San Bernardino Health Care Industry

San Bernardino’s Health Care Industry is Driven by Innovation, Powered by Humanity
Posted on Oct 02, 2023

San Bernardino’s Health Care Industry is Driven by Innovation, Powered by Humanity

Dr. Avinash - IEHP

Dr. Avinash Chenam at the da Vinci® console (L) and Dr. David Martin booking OR time on the new appointment app. Photo courtesy: St. Bernardine Medical Center

A robot hovers over an operating table while a surgeon looks through a viewfinder console and uses a toggle to manipulate its four arms. What might look like the latest in gaming is one of two state-of-the-art da Vinci® Surgical Systems at Dignity Health - St. Bernardine Medical Center.

“We’re a center of excellence for robotic surgery,” said Doug Kleam, St. Bernardine Medical Center’s president. “For some surgeries, it can cut time in the hospital by half.”

The 342-bed acute care facility may have opened in 1931, but its cutting-edge technology and exceptional patient care is far from antiquated. Walk the halls, and you see artificial intelligence (AI) assisting radiologists in analyzing images quickly, surgeons booking available times in the operating room using a platform akin to OpenTable, and patients swallowing a pill with a tiny wireless camera that captures images of their digestive tract.

Being a large teaching hospital also contributes to St. Bernardine’s innovative culture with new doctors and those with decades-long careers working together to reimagine what’s possible. Kleam said the goal is to train and retain qualified physicians and medical specialists to care for the burgeoning region.

When challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital leaned on innovation to pave a path forward from ramping up telemedicine and video support groups to opening a Transitional Care Center.

“Things are much more integrated now,” Kleam said. “We are here to care for the community, and that goes beyond our four walls.”

IEHP Team Member

A member of the Inland Empire Health Plan team. Photo courtesy: IEHP

It also doesn’t stop at patients — Kleam emphasized how technology helps care for caregivers. Remote work and staff wellness programs, particularly mental health, are enabled by digital tools. Advanced systems also strengthen connections between St. Bernardine Medical Center and its partners, such as Inland Empire Health Plan. 

“The sharing of information, ongoing monitoring, and little tweaks, particularly for patients with chronic conditions, can change the trajectory of their disease,” Kleam said.

IEHP, with over 1.6 million members in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, recently scaled up its innovation by expanding telehealth appointments, text messaging, and geo-mapping to a member portal phone app.

Earlier this year, IEHP partnered with Call The Car (CTC) to help members get to medical appointments safely. Thanks to technologies added to each vehicle it has better served the driver and patient by including GPS tracking, ADA accessibilities, and AI that can detect accidents and when the driver needs a break. 

IEHP Team Member 2

A member of the Inland Empire Health Plan team. Photo courtesy: IEHP

Further, IEHP is on the brink of major collaborations. It will be convening the first Inland Empire Hospital Alliance (IEHA) and joining Covered California in 2024.

“Covered California allows us to expand our ability to serve more residents in the Inland Empire,” said Jarrod McNaughton, IEHP’s chief executive officer. “It also creates a way for us to bring families together under a single plan with coordinated care.”

“We will not rest until our communities enjoy optimal care and vibrant health,” McNaughton said.

San Bernardino embodies a dynamic synergy of innovation, expertise, and community engagement, all working in unison to elevate the well-being of its residents and set a high standard for healthcare excellence.

“In San Bernardino’s healthcare ecosystem, it’s not just about the technology; it’s about fostering a mindset that envisions the boundless possibilities for a healthier future,” said Amanda Hernandez, City of San Bernardino’s Economic Development Division Manager.

For more about St. Bernardine Medical Center, go to

 For more about the Inland Empire Health Plan, go to