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1. Tell us about your journey in healthcare IT which brought you here today.

My journey in healthcare IT has been filled with passion, dedication, and continuous learning. It all began over 35 years ago when I first developed a love for information technology and computers. This early fascination led me to pursue an engineering degree in computer science and technology management, setting the foundation for my career in the IT industry.

Over the course of 27 years, I’ve had the privilege of working in various sectors, starting as a software professional in the banking and financial industry. However, my true calling came when I transitioned to the healthcare sector and joined Columbia University Medical Center. This move allowed me to be part of cutting-edge informatics research and the development of advanced solutions that bridged the gap between biomedical research and patient care. The experience was both thrilling and educational, as I witnessed how technology could revolutionize patient care and contribute to medical advancements.

After my time at Columbia, I embarked on a thirteen-year journey with HSS New York, where I had the opportunity to impact patient care through technology solutions directly. I took on leadership roles and actively sought out opportunities to contribute to various clinical technology projects. My involvement in numerous initiatives, including EMR implementation, imaging technologies, medical device integration, data analytics, mobile technologies, and clinical safety improvements, further honed my skills and expertise in healthcare IT.

All these experiences culminated in my current position as a thought leader at Englewood. As a technology leader, I now have the privilege of aligning the organization’s technology portfolio with its strategic initiatives and growth plans. I take pride in my journey, knowing that every step has prepared me to make a meaningful difference in the healthcare IT landscape and positively impact patient care and outcomes. The continuous evolution and challenges in healthcare IT keeps me motivated to stay at the forefront of innovation and make a lasting impact in the field.

2. Please tell us something about your childhood. What values had been instilled in you that helped you excel later in your life?

Discipline! It is the key to success and a life-changing habit. It is still a work in progress, as you know, we can always be better, but I try to lead a disciplined life both at work and at home.

Professionally, discipline has been the cornerstone of my success, propelling me to achieve my goals and excel in my career. By maintaining a disciplined approach, I ensure that I remain organized, focused, and reliable, allowing me to deliver consistent results and make a significant impact in my field. This steadfast commitment to discipline has fostered productivity and garnered trust from colleagues and superiors alike

In personal life, discipline extends beyond its professional benefits. It has played a crucial role in nurturing healthier relationships by aiding effective communication and active listening. Demonstrating respect and empathy becomes natural through the practice of discipline, and it empowers me to foster strong and meaningful connections with those around me.

Discipline allows me to be more in control of my day and my plans and, more importantly, gives me a chance to influence the outcomes. In essence, the early cultivation of discipline during my formative years has driven my achievements and personal growth.

3. What have been some of the biggest challenges in your professional life and how that has shaped you?

Throughout my extensive career, I have faced numerous challenges, but none have been as impactful as the last three years dominated by the COVID pandemic. The outbreak of COVID-19 revealed our remarkable ability to adapt and transform at an astonishing pace, surpassing even our own expectations. In a mere three months, we achieved a level of transformation that would typically require three years.

The urgency brought on by the pandemic was unprecedented and presented unique challenges without an established care plan. As IT became an integral part of clinical care and operations, we found ourselves on the frontlines of patient care, tasked with designing and implementing solutions on the fly, without the luxury of time for thorough planning, testing, and validation. Our focus was on providing immediate support to clinicians, patients, and families in their time of need.

This experience has profoundly influenced my approach to designing solutions that promote accessibility, health equity, and equitable care. I am driven by the vision of utilizing technology to bridge the digital and access divide among different communities. I believe that AI and machine learning can play a pivotal role in addressing the disparities in outcomes across various population groups, facilitating ease of access, and ultimately striving for universal access to healthcare services.

I am determined to continue exploring innovative ways to positively impact patient care, ensuring that technology becomes a powerful force in promoting equality and inclusivity in healthcare delivery.

4. How do you think the COVID pandemic has changed the healthcare industry?

The COVID pandemic has ushered in a profound transformation in the healthcare industry, revealing our ability to rapidly adapt while ensuring the delivery of safe care. This impressive feat was not merely a product of adrenaline-fueled responses but rather the culmination of years of meticulous groundwork and streamlined processes that could be accelerated

without compromising safety. The urgency imposed by the pandemic demanded immediate action and yet again reinforced the vital role of IT in our healthcare delivery models.

However, the pandemic also brought to the forefront the harsh reality of unequal access to care among diverse communities and population groups. While digital healthcare solutions proved beneficial for many, they also exposed the glaring disparity for those without the means for connectivity, lacking technological capabilities, or facing limited opportunities. The consequences of this disparity may surface in the future, as missed screenings and preventive care could manifest into more complicated and challenging health issues.

The COVID pandemic has catalyzed change in the healthcare industry, prompting us to accelerate our technological advancements while highlighting the pressing need for equitable access to care.

5. How would you describe your leadership style? Do you think leadership can be taught?

I would describe my leadership style as democratic, strongly emphasizing empowering my team and providing them with the necessary tools and support to excel. I believe in giving my team the autonomy they need to carry out their tasks effectively while also being available to step in and make executive decisions if conflicts or uncertainties arise. Collaboration is essential to me, and I am comfortable working as part of a team and offering guidance when needed.

One of the major roles of a leader is to ensure that the team’s efforts are aligned with the organization’s priorities. This involves empowering the team members, providing the resources and support they require, and setting realistic expectations to achieve the established goals and deadlines.

As for whether leadership can be taught, it can certainly be partially taught to learn specific skills. However, the full extent of leadership development comes from real-life experiences gained while working in the trenches alongside exceptional leaders and learning from both successes and failures. While formal education can provide some valuable insights, the hands-on experience genuinely shapes and refines one’s leadership abilities.

6. What advice would you give those who want to pursue a career in STEM?

For aspiring individuals seeking a career in STEM, I advise pursuing the best and most comprehensive education possible, irrespective of the specific field of study. A well-rounded education equips you with diverse knowledge that can be seamlessly applied to the realms of Science and Technology. When you ultimately choose to embark on a career in Technology, leverage all that you have learned to make a tangible impact in the real world.

As you progress in your STEM journey, remember to keep a human-centric perspective. Understanding the needs of individuals and communities will help you channel your technical skills toward creating solutions that genuinely improve lives and contribute to societal progress. Strive to be an empathetic technologist, aware of the ethical implications and implications of your work.

Additionally, seek opportunities for hands-on experiences and practical application of your knowledge. Engage in internships, projects, or volunteer work that allows you to use your skills in real-world settings. This exposure will provide valuable insights into the challenges and possibilities that await you in your STEM career.

7. How do you envision the Future of Transformation in Healthcare?

In the coming decade, healthcare will continue an accelerated transformation, prioritizing patient experience and engagement. Analog and Digital care will merge, combining in-patient services with seamless digital experiences. Data-driven patient profiles will enable personalized care. Telehealth and AI will expand accessibility and early interventions. Proactive health management and collaboration among stakeholders will drive a patient-centric and efficient healthcare system.


Inderpal Kohli