A. Hadi Chaudhry is the CEO and President for CareCloud, Inc., a leader in healthcare technology solutions for medical practices and health systems nationwide. CareCloud (formerly known as MTBC) is helping thousands of providers increase collections, reduce operational expenses, optimize care delivery, and enhance the patient experience through its comprehensive suite of software and services. (Nasdaq: MTBC) (Nasdaq: MTBCP).
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We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
A. Hadi Chaudhry: Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to share my life story. I was born and completed my education in Pakistan. In university, I obtained the degree of Bachelor of Science with a major in Mathematical Sciences and Statistics. Then, I embarked on a journey to become a chartered accountant similar to a CPA within the US. While moving along, I developed a fascination with computer science. Thus, halfway through my studies, I enrolled in an academic computer science program and found a job at an IT university in Pakistan.
I combined the two fields by working at a bank before joining CareCloud (previously named MTBC) in October 2002 as an IT manager. Later I served the healthcare IT company as General Manager and Chief Information Officer. In October 2016, I was appointed as Vice President of Global Operations. In 2018, I became the President, and today I serve as a CEO alongside my presidential duties.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
A. Hadi Chaudhry: Survival in today’s competitive market with rapid technological advancement is only possible through ‘change’ and one’s ability to adapt to the new practices and leave behind obsolete processes. My life mantra revolves around Alvin Toffler’s quote,
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
And this is the essence of everything that is going on today. We were using mobile phones with buttons, and Nokia was the leader, but they failed to adapt to the changing demand of touch screen android phones in time, resulting in its demise. If an organization does not want to follow the same faith as Nokia, ‘change’ is the ultimate remedy. Please don’t be too rigid about your processes or technology; be flexible like water that takes on whatever shape it’s put into.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
A. Hadi Chaudhry: Given the rapid digital transformation and increased competition in the healthcare space, only innovation can be your survival technique. Be an early adopter of technologies like the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), etc., to create a competitive edge of your own and stay on top of your practice.
With value-based care as the central focus, it is more important than ever to focus on automation and personalization to retain your customers and attract new patients. And I will be a little biased here and recommend CareCloud’s advanced health IT solutions to every healthcare facility to stay on top of their practice and deal with any uncertain situation like Covid-19 in the future.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
A. Hadi Chaudhry: Management and healthcare operations cover many areas. Quality, budget control, team, and workflow management are all essential aspects of healthcare operations and management. The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged almost every industry, including the healthcare space. There was an urgent need to transform clinical decision-making, manage the patient workflow and analyze the balance between services and resources with a rapid increase in Covid-infected patients.
Healthcare is not an industry that can be considered a luxury. It is vital to ensure the system’s integrity and ensure it is fully operational in all situations.
However, the pandemic not only came with challenges but also offered opportunities. It helped us deepen our understanding of healthcare operations to optimize the system’s clinical and administrative requirements. It allowed us to understand less-explored and digitization of healthcare to find other efficiency measures that can provide better healthcare services.
CareCloud has launched its Wellness Suite for Chronic Care Management (CCM) and Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) to facilitate physicians with the right technology to transform their medical practice and enhance healthcare outcomes as it is the need of the hour.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
A. Hadi Chaudhry: To be prepared for the most unexpected and drastic situations’ because the outbreak of Covid-19 was an uncertain and emotionally draining situation for everyone. But, being a healthcare IT service firm with technological transformation at its core, we were at an advantage.
We were already working on advanced health IT solutions and striving to empower clinical teams by enhancing care delivery workflow. For instance, we launched our Telehealth solution a couple of years before the pandemic hit the world. Besides, we were investing in researching and developing more advanced solutions like RPM
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
A. Hadi Chaudhry: I am already associated with a business that empowers physicians and other clinical staff with advanced health IT solutions, and I expect the future to be all about it.
Therefore, I will recommend everyone to embrace technology regardless of their industry because it is the only wise advice anyone can give in this digital transformation era. It has the potential to create a ripple effect of growth by disrupting the otherwise linear growth of businesses; thus, if you are someone with a vision of scalability, leverage technology to its full potential.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
A. Hadi Chaudhry: Being a CEO and President of a growing health IT service firm, there is no tracking of the screen time I am exposed to, given that I have to attend several team meetings daily. Yet, I try to take some time out for my mental and physical well-being.
Also, I am not a fan of burning oneself out in the name of work. I believe effective work-life balance is the secret to a healthy and happy life.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
A. Hadi Chaudhry: Effective communication is the key to the success of any organization. It also seamlessly helps ingrain the organizational culture and values from the top through the bottom.
For example, we have teams in different states of the US and a couple of cities in Pakistan, so it has always remained kind of a long-distance relationship (in a professional way). So, we have always used storytelling as an effective tool to persuade and communicate our expectations to different teams in various scenarios.
While during the outbreak of coronavirus, we experienced a rapid shift to remote work, and working at home for several months that it became the new normal. It was surprising yet commendable how well our organizations’ leaders kept every individual motivated, encouraged, and included through stories and case studies.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
A. Hadi Chaudhry: Staffing shortage is the biggest challenge in the healthcare industry right now, leading to physician burnout and nurses leaving their profession. Moreover, it can affect the morale of healthcare staff and delay the delivery of care services to patients. On the other hand, with increasing inflation, the cost of care services is also seeing an upsurge.
But CareCloud’s Telehealth solution and RPM program implementation can help hospitals and medical practices rise above these challenges.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
A. Hadi Chaudhry: NFTs, for sure. We all know that the healthcare industry has seen a rapid pace in the digital revolution, but still, it has a long way to go. However, with NFTs, the healthcare space’s digital acceleration will be more efficient. They possess massive opportunities in the healthcare sector and have many potential uses.
For example, patient health information is sensitive and dispersed across multiple platforms, making it difficult for doctors and patients to access it. Millions of clinical documents are generated in the US annually, yet most of the information is either unorganized or locked away. Moreover, Americans spend over $750 billion annually on unneeded procedures, many of which result from misdiagnosis or unnecessary treatment because of inadequate data management, as per the National Academies research report.
NFTs could address these issues by giving patients back the power of health records. Imagine what’s possible if healthcare practitioners could share real-time updates with other specialists for better collaboration and more individualized care. NFTs could enable patients to access medical test results when available and access their complex and frequently diverse medical history instantly and quickly without spending time and effort explaining their medical background to doctor after doctor.
Through NFTs, all critical and sensitive information would be available all in one place, which is safe and secure. CareCloud has always strived to bring new technology into the healthcare space and it’s safe to say we will someday work in future to make patient-centric database built on top of blockchain technology.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
A. Hadi Chaudhry: I believe the main reason behind a higher turnover ratio is that most workplaces and their leaders lack empathy and have an unrealistic culture of ‘never complain, never explain’. I won’t say that CareCloud is a perfect organization, and we keep all our team members 100% happy, but we try to.
Empathy is a strong suit of our organizational culture and value system. We believe corporate empathy is a sign of the strength of the individual and the company. Leaders with empathy are more successful in interacting with and supporting their employees, leading to higher performance quality, enhanced productivity, and satisfaction.
Besides, empathy in the workplace is proven to be an essential factor in increasing employee engagement and retention of talent, which leads to more extraordinary business results. Also, there is no doubt that some companies are gaining competitive advantages by integrating it into their processes.
As I talk and read more about it, I realize it is also a great business strategy. It is listening to others and putting yourself in their shoes to understand their position. Even some leaders have started retention initiatives by conducting “stay interviews.” In contrast to the infamous exit interview questions, a stay interview asks what inspires them to stay. What is their motivation? What are the improvements they would want to be able to see in the future?
Talent is leaving companies in large numbers because they are all exhausted physically and emotionally, causing burning out at work. WHO also recognized it as an illness, ‘chronic work-related stress’. Moreover, several research studies have hinted that the cause of burnout is in the workplace and culture rather than individuals. Therefore, accountability falls on organizations to manage burnout, and we are striving to do the same. Given the inflation crisis, we have also introduced a ‘cost of living allowance’ for all our staff members.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
A. Hadi Chaudhry: I believe wishing for a superpower is far-fetched thinking. Though, if possible, I would love to learn about the upcoming crisis beforehand, so we have time to prepare for it and face it head-on. I reflect on it sometimes in my downtime and think to myself, if we had known about the Covid-19 pandemic, we could have taken a completely different route and would have saved millions of lives lost.
Though we improvised and the situation seems under control now, the reality is we still have a long way to go and need to integrate digital health solutions and artificial intelligence technology solutions to empower our healthcare sector.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
A. Hadi Chaudhry: The healthcare industry has taken a new shift because of Covid-19, as before, very few people believed in remote encounters’ effectiveness. But CareCloud was a bit ahead of time as it launched a Telehealth solution back in 2018 because we believed in technological disruption since the inception of our company. And that is our most powerful success story: we convinced our clients to integrate telehealth solutions into their practice to survive in uncertain times like Covid-19 and expand their patient reach.
We have all seen how Covid-19 revolutionized our way of providing healthcare, and there was a significant increase in virtual visits. There was a necessity for a system that could help providers take care of patients, collect fees and perform regular check-ups without interacting with patients in person.
Telehealth was our solution that assisted the healthcare industry’s progress towards digitization and contactless healthcare. However, it is not our stop! We contribute to familiarizing healthcare professionals with more advanced solutions like IoMT, CCM and RPM with our CareCloud wellness suit.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank A. Hadi Chaudhry for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with A. Hadi Chaudhry or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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