Interview: Tarek Elgammal, HRH Foundation Board Member
Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Tarek Elgammal and I joined the Humber River Hospital Foundation Board of Directors in June 2020. I’m a husband, father, business owner, active community member and a Raptors fan.
What makes you passionate about Humber River Hospital?
I have a lot of professional experience in operations management and specifically technology implementations, so I’m really excited about the ways HRH is using innovation to improve patient care. HRH is a world class institution and the focus on technology serves as a proof of concept that opens the door for further adoption among other health care providers.
What is the most interesting way technology is being used at the Hospital?
There are so many impressive ways HRH is using technology, so it’s difficult to highlight just one. There are Automated Guided Vehicles that run through dedicated paths and elevators to move everything from medication to linens around the hospital completely out of sight – sort of like Disney World meets Tesla. The closed-loop medication system in the Pharmacy Department minimizes manual entries and reduces errors, while providing controls throughout the full cycle starting with order entry up to administration. Surgeons use state of the art technologies to improve accuracy during procedures. Last month, there was even a robotic-assisted knee replacement surgery! The technology not only leads to better results for patients, but also less trauma means faster recovery, less time in the hospital and less reliance on pain medication.
One place that left a lasting impression on me is the Command Centre. This is where staff can track the real-time status of patients, beds, tests and scheduling all in one place – think NASA’s Mission Control. On the surface it promotes better patient flow and more efficient use of resources, but there is so much more. For example, predictive analytics provide early warnings of a patient’s condition so that the staff can intervene sooner. The Command Centre is scalable even beyond the walls of HRH. Theoretically, third party healthcare providers or even other hospitals could integrate with HRH’s Command Centre, leveraging the systems and expertise already in place.
Is there a Program of Care that you have a personal connection to?
I have a general appreciation for healthcare workers. There is a common verse in the Quran that says, “If anyone saved a life, it would be as if they saved the life of the whole of humanity.” This is a powerful statement. Healthcare workers dedicate every day to improving the lives of other people and I’m just happy to be in a position to promote their work. Over the years, I have worked with Humber River Hospital Foundation to support different Programs of Care, like the Cancer Care Program, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the Emergency Department and the Maternal & Child Program.
Do you have a favourite fundraising project?
Under the current circumstances, my focus has been on COVID-19 relief and I have a Personal Fundraising Page dedicated to the Humber Frontline Support Fund.
Otherwise, as a father of four, I tend to gravitate towards fundraising projects focused on children’s care, hence my support for the Maternal & Child Program and NICU in the past. I think it’s amazing that HRH established the Totally Kids Clinic, a walk-in clinic which provides parents access to Humber’s paediatricians. It’s the ideal for solution for those situations that are not severe enough for the Emergency Department, but at the same time a parent cannot wait for an appointment with their main paediatrician.
What is something awesome you’ve done in the last year?
Joining Humber River Hospital Foundation’s Board. This is an exciting opportunity on its own, but it’s even more important to me that I can be part of the leadership that supports the hospital during a pandemic. HRH is often referred to as the hospital that SARS built, but COVID-19 is putting it to the test. Today we’re witnessing the benefits of the design and foresight that went into building the hospital.
What inspires you?
I have to give a shout out to the Toronto Raptors! The way the Raptors, MLSE and the NBA as a whole use their platform to support social causes like Black Lives Matter, Giants of Africa, and other community initiatives is inspiring… and of course winning a championship is nice too! They are a first-class organization that acts on their values. They’re my hometown team and I’m proud of how they represent Canada.