In this interview in our series, we had a chance to share insights from Dr. Rami Hashish, Founder and Director of the National Biomechanics Institute.
Dr. Rami has no shortage of letters after his name, but, his Ph.D. in Biokinesiology and Doctorate of Physiotherapy (DPT) are just the beginning of his litany of achievements which include Traffic Crash Reconstruction Engineer, and Slip and Fall Tribometrist. The picture becomes even more complete when you add adjunct faculty at USC, and Journalism and Communications undergrad and pilot to the list.
Dr. Rami is also an entrepreneur and the founder of pareIT, a commercial software tool that simplifies finding pertinent information in a patient’s medical history — helping medical professionals focus on their patients’ immediate needs rather than sifting through digital archives.
Understandably, Dr. Rami has a uniquely informed perspective on healthcare, rehabilitation, and business and operations in the commercial and academic realms — he takes an active approach when it comes to his participation in both.
Read the Interview
Taking time out from his diverse work schedule, Dr. Rami spoke with us about how he got into biomechanics, the opportunities he sees in the field, and how he keeps so many plates spinning while maintaining an academic career, family, businesses, and a healthy work-life balance.
An Early Break
What sparked your interest in physical therapy, and what led you to the health field after pursuing a degree in journalism?
Towards the end of my junior year of high school, I sustained a fractured ankle. After about 8 weeks in a cast, I began intensive physical therapy. Unfortunately, my recovery was quite slow, which limited my performance during my senior year of high school football.
It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as, through that difficulty, I realized my passion — helping others through technology. More specifically, I felt that the physical therapy approaches at the time were archaic, and I knew that it was inevitable that they would advance, and that I wanted to be part of that advancement.
As a result, I entered my undergraduate degree knowing that it was a stepping stone, and took pre-physical therapy and pre-med courses. I knew, ultimately, that I wanted to be at the forefront of disseminating information in the physical therapy space, so, in order to refine that skill, I majored in journalism.
Innovation and Positive Disruption
During your time editing and reviewing research papers, what skills did you develop that impacted your entrepreneurial spirit and ability to build a business?
I think I was a born inventor and innovator. For as long as I can remember, I would look at a product, or a process and ask “how could this be better?” Over time, I realized that in order to turn that question into a business, you just need to take a scientific approach. Namely, you make a hypothesis, you test it, and you reiterate over and over again.
I think I was a born inventor and innovator. For as long as I can remember, I would look at a product, or a process and ask “how could this be better?”
What roadblocks did you encounter when you first started your pareIT, a technology company that sorts case files and pares down medical records to what’s important?
Well, we are still encountering roadblocks! The biggest roadblock, however, is patience. In order to really make a lasting impact and disrupt an industry, you just have to put in the time and effort.
Inevitably, self-doubt creeps in, but as long as you believe in something, and you put in the time, I genuinely believe anything is possible.
On Business, Operations, and Learning for Life
What do you think are the three most important qualities that a director of a business should possess?
The director of any business must be accountable, compassionate, and flexible — you can’t hold anyone to a higher standard than you hold yourself, so, in order to ensure maximum achievement, you must hold yourself accountable, and by doing so, it will help you hold others accountable as well.
The director of any business must be accountable, compassionate, and flexible
One must be compassionate and understand that people are different, need to be spoken to differently, dealt with differently, and have different needs; once that is understood and acted upon, you can unlock potential you never even knew existed. On that same token, you have to be willing to adapt and be flexible.
No one person is right 100% of the time, but if you are willing to adapt, collectively, as a group, you may be able to approach that.
As an adjuct professor at USC, what is the most important lesson that you try to impart to your students?
You’re not learning for today, you’re learning for the future. Learning is truly a lifelong activity, so focus on the big picture, as opposed to just cramming for a test.
You’re not learning for today, you’re learning for the future.
Focus on Communication
From an operational standpoint, what additional technologies would you like to implement at the National Biomechanics Institute to make processes run even more efficiently?
I believe that any good relationship – business or otherwise – requires great communication. I believe NBI could still stand to improve the inefficiencies surrounding communication and scheduling with our clients – particularly in this new age where many individuals are working remotely.
If you had all the resources you could ask for, what is one strategy or solution that you wish you could implement to better grow your business?
Though I am keen on technology and innovation, I believe that nothing can replace face-to-face communication. If I had all the time in the world to better grow my business, I would engage in more frequent direct discussions with potential clients.
Though I am keen on technology and innovation, I believe that nothing can replace face-to-face communication.
What is your favorite business-related book?
My favorite business-related book is The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.
What would you do in your free time to relax and maintain your work-life balance?
The secret to work-life balance is to do things every day just for you and your personal fulfillment – completely outside of work. For me, that’s spending time with my wife, prayer, engaging in some sort of physical activity, and aviation. I recently achieved my private pilot’s license, and I find it therapeutic, so I try to go at least once to twice a week.
Do you have a personal motto that you live by?
The motto I live by is:
The only people who can bring you down are beneath you.
You should never be affected negatively by the words or actions of others. Focus on you, your happiness, and growth, and filter everything else either as a positive comment or constructive criticism.