leaders: Dr Mishal Al Kasimi, CEO of Capital Health and Pediatric Consultant at Health Shield Medical Center, is expanding healthcare capabilities in the UAE through world-class practices in Abu Dhabi
Is there a moonshot idea that you are currently intrigued by? Are there any you are pursuing in your business?
I’ve always been fascinated by AI and its use in the medical industry.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 400 million people have no access to primary healthcare, but AI has the potential to change that.
It can also drastically reduce the chance for human error because AI doesn’t suffer from fatigue, distractions or moods and while I hate to admit it, AI can outperform us in terms of accuracy.
What does diversity mean to you and how are you actually working to bring it to your organisation?
Diversity means giving everyone an equal opportunity to showcase their talent, knowledge and abilities.
At Capital Health, we ensure to hire the right talent wherever it may come from.
With talk of trade wars, tariffs, exchange rates in constant flux, oil price uncertainty, geopolitical turbulence, and a new emerging demographic entering the workplace, how are you keeping up with the rapid pace of change?
It’s simple – the concept of survival of the fittest has never been more accurate. In order to stay relevant, you need to keep up with change and learn to adapt quickly and seamlessly.
What’s your decision-making process?
Decisiveness, a connection with the culture one’s in, and good listening skills are attributes I always try to be mindful of when making any decision.
As the CEO of a large group such as Capital Health, I’m in charge of the recently opened Health Shield Medical Center that offers healthcare services for the whole family; the soon-to-be-opened largest, first purpose-built rehabilitation hospital in the region, Specialized Rehabilitation Hospital; and Home Health Rehabilitation Services that focus on specific functional activity goals in the home environment that can be difficult to duplicate in the clinic setting. I have to not only make good calls but also ensure that the team comprises global leaders in their respective fields. I’ve recruited more international board-certified doctors than any other facility in the UAE and have harnessed the best minds we have in the country and the region. And this is an integral part of my decision-making process; listening and including the top team I have recruited.
What do you enjoy the most about working at your company?
I am extremely proud to be at the helm of an organisation that is a trailblazer in its field. SRH, in specific, has immense potential especially with our most recent signing of a partnership with the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago), designated the number 1 rehabilitation hospital in America. The partnership will not only enable delivery of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s leading model of care at SRH for patients who are recovering from debilitating conditions and injuries but will also leverage the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s applied research expertise, particularly in the areas of neuroscience, bionic medicine, musculoskeletal medicine and technology transfer.
Both SRH and Health Shield will fundamentally make us the first specialty healthcare platform serving patients with complex outcomes. I am also very fortunate that I am still able to practice medicine – my true passion – while remaining CEO and being able to shape the business.
I work with a fantastic group of talented individuals who help provide a lasting impact on our patients’ lives – there’s nothing quite like the reward of being able to truly make a difference in people’s lives.
Can you name a person who has had an impact on you as a leader? Perhaps someone who has been a mentor to you? Why/how did this person impact your life?
My mother has had the largest impact in molding me as a leader and doctor I am today. Respect, leadership, communication, persuasion, bravery and pride – these are all attributes that I portray because of her.
What would you say to a new employee about the culture of your organisation?
Our mantra has always been, ‘If we take good care of our people, they’ll take great care of our patients’ – that’s something I tell every new hire at any of our facilities. We are committed to giving every staff member a supportive environment and providing them with opportunities for personal and professional growth in a safe and healthy workplace.
Employees will find that at Capital Health, there is quality management and leadership at all levels within the organisation. We don’t give people a job, we give them a platform to share their ideas in a supportive environment while growing with us.
Do you value education or experience? What is the biggest determinant of a person’s progress at a company or in the industry?
The two go hand in hand – education is a necessity and there’s no better way to learn than through experience. Unfortunately, education nowadays is more about listening than implementing so that’s where experience comes in, it allows you to implement the practical side of the profession.
When it comes to hiring someone, though, I like to meet and get a feel for every single person beforehand. While education plays a great part in attracting attention to a CV, and experience plays a great role in landing the interview, I care more about the person’s enthusiasm and passion to learn because that will determine their ability to learn quickly and excel, not only in the company but also in the industry.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I thoroughly enjoy teaching – so much so that I enrolled in a master’s degree programme in curriculum and instruction after I finished my medical degree and actually taught a nursing programme.
What’s one productivity tip you wish everyone else knew?
I read this somewhere once and it stuck with me: “Create a mini crisis”. I find that most people thrive under pressure; ‘crisis mode’ allows them to accomplish more than they originally thought possible. I think sometimes, if you get that sensation by blocking out less time than you actually think you need, you’ll find your focus improves when you begin working and ultimately finish on time.
Quote to live your life by?
“Progress and renaissance are not to be measured by reinforced concrete structures, but rather by building human beings and providing citizens with everything that make them live in happiness and decent life” – Sheikh Zayed
What do you do in your free time?
My family is a big part of my life and who I am and they truly ground me and give me perspective so it’s very important to have a proper work/ personal life balance. As a practicing doctor and CEO, I work long hours, but I always ensure that I set aside time to spend with my family.