There is much to be said for experience. Cerner Middle East’s Karim Abd-Elhay has an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the business, and huge depth of understanding when it comes to the specifics of the healthcare industry.
Abd-Elhay began his Cerner journey as a finance controller - a role that he says gave him a firm understanding of dealing with clients, structuring and building out financial strategies and contracts, and a general sense of the intricacies of the healthcare information system. He subsequently worked his way through several positions, including Operations Manager for the Middle East, where he actively drove expansion into other countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar, and Strategic Business Executive. In the latter position Abd-Elhay became immersed in business development and operational strategies, working more closely with clients and partnership work.
“It’s a journey that absolutely let me understand Cerner and how the business operates,” he explains. “Navigating your way through the core areas of the business, particularly at a strategic level, and gaining that really diverse business and industry knowledge has helped me to hone the ability to focus on the bigger picture. Each of those roles involved understanding the long-term implications of strategy or investment, or any other decision-making, and that’s certainly shaped my approach to leading - I’m driven by long-term outcomes for me and the business, not by short-term achievements.”
As a leader he holds culture close. Having worked his way through Cerner he naturally understands what ‘the job’ entails. It is for that reason that he ensures the company’s core cultural vision feeds from the top down.
Cerner is an organisation built on a strong culture. The company, which alongside its Middle East operations has its headquarters in the US, provides intelligent, technology-driven solutions for the healthcare industry. This includes a suite of digital solutions designed to streamline clinical workflows, network and security services, technology and consulting, end-to-end revenue management cycle technology and more. Each of these is underpinned by a philosophy that drives the business, and is centred around a belief in a world without medical error that is underpinned by an integrated, patient-focuses system that allows information to flow across the health economy.
“We pride ourselves on our culture and vision,” says Abd-Elhay, “and every person, regardless of your position or level in the business, is driven by core pillars that we all follow: respect and include, engage and collaborate, innovate and simplify,” The latter, he notes, is particularly important in an industry that is increasingly being driven by technology and digital transformation. “Innovation is really important - in our business, it has to be - but equally so is the simplification of that technology. A lot of our work involves looking at our client processes and delivering smart and innovative ways of getting more out of them to improve both their business and the healthcare sector.”
“Fairness, patience, and clear decision-making are crucial both on the football pitch and in procurement.”