How UC Davis Health's AWS Cloud Innovation Center is changing the narrative of 'siloed' innovation

Sacramento, Calif.-based UC Davis Health noticed a trend in the healthcare IT space — many IT organizations were siloed, leaving little room for cross-collaboration. For UC Davis Health, that was something the organization wanted to dismantle, so it became one of the first academic medical centers to create a Cloud Innovation Center. 

The health system's Cloud Innovation Center focuses on digital health equity and allows clinicians, patients, developers and students to exchange ideas, as well as design and create prototypes that make digital health more equitable and accessible globally.

With the help of Amazon Web Services, the center became an open innovation initiative that allows the health system to partner with different organizations around the U.S. and the world to answer healthcare's biggest problems. 

"We see it as a catalyst where we can bring people together around innovation," said Ashish Atreja, MD, CIO and chief digital health officer of UC Davis Health. "Most health systems have blinders on when it comes to innovation, everyone is trying to do it alone, and the challenge with that is no single organization has the skill or resources to actually make it happen. And so by making digital health a team activity, we then bring everyone together so we can actually build the science." 

Dr. Atreja also emphasized the importance of working together with Big Tech companies to foster collaboration within innovation spaces in healthcare. He said UC Davis Health's partner for the initiative, Amazon Web Services, allows for scalability, so that other organizations can gain access to the initiative's findings.

"If you're creating value, and the value is only in one region, or one organization, then you cannot actually create value for society as a whole. So by having this deeper partnership, it allows us to design scalability from the very beginning," Dr. Atreja said. 

The other part of the initiative that allows for collaboration and scalability is the cloud. By putting cross-collaboration prototypes and ideas on a cloud platform, UC Davis Health is not limiting these concepts to its own server, but extending them to other organizations. 

"Cloud enables us to partner extensively, all the tools, all the processes, all the infrastructure beyond the cloud, then teams across the world can contribute and build together," said Dr. Atreja.   

The Cloud Innovation Center, though still in pre-launch, is aiming to bring the concept of open innovation to the AI and digital health space.

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