With over 15 years’ experience in the health IT domain, and in both the public and private sectors, what propels Healthcare Logistics Ltd CEO Arthur Gerada is the drive to make a difference to patients’ well-being and continuity of care. He achieves this while pushing for innovation, both in his team and in the products and services they offer.
Prior to joining Healthcare Logistics Ltd, Arthur Gerada occupied the role of Chief Information Officer for the Ministry of Health. Yet, despite his impressive trajectory within the sector, working in healthcare wasn’t what he initially set out to do.
“My family are all involved in healthcare, so I was the black sheep when I decided to take a different route and go into IT,” he smiles. “Then, in 2007, I applied for a CIO post within the Government, without having any idea where I would be assigned. Funnily enough, it was the Ministry of Health!”
Despite this, it didn’t take him long to appreciate how intriguing, complex and far-reaching IT can be in the health and elderly-care domain. “I consider my years in the Ministry as my baptism of fire in the sector – I had exceptional mentors who started me off in the field, and to whom I am very grateful.” He also highlights the launch of myHealth in 2012 – a system which gives patients access to their health records in electronic form – as a treasured milestone in his journey. Earning the team behind it Best eGovernment Initiative Award that same year, Arthur reveals, “a decade down the line, I still strongly believe in this concept.”
However, after a number of years, new ideas and opportunities motivated him to shift back to the private sector. Today, as CEO of Healthcare Logistics Ltd, Arthur says that no two days are the same, and he’s not complaining.
Established in 2005, Healthcare Logistics offers a comprehensive range of services, primarily to healthcare organisations and organisations geared for active ageing. It originally started as a local support organisation for a major health IT vendor, at a time when the Government planned to implement major critical systems required to run the new state-of-the-art Mater Dei Hospital.
“Since then, Healthcare Logistics’ reach has widened considerably, but the primary focus has remained that of offering solutions and services to support optimal patient care. Obviously, in the constantly evolving technological sphere, our adaptive approach is paramount to making sure we remain relevant in this business vertical,” Arthur says.
As CEO, he affirms, “quality and flexibility are two very important characteristics of whatever we do.” Shouldering the responsibility of the impact their work has on others, the challenge is always to remain competitive and deliver value, he says, which in turn helps the company’s clients provide a positive experience and the best possible outcomes to their customers.
“We can’t deliver top-class service without the most valuable asset of our organisation: our highly skilled team members,” Arthur continues, describing his team as a dynamic one made up of experts in different fields. “It is the way we work together that drives me to work more and deliver more for the organisation. I value the qualities of each individual and, while it might suit some leaders to always be in the driving seat, I tend to prefer the approach whereby each team member is involved and given the responsibility and authority to lead their respective area, as well as question my ideas and present their own. In this way, it is the team that is leading the company.”
Meanwhile, within today’s ever-changing technology space, Arthur believes it is also imperative that team members stay relevant, noting, “I am an advocate for lifelong learning, and firmly believe that there is no innovation without learning. That is why we try to foster continuous professional development.”
And on Arthur’s watch, this development is multi-dimensional. “We employ a highly specialised team of professionals made up of clinicians, medical lab specialists, pharmacists, IT and management consultants, and with such a diverse and flexible skillset and their accumulated knowledge, I have no doubt that our resources are the cornerstone of our business,” he explains, adding that, since joining, his mission has been to push these resources out of their comfort zone.
“As a leader, my target was to change the mindset of the team in order to do something different and offer something better to the local and international communities. As Peter Drucker states, ‘if you want something new you have to stop doing something old,’” he shares, adding that the pandemic also played a part in shaping this mindset.
“Over the last few years, we have started investing and offering our own suite of products and services that are primarily focused on the healthcare, elderly and disability sectors. We are now at the stage where we are deploying our flagship products within the local market,” he smiles, revealing that their roadmap includes the option to extend the use of such products and services abroad.
Another shift helped along by the pandemic has seen the company fully embrace remote working practices. “Within Healthcare Logistics, remote working was always possible – in fact, it is ingrained in all the services we offer, including a 24-hour support service to hospitals and clinics. However, prior to the pandemic, we never went down the route of permanent remote working. Today, I believe that remote working is a game-changer for small organisations, since it helps boost productivity, increases employee retention, and offers a better work-life balance,” the CEO states.
“Ultimately, we need to realise that employee location is not a determinant in the value or quality of their work,” Arthur continues, adding, “the other facet of this is that in order to retain valuable talent, we had to take a bolder step, and we now have employees working across continents – including in Africa, North America and Europe. Ultimately, this new hybrid model provides both employees and the organisation with the stability, social cohesion, identity and belonging irrespective of whether they are working remotely, on premises, or a mix of both.”
Looking ahead, the CEO says his primary impetus will definitely involve further team development – that will include strengthening the remote working team and the infrastructure to support it – which will in turn help to sustain product development plans and help kick-start new product implementation.
“This year will definitely be a challenging one after all this investment, but it will also be exciting. Our primary plan is to keep on consolidating our efforts and invest further in our product suite with the aim of surpassing client expectations,” Arthur continues. This will not come without its challenges, he notes, chief among which is the retention and attraction of quality team members, as well as organisational growth-related challenges.
Ultimately, however, the CEO’s outlook is positive: “This is a game, and we constantly need to innovate and be agile to ensure that we are on the leading end.”
This article is part of the serialisation of 50 interviews featured in MaltaCEOs 2023 – the sister brand to MaltaCEOs.mt and an annual high-end publication bringing together some of the country’s most influential business leaders
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