AWS Public Sector Blog

UC Davis Health and AWS announce first Cloud Innovation Center at an academic medical center

UC Davis Health, a nationally renowned academic medical center that serves 33 counties in Northern California covering a 65,000-square-mile area north to the Oregon border and east to Nevada, announced the launch of the world’s first Cloud Innovation Center (CIC) based at an academic medical center in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The global CIC Program, powered by AWS, brings together nonprofit, education, and government organizations to collaborate on solutions to address challenges and real-world problems that matter most to communities related to healthcare, smart cities, sustainability, and cybersecurity. Organizations bring their expertise, while Amazon provides resources to work through challenges to find new ways to innovate.

The UC Davis Health CIC, focused on digital health equity, will use Amazon’s Working Backwards principles and methodologies to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities. The CIC will allow clinicians or clinical care providers, patients, and developers to exchange ideas, as well as prototype and validate open-source solutions focused on making digital health more equitable and accessible worldwide. Among the 13 AWS CICs globally, this will be the first CIC based at an academic medical center.

“Digital health equity has become a front-and-center issue, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said David Lubarsky, CEO of UC Davis Health. “Many of our underserved communities have struggled even more to receive the care they need, and the digital divide has only widened. Together with AWS, we are committed to finding innovative ways to make healthcare more accessible to every patient, no matter who they are or where they live.”

The UC Davis Health CIC will tackle some of the most pressing challenges around health equity, access to care, and population health in the backdrop of a health system that is rapidly undergoing digital transformation.

Telemedicine use dramatically increased during the pandemic, but many patients who did not have smartphones or broadband internet were limited in their ability to access virtual care. The UC Davis Health CIC will explore challenges that address these difficult issues around how to provide equitable care to a diverse patient population. The CIC could also explore issues around discrepancies in technology used for healthcare, transportation, and mental health that could be improved to better serve a diversity of patients. Projects will be driven by clinicians, patients, and the community-at-large who will submit their challenge ideas.

Clinicians are often siloed from product design and development of healthcare solutions due to their non-technical focus. The UC Davis Health CIC will present opportunities for clinicians to use their in-depth knowledge of what patients need to create practical solutions that can support health equity on a local level that can be scaled across the healthcare industry.

“Many clinicians and patients are mandated to use certain products and services, but they’re often left out of the decision-making process,” said Ashish Atreja, chief information officer and chief digital officer at UC Davis Health. “Our goal with the UC Davis Health CIC powered by AWS is to create a global collaborative community with a mission to leave no patient, clinician, or researcher behind in the digital transformation of healthcare.”

Digital CoLab, the digital health innovation hub for UC Davis Health, will launch and administer the CIC. Digital CoLab will serve as the liaison between clinicians, researchers, students, and the community to co-ideate, co-create, co-validate, and co-transform digital health solutions. The CIC will be located at Aggie Square, a planned innovation hub for business partners and community-based programs with UC Davis innovation and research.

“Our collaboration with AWS enables us to unlock the intrapreneurial spirit of our clinicians, patients, developers, and students in the region to provide a one-of-a-kind space where people who’ve never had a voice in healthcare will be the ones driving the thinking and innovation,” said Keisuke Nakagawa, executive director of the UC Davis Health CIC and director of innovation for the Digital CoLab.

Aggie Square, which has over 1.1 million square feet of space, will serve as the physical location and intersection for the entire Sacramento community and beyond to participate in challenges to help advance care and digital healthy equity. Under this umbrella, UC Davis Health will work to offer investment vehicles, industry partnerships, and entrepreneurial resources to take ideas to the next level of scale and commercialization.

Students will receive a transformative learning experience by working side-by-side with clinicians, patients, and developers to prototype solutions built on AWS. UC Davis Health and AWS will each commit personnel to work with students, the community, and organizations to define and source real-world challenges around digital health equity. All the innovation challenge outputs, including the proofs of concepts, will be published as open source for other community members to access, build upon, and implement.

“For a number of years, AWS has been accelerating innovation throughout the global healthcare industry—from powering vaccine production, to advancing academic medical research, and creating a variety of solutions that drive the development of life-saving therapies,” said Kim Majerus, vice president of education, state and local government at AWS. “Our collaboration with UC Davis Health, a vast and diverse health system, brings together our commitment to improve health outcomes with an organization that is deeply invested in addressing health disparities and providing the best care to communities.”

Learn more about the UC Davis Health CIC powered by AWS, and check out more information on the AWS CIC Program, including the recent launch of our Singapore CIC.

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