Dr. Paveljit Bin­dra

“He’s a new breed. He’s pas­sion­ate about ev­i­dence-based medicine and med­i­cal in­for­mat­ics.”

Modern Healthcare - - SPECIAL FEATURE - —Joseph Conn

Dr. Paveljit Bin­dra serves in the dual ca­pac­ity of chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer and chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer for Cit­rus Val­ley Health Part­ners. “He’s a new breed,” says Robert Curry, pres­i­dent and CEO of the three-hospi­tal, 620-bed health­care sys­tem. “He’s pas­sion­ate about ev­i­dence-based medicine and med­i­cal in­for­mat­ics. Ev­i­dence-based medicine is prob­a­bly in his DNA.”

Curry also de­scribes Bin­dra—who led the hospi­tal sys­tem’s suc­cess­ful march to­ward Stage 1 mean­ing­ful-use com­pli­ance in the first year of the fed­eral elec­tronic health-record in­cen­tive pay­ment pro­gram—as “con­sis­tent and thor­ough. … And he brings to it an IT user men­tal­ity, not just an IT tech­nol­ogy per­spec­tive.”

Bin­dra, 39, is an elec­tro­phys­i­ol­o­gist by clin­i­cal train­ing and served as med­i­cal di­rec­tor of that depart­ment at Cit­rus Val­ley be­fore as­sum­ing the roles of CMO and CIO. While at Har­vard Med­i­cal School, Bin­dra took a year’s leave on a Ful­bright schol­ar­ship to Ox­ford Univer­sity in Eng­land, where he earned a mas­ter’s de­gree in so­ci­ol­ogy and pub­lic health.

Dur­ing a fel­low­ship in car­di­ol­ogy and elec­tro­phys­i­ol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia Health Sys­tem in Philadel­phia, Bin­dra earned an MBA, with dual ma­jors in fi­nance and health­care man­age­ment from the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia’s Whar­ton School.

Bin­dra re­calls those fre­netic days in Philadel­phia. “I got a small bike so I could pedal re­ally fast across to the Whar­ton cam­pus,” sit in on a class, and then, “I would run back and do a case. It was sheer mad­ness. If my wife had not been sup­port­ive, I could not have done it.”

Bin­dra says his busi­ness train­ing gave him not only the lan­guage, but also the an­a­lytic tools to bring busi­ness rigor to health in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy de­ci­sion­mak­ing, which prompted him, on as­sum­ing the CIO role, to call for a “strate­gic pause” to re-eval­u­ate an al­ready pro­posed health IT sys­tem up­grade and es­ti­mate the re­turn on in­vest­ment.

“I did the cash flows and some of the anal­y­sis that you would do in any in­vest­ment,” Bin­dra says. “Ba­si­cally, it be­came pretty clear that the ROI was there, but it was there (only) if the prices were in 50% to 60% range of what these peo­ple were ask­ing. When you start look­ing at any­thing be­tween $22 mil­lion and $50 mil­lion, you have to have those num­bers” in an ROI anal­y­sis.

“It’s like the say­ing, only Nixon could go to China,” he says. “It ba­si­cally took a physi­cian to take on a CIO role for stop­ping the band­wagon from go­ing the wrong way.”

The hospi­tal is still weigh­ing its op­tions on the up­grade, Bin­dra says. But in the end, he says, the clin­i­cal and busi­ness skills all were ob­tained for one mis­sion—“that core be­lief that my job as a doc­tor al­ways was to work to let my pa­tients be healthy so they could achieve their God-given abil­ity to reach their po­ten­tial.”

39, chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer and chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer, Cit­rus Val­ley Health Part­ners, Cov­ina, Calif.

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