This winter UC Davis Health became the world’s first academic medical center to launch a Cloud Innovation Center (CIC) powered by Amazon Web Services. Focused on digital health equity, the new center will allow clinicians, patients, developers, and students to exchange ideas, and to design and prototype solutions focused on making digital health more equitable and accessible worldwide.

“Digital health equity has become a front-and-center issue, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said David Lubarsky, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.S.A., 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.

“We’re committed to finding innovative ways to make health care more accessible to every patient, no matter who they are or where they live.”

UC Davis Health and Amazon Web Services will each commit staff to work with clinicians, students, organizations, and the community to define real-world challenges around digital health equity through the CIC.

The challenges will explore difficult issues around providing equitable care to a diverse patient population. They may address issues around remote patient care, discrepancies in technology used for health care, transportation, or 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. The challenge findings will be published as open source for other community members to access, build upon, and implement.

“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, M.D., M.P.H., chief information officer and chief digital officer at UC Davis Health. “Our goal with the CIC is to create a global collaborative community with a mission to leave no patient, clinician, or researcher behind in the digital transformation of health care.”

The CIC is the latest initiative from UC Davis Health to advance digital medicine through its Digital CoLab (Digital Collaborative for Innovation and Validation), a digital health innovation hub focused on accelerating digital health technologies to make health care more accessible, equitable, and inclusive. Digital CoLab will serve as the CIC’s liaison between participants.

The UC Davis Health CIC is part of the Amazon Web Services global CIC Program, which brings together nonprofit, education, and government organizations. The goal is to collaborate on solutions to address challenges and real-world problems that matter most to communities related to health care, smart cities, sustainability, and cybersecurity. Organizations bring their expertise, while Amazon provides resources, to work through challenges to find new ways to innovate.

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

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