AWS Public Sector Blog

What you missed in the AWS Summit Online – Americas 2021 public sector fireside chat

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit Online – Americas brought together industry leaders and cloud technology enthusiasts for a three-day online event.

In a fireside chat hosted by Max Peterson, vice president of AWS worldwide public sector, three public sector leaders discussed recovery and digital transformation across education and healthcare in the Americas following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Around the globe, we have seen digital innovation at an unprecedented scale in the public sector,” Peterson said in his opening remarks of the fireside chat. “Even as we begin to emerge from the pandemic, our customers are applying the lessons learned from this experience to continue to innovate on behalf of their residents and constituents.”

The fireside chat panelists experienced firsthand the need to scale rapidly due to the pandemic and their stories illustrate the transformational power of the cloud to drive impact. Monica Ospina, director of the Colombian Institute for Educational Assessment and Evaluation (ICFES); Venkat Jegadeesan, chief technology officer (CTO) of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC); and Simon Bates, associate provost of teaching and learning at the University of British Columbia (UBC), highlighted key learnings from the past year and shared how they’re leveraging the cloud to further drive their missions.

Watch the fireside chat on demand:

ICFES reinvents standardized testing to keep students on track to graduate

ICFES is a public institution affiliated with the Ministry of Education that builds and runs standardized exams for Colombia’s student population of two million. As the director of ICFES, Monica Ospina’s research and academic work focuses on the impact of educational policies on evaluation, social development, educational innovation, and environmental economics. In the fireside chat, Ospina detailed how she and her team used artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) services to launch remote, secure examinations meeting national education policies to keep thousands of students on track to graduate. “For the first time in the history of the country, we delivered a national mandated standardized test that integrates traditional large-scale assessment theoretical frameworks with technology to build infrastructure and AI to build automatic tools that replace the procedures that guarantee supervision conditions when administering the test,” said Ospina. ICFES delivered home-based electronic tests to nearly 350,000 higher education students in 2020. “The results show that students in the online version achieved the same consistent results as compared to previous years of students completing tests in paper-based testing centers,” Ospina added. Read more about ICFES and how educational agencies and institutions are reinventing education solutions.

BIDMC transforms telehealth solutions to support patients at home

BIDMC is part of the Beth Israel Lahey Health system, which is the second largest health system in Massachusetts serving more than 1.4 million patients. As CTO of BIDMC, Venkat Jegadeesan is responsible for providing vision and leadership to develop and implement innovative technologies that improve hospital operations along with provider and patient experiences. BIDMC started its cloud journey in 2015, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the team to rapidly launch new solutions including vaccination deployment and medical applications to meet the needs of their healthcare staff and patients. During the fireside chat, Jegadeesan highlighted how the cloud enabled the BIDMC team to quickly create and reinvent technology to solve evolving challenges. “Prior to COVID, telehealth was in limited use due to reimbursement constraints. Then all of a sudden, telehealth became the primary option for patients to see a doctor, covering over 90 percent of appointments at its peak,” said Jegadeesan. “Within two months, we developed our enterprise telehealth platform using Amazon Chime, which now hosts over 70 percent of all video visits at BIDMC.” Read more about BIDMC’s healthcare solutions built in the AWS Cloud.

UBC innovates with new hybrid teaching model to best benefit students and faculty

COVID-19 and pandemic restrictions forced educational institutions to quickly pivot to remote teaching and learning. At UBC, Simon Bates is responsible for providing teaching, learning, and technology support to faculty and departments across undergraduate, graduate, and lifelong learning tracks at the university. In the fireside chat, Bates discussed how institutions are adapting to large scale remote learning and how universities can leverage the cloud to maintain a hybrid teaching model to best benefit students and faculty experiences. “Institutions around the world, including my own, underwent the largest scale course transformation and redesign process in their histories. That began over just one weekend in March 2020 when we had to pivot to emergency remote instruction to preserve learning continuity for students,” said Bates. “In terms of what will stick, that is one of, if not THE biggest, question for institutions to figure out as we chart our return to some sense of a new normal. At UBC, we’ve started a community conversation on exactly that topic and are engaging faculty, staff, and students, as well as university leadership, to figure out which elements of what we’ve been through in the last 18 months we want to keep, what ideas we have that simply weren’t on our radar before, and how we can be deliberate about how we choose to redesign learning and teaching for the future.” Read more stories about how the UBC Cloud Innovation Centre (CIC) uses the cloud to transform healthcare solutions, sunflower conservation to address global food insecurity, and more.

Stream the full fireside chat hosted by Max Peterson now on demand.

Plus, don’t miss the more than 200 breakout sessions available to stream on demand from the AWS Summit Online – Americas. The on demand breakout sessions feature technical topics such as security, machine learning, and data and analytics, with customer stories around migration, digital transformation, and more, supporting all learning and experience levels with the cloud. Breakout sessions also feature public sector customer stories from Amtrak, MDRC, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) and British Columbia, and more. See the full library of on demand breakout sessions from the AWS Summit Online – Americas through the event dashboard.

Want even more public sector content?  Register now for the AWS Summit Washington, DC, taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from Tuesday, September 28 to Wednesday, September 29. Deepen your cloud knowledge and gain new skills to design and deploy solutions in the cloud to accelerate your mission. With more than 150 lecture-style and interactive sessions to learn from, you can join no matter where you are on your cloud journey. Get equipped with training and cloud certifications, work with AWS Partners, compete in the world’s first global, autonomous AWS DeepRacer racing league, and more.

Register for the AWS Summit Washington DC now.

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