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