Larry Sylvestre

While I am a new member of CHIEF, I have been aware of Digital Health Canada efforts to build its community since the days of “COACH”. CHIEF provides healthcare stakeholders with a unique opportunity to share ideas, learn from each other, and most importantly, to influence how technology affects the delivery of care in our country. There is much that can be accomplished with technology, but it is incredibly important to listen to those at the front line to ensure that technology improves care rather than being a “cool new capability in search of a problem”. To me, that’s the value of CHIEF – where people and technology intersect so that we can all focus our efforts in the most productive way possible.

My career in technology stared at my father’s business—RadioShack. At the age of 12, I was coding in BASIC and selling computers to customers who had no idea what a computer was. It was a great learning experience and I loved teaching people about technology. My post-secondary pursuits were in biomedical technology as I was drawn to healthcare based on the advanced tech that is used for the benefit of humanity. My first “healthcare” job was at an Ultrasound company, and one of my clients was St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. In 1998, St. Paul’s asked me to join them to implement a digital imaging solution for the hospital—one of the first in Canada. I made the leap from “soldering irons” to IT, and the project was a completed 2 years later.

Word of our success spread, and I was asked to replicate that success for the Calgary Health Region, which I did from 2000-2004. In 2004, I wrote a business plan to “Make Medical Imaging Digital” for the whole province of Alberta, and much to my surprise, the Minister of Health funded the project and I found myself at Ministry of Health 6 months later to oversee the provincial rollout. That project wrapped up in 2010 and as a consultant, I took various roles in Healthcare IT, acting as the National Executive for Clinical Systems Integration at Canada Health Infoway, and authoring Health IT strategies for various clients in the public and private sectors. I joined Amazon Web Services in 2019 as the National Healthcare Leader, and I very privileged to be surrounded by an incredible team of passionate and talented individuals who are helping healthcare customers use the cloud to help them deliver on their quadruple aim objectives.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has a dedicated life sciences and genomics practice composed of folks who have been in the industry for years. It includes a team of people who have been bedside with patients, including physicians, and nurses. We also have a large number of researchers. For me, one of the delights of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Health & Life Sciences practice is that we get to work with a large ecosystem of customers and partners. When we look at the mission or vision of every single organization we work with, they always reference to the word “patient”. That is very important to AWS because the work we are doing with these organizations is intended to benefit people.

Today, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, offering over 175 fully featured services from data centers globally. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing start-ups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—are using AWS to lower costs, become more agile, and innovate faster.

To continue helping customers during these unprecedented times, AWS is collaborating with healthcare providers, public health organizations, government agencies, and life science businesses around the globe to support their efforts to cope with the ripple effect of COVID-19. This includes providing customers in the most affected regions with technical support and AWS Promotional Credits to help cover costs of initiatives related to COVID-19 response. This includes the $20 million AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative supporting customers bringing better, more accurate diagnostic solutions to market faster.

We are helping organizations quickly scale their technology and infrastructure to help maintain clinical and operational continuity for our global healthcare system. Increasing contact center efficiency with web chatbots and voice conversational agents will supplement staff to help triage patients, protecting and scaling clinical staff through remote visits via telemedicine, enabling a remote work force and global research collaboration with cloud desktop and application streaming solutions, are all opportunities for healthcare organizations to work together on during this difficult time.
Healthcare providers around the world are using AWS to deliver improved care to their patients by reducing the time and effort required to run existing workloads, providing access to powerful new analytics capabilities, all while meeting the security and privacy requirements.

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