If one opined about what are the common traits that all leaders possess, a conventional answer to this would be empathy, consistency and credibility.
The skills a leader possesses are key to the success of their vision which also entails calculated governing decisions, but also knows how to see the world from other’s perspective. They recognise others issues as their own and seek a lasting resolution. This rare empathetic quality makes them stand out from the crowd.
One such leader is, Mr Qasim Bata Founder and Director of PBL Care, a man of many virtues, who practises the fundamental principles of humanity and exhibits the characteristics of a true leader, provides genuine care rather than monetary care.
His venture started from a simple question he asked himself “Am I still passionate about what I am doing professionally? If not, in what areas do I have a passion for?” when he was in the finance profession.
Mr Bata who studied ACCA excelled in his numbers game, but it was his passion and empathy towards others that made him change his career vision.
Mr. Bata a true leader who is a rare combination of benevolence, credibility and innovation, used his empathy to quickly identify his passion in Healthcare and took steps towards realizing it by venturing into the Homecare services.
Mr. Bata and his business partner established PBL Care Ltd, a domiciliary care provider, in 2015 in Birmingham. As a Founder and Director of the firm, Mr. Bata is committed to bringing the highest quality homecare to those in need of it. To fulfil his mission, Mr Bata is a believer in setting up robust controls and investing in innovative ways to move forward with time. Mr Bata has been making the best use of technological advances and data analysis, which he already has expertise in from his career in the financial world.
Through this story, we will get to know more about Mr. Qasim Bata and his mission to transform the way homecare is provided.
Sharing the Vision Behind PBL Care
Worldwide, the old age population has been rising rapidly and PBL Care has a different approach to deal with the transformation required in the healthcare industry, a method that expands the focus from care and cure to vitality and wellbeing.
With age, the human body doesn’t always perform tasks independently. Such individuals need dedicated health and personal care services from the comfort of their home.
Additionally, home care is demanded by other age groups too, for various reasons, among which the major one is that everyone likes their home space better and are more comfortable there than anywhere else. And Mr. Qasim Bata, through PBL Care, is determined to meet these needs by offering the best possible solutions.
Mr. Bata shares how he got inspired to venture into the homecare industry. saying, “I studied accounting and finance, and then I did my ACCA. I’m a chartered accountant by profession. I used to work in investment banking at Deutsche Bank. About six years ago, I decided with my business partner to open a healthcare firm, which I did.
Mr. Bata built his business around an industry that he loved and one that he noticed required reform. The systems, policies, infrastructure, and lack of training given to carers was something that had been missing, when I entered into this field, I recognised the importance of such and how to add value and create robust innovative technologies. Technologies help organisations become more innovative, competitive, and differentiated which leads to the output of more useful data that benefits the industry.
Furthermore, describing the strengths of PBL Care over the other market players, he says, “I wanted to be unique. What I did is I added technology as well as worked with other universities. I created bespoke systems which allowed us to make sure that the staff and the patients were looked after at all times.”
“Now, you may or may not be aware, but the way the contracts works here, you’re only allowed to go in at a set time. But, what do you do if the patient is alone all night and there’s nobody there, and they’ve got dementia? If my caregiver was going at 10:00 o’clock tonight, in the morning s/he would arrive next morning at 7:00. But what is going to happen in those nine hours? What we will do is add sensors to the house. So, if they were to fall on the floor, we would know straight away, and we would alert ambulance services. This is all bespoke technology, which has been created by me and with other universities and staff.”
Using Data as Motivation
Data is a vital part to the success of any business. It allows organisations to establish baseline, benchmarks, and goals to continue to develop and grow with the current market.
With his expertise in numbers and acumen for technology, he started maximizing the use of it through different means, with the end goal of improving patients’ health. He says, “I started connecting and partnering with universities and data analysts with one objective: if we get all this data, how can we analyze it to see what we can do and how we can improve the patient’s life?”
PBL Care keeps track of every possible data point about the patient’s health so that later analysis can be done on the patient’s condition and work on improving it if there is any lack. “They say we have more data than Google,” jokes Mr. Bata. He continues, “But the point is, having data records is really useful. Our system will tell me, for example, if the patient has not emptied their bowels. If they haven’t, then I will know the cause using data points like if they have taken the medication or not, or because they have not slept properly at night, or because they have not had the right food. And it goes on.”
“We’re not just providing a care service; we’re providing a full holistic service.”
Additionally, to make better use of technology and data, PBL Care provided patients with a Fitbit. “We gave our patients Fitbits where we would set them targets and say: This month you walked 1,000 steps; next month we want you to walk 1,200 steps. This is how we’re giving them the motivation.”
“We’re basically using data as a form of telling patients how their life is getting better all the time,” adds, Mr. Bata.
Utilizing the Expertise from Finance in Healthcare
Mr. Bata, being from the finance profession, knows how to best utilize data and numbers. It is exactly the kind of knowledge he is implementing at PBL Care. Upon asking about the benefits of his former profession in finance in his current sector, he says, “I think what it means is that when you come from numbers, you understand how you need to set targets. You understand that you need to hit a certain target, or you want to make sure that you get the best out of the individual.”
“Now how can you get the best out of an individual? By sitting with them, setting targets with them and slowly, with time, they become so independent. We set realistic achievable targets, that motivate them and encourages them to strive towards their ultimate potential.
We are clear in our communication, we encourage a positive mindset, we invest in their development.”
From his experience in banking, one thing Mr. Bata has realized is, “it’s all about creating new systems.” He explains, “What we did is we created a bespoke system which basically allowed us to plug in straight with the other emergency services. So, when somebody has a fall, trip, etc., even though our carers are not there, our sensors are there, collecting data, which triggers us if something is going to happen, something will happen, or something has happened.”
Mr. Bata explains how PBL Care has approached reform to create more innovative and effective ways to deliver services in aging societies
Care services improve when health professionals and care workers have immediate access to information on the patients they serve to coordinate delivery. PBL Care continuously develops IT systems that support personalised service delivery. The needs of each of the patients must be identified. The system must work horizontally as well as vertically. Patients have different requirements depending on their progression and improvement which need to be monitored to ensure the right treatments are given at the present time. The information contained within the system must also be accurate, instantaneously updated, and available.
“Innovation is key in healthcare and technology because if you could put them together, literally, you could save people’s lives,” says Mr. Bata.
Mr. Bata is committed to drawing every possible advantage from the current digitization trend at PBL Care. The focus is given to implementing technology solutions that provide real-time updates.
Mr. Bata mentions, “If I wanted someone to look after my mother, but I was living somewhere abroad, I could still track the progress of my mother’s healthcare.”
He adds, “Our digital system will allow the next of kin, to be in another country but also to know what their loved one has eaten in the day, how the morning call went, how their afternoon went. Which carer attended the visits? What was their mood? Everything is digitally one-time shared.”
Mr. Bata explains the technology solution further and says, “It’s an app that has a GPS connection. And if you go to a patient’s house, they will have a barcode. So, what the care staff have to do is scan the barcode using their phone. It will tell me in the office that they’ve logged in. So, they are at the patient’s house.”
“Because usually, what used to happen with a lot of patients — the carers wouldn’t go on time, and then the patients would call and say: ‘Staff hasn’t turned up.’ That’s not good service. We wanted to provide a service where we could get real-time updates about our caregiver’s locations and provide the same update to our patients.”
Prioritizing Quality Over Quantity
For Mr. Bata, when it comes to introducing new services, managing the increasing market demands, or gaining profits—one thing that truly counts is improving quality at all times. PBL Care is open-minded, with young, enthusiastic people at its core. It gladly shares information and data insights with other industry players with the goal of improving the industry as much as possible.
Mr. Bata says, “If we could work in partnership, we could overcome the whole hurdle of ensuring that the other person is safe. Because our end goal is not a financial goal, our end goal is to make sure we can make someone’s life better.”
He adds, “For PBL Care, quality service matters over quantity. I could go for quantity right now. There’s no problem with that. But then that will make our services less efficient.”
“We have a five-star rating almost everywhere. I don’t want that five-star to become less because we’re picking quantity over quality. I think the most important thing is that—the patient should always be treated with dignity and the highest quality of care should always be provided to them. This is the foundation of homecare services,” explains Mr. Bata.
On PBL Care’s revenue-earning model, Mr. Bata mentions, “Our innovative care service packages help us gain our revenues. We reinvest as much as possible in upgrading ourselves to improve our business and recognition for quality.”
Furthering his inputs, he shares, “Once you are content, then it’s not money that drives you; it’s legacy, quality, it’s what can I do differently? People are driven by different things. I’m driven by how PBL provides stand-out solutions. What can we do differently? How can we use technology and data to improve our healthcare industry.
Rising Above The Challenges
Mr. Bata feels the healthcare sector needs proactive leadership. He feels that without it, the system would not make significant progress. He says, “In order to progress and be the best, one always has to be a proactive leader. In my opinion, healthcare leaders need to be more proactive. I’ll be honest with you. We need more networking sessions, and rather than working as competitors, we need to be working as partners.”
“When you are young and dynamic, you want to change the system. You want the system to work in a better way,” he expresses.
Mr. Bata’s passion for changing systems helped him to find the best possible solution that would maximize technology integration and data analysis. He elaborates, “We created a unique system, which was programmed via Microsoft PowerBi, which allowed us to analyse data and the system in such a way that gave us a full analysis of the patient’s condition.”
Another thing where PBL Care is looking for progress is going into more contracts and different healthcare services. In order to expand into more contracts, the firm is struggling to find the right staff. To overcome this challenge, Mr. Bata says, “We’ve started to employ nurses and healthcare staff from abroad and bring them here on a full-time basis. What this means is that they have a five-year visa. Once they have a five-year visa, after the fifth year they can apply for residency. What we do is provide a full support system, so, we’d provide them with a place to live, pay for their visas, and make sure they have all their necessities ensuring a smooth transition for them.”
Moreover, the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic did not stop PBL Care from progressing. In fact, it effectively added more services under its umbrella. “We were calling all patients. We weren’t getting paid by the contract provider. But what we would still do is call our patients; we would provide them with extra food if their next of kin was unavailable. If their groceries were running low, we would take that into our own hands. There’s a lot of support we provided during this time that other companies learnt from. We had hospitals that would use us as a rapid discharge line,” expresses Mr. Bata.
Driven By Passion
Changing professions, launching a new venture, or diving into something completely different is no simple task. Like every other entrepreneur, Mr. Bata too had to make choices and tough decisions during the early days of the firm.
He found support from his parents. They did ask him the usual questions every concerned parent would ask, like, “‘Are you sure about this? Are you sure you want to quit a good job?’ However, they also gave me much-needed motivation and trust by saying, ‘Look, at the end of the day, it’s up to you’” asserts Mr. Bata.
The next person who played a major supporting role in realizing Mr. Bata’s vision was none other than his business partner in the firm, Mr. Mohammed Lalji. “He was there throughout, and he always believed in me and encouraged me throughout.”
“He always said to me: ‘Look, if you think it is right, we will do it.’ And I think sometimes it’s so important just to have somebody that’s backing you, that makes you think: Actually, you know what? I’ve got somebody here that’s really supportive towards my visions for the firm,” expresses Mr. Bata.
Additionally, staying true to his passion helped Mr. Bata gain inner satisfaction. “This was a big jump for me. It was a big leap for me. But at the same time, I knew my heart was in this, my inner satisfaction was more important.” explains Mr. Bata.
Sharing the Beneficial Advice
When asked what advice he would like to share with budding entrepreneurs in the industry, Mr. Bata advises—always know their passion and then follow it truthfully. He says, “Because when you have a passion for something, your mindset works in a way of quickly establishing your identity in the market. Without passion, the path will be very difficult.”
The second piece of advice for young aspirants from Mr. Bata is to have a never-give-up attitude. According to him, this attitude helps against all the odds and naysayers. It helps entrepreneurs combine their passions with their determination to put negativity behind them and keep on progressing.
And lastly, his third piece of advice for them is to “talk about your services, talk about your branding, always talk about it, because you are your brand, you are your company. An entrepreneur is the brand, if that makes sense.”
“Make people aware. Talk positively. Attend networking sessions. Make sure people know who you are, what you do, and why you’re different. I think that’s another thing. Connect, networking, working partnerships,” he adds.
Towards a Bright Future
Speaking about the future growth plans of PBL Care, Mr. Bata says, “We have a five-star NHS rating as well. We work in different contracts. We’re spread out nationwide. We’re spreading as we go.”