An entrepreneur fails all the time until he succeeds.
Prof. Rafael “Rafi” Beyar was named director general of Rambam Health Care Campus in 2006, responsible for the overall operations of the largest medical center in Northern Israel. Before assuming this post, Beyar was director of the division of invasive cardiology at Rambam from 1996 until 2006. Prior to 1996, Prof. Beyar was the Dean of the Technion Israel Institue of Technology’s medical school.
Rafi Beyar founded the Heart System Research Center at Technion IIT in 1983 and served as its coordinator and director while completing his medical residency at Rambam Health Care Campus (1983-1985). After completing a cardiology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University (1985-1987), Beyar was appointed professor of biomedical engineering and medicine at the Technion in 1996. He also served as a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University for several years.
The recipient of several awards, Prof. Beyar has authored over 200 scientific publications and 15 books. His research and clinical interests include cardiovascular system imaging and analysis and development of stents and new technologies in cardiology. He developed the world’s first robotic catheterization system, which is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and used in clinical practice.
Prof. Beyar received his medical degree from the Tel Aviv University School of Medicine in 1977 and his doctor of science degree in biomedical engineering at Technion-IIT in 1983. In 2008, he received his master’s degree in public health from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.
Where did the idea for your medical innovations come from?
The ideas for my medical innovations come from combining clinical practice and biomedical engineering. By being a part of the bioengineering at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, I work with engineering-oriented research on a daily basis while, I also face clinical problems in the catheterization lab on Rambam Health Care Campus. This constant emersion in both the clinical and research and development shows me a need for new innovations and brings my ideas to life.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The first step to bringing ideas to life is understanding the need for a medical innovation, and then protecting the idea by patent. I then establish a ‘fight team’ to solve the problem and raise the funds necessary to move forward with innovation development. After a prototype is built, the fight team works to test it extensively before we apply it to patients. We also work hard throughout the process to secure the device’s approval by the FDA in America or CE in Europe so that the new medical innovation may be used on a global scale.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
In the world of medical innovations, I am excited by the strides we’ve made in open heart surgery. In 20 minutes, you change the fate of the patient, his chest pain goes away and his heart is saved.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur and Director of a hospital?
I focus on what is important: the people I work with on a daily basis — my patients and team of doctors and nurses. I always suggest everybody to do what is best for him, — either from a care or career standpoint. So if somebody thinks he will do better in anther institution, a patient or an employee, I never stand in his way. If somebody is not fulfilled practicing medicine in the environment I’ve worked to create, it is his happiness and fulfillment I care about, and urge him to practice in a place where he is fulfilled and rejuvenated by his work.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I have never had a bad job. Everything I have done has been with love, whether it was gardening as a student, working at a car rental, nursing as a medical student or operating as a car mechanic. I enjoyed being a fellow at Rambam Health Care Campus, and also at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center. I loved being in the catheterization lab and I loved to teach my residents, I loved to run the faculty of medicine of the Technion as dean and I love to run the hospital. I was privileged to be the dean of the faculty of medicine when two members of my team, Professors Hershko and Ciechanover were awarded the first ever scientific Nobel out of Israel in 2004. At every position I have held, I have learned a skill that contributes to what I do today.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. Combining medicine and engineering and treating patients is my passion.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Always come with the right idea, believe in what you do but be critical and work with the right team.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Let the best people do the job, guide them but allow them freedom to run with their ideas.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
An entrepreneur fails all the time until he succeeds. My robotic catheterization machine had many prototypes before we felt it was ready for use.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Someone needs to discover a low-cost and sustainable solution to heart failure, which can be made available on a global scale.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I am a passionate skier and in the past I played classic guitar.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
It’s old fashioned, but I rely on the people around me, and with very simple software. I love to write with word and prepare my presentation with PowerPoint alone. We do develop our own software for clinical management and hospital management at Rambam Health Care Campus.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Steve Jobs – It shows you the power and what it takes to make a change in the world.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
My mentors throughout academia and medicine, professor, Mike Weisfeldt from Johns Hopkins, professor Sam sidemen a from the Technion, professor Uri Dinnar from biomedical engineering and many more in the interventional cardiology field.
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