Security First: Dr. Myriam Fernández Martín’s Pioneering Role in Healthcare Digitalization

Dr. Myriam Fernández Martín Head of Health Innovation | Amazon Web Services
Dr. Myriam Fernández Martín Head of Health Innovation | Amazon Web Services

Dr. Myriam Fernández Martín is a transformative force who is currently serving as the Head of Health Innovation at Amazon Web Services. With a dynamic career spanning over two decades, Myriam has proven herself as a trusted C-Suite advisor and a strategic visionary executive. Her international journey, marked by 12 years in Europe and 9 in the USA, reflects her prowess in accelerating healthcare digital transformation.

Myriam’s passion for disrupting the status quo in healthcare is palpable, evident in her achievements of attaining over $143M in ROI within two years. As a motivator, team leader and change agent, she has mastered the art of building high-performance teams. After making waves in the European Healthcare IT market, Myriam’s impact led her to the USA, where she operationalized corporate vision into high-impact performance initiatives.

Her strategic prowess was especially evident while in the USA, where, as a Senior Director of Value Advisory Services, for Cerner Corporation, Oracle Health, she spearheaded a remarkable 400% growth, a 47% increase in operating earnings and a 30% boost in client satisfaction within a concise timeframe.

Now, back in Spain as the Clinical Innovation Head for EMEA with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Myriam continues to shape the future of healthcare. Her belief in business growth through client success is evident in her leadership approach—marked by integrity, humility, empathy, passion, and decisiveness. Fluent in Spanish, English and French, Myriam’s ability to navigate cultural and linguistic nuances underscores her effectiveness in the global healthcare arena.

Let’s explore Myriam’s role at AWS where she is a leader and a trailblazer shaping the next era of healthcare innovation!

Innovation and Integration

Healthcare is grappling with unprecedented challenges, prompting a collective search for innovative solutions from organizations, governments, payors, healthcare tech companies, and startups. Escalating healthcare costs, pervasive clinical professional burnout, a growing elderly population with increased chronic conditions and persisting challenges in patient safety underscore the urgent need for personalized care.

Concurrently, health and care inequities are expanding. Compounding these issues, a staggering 97% of healthcare data, doubling every two years, remains unused due to being trapped in unstructured formats.

Furthermore, the healthcare sector faces a soaring 60% year-over-year increase in cyberattacks, making the adoption of cloud-enabled advanced services imperative. Recognizing these complexities, the integration of cloud technologies becomes a pivotal cornerstone in crafting sustainable healthcare strategies and fortifying resilient healthcare systems to address the multifaceted challenges faced by the industry.

At AWS, we’re dedicated to empowering healthcare organizations for quality, equitable care,” says Myriam. Her role involves guiding clients and partners in leveraging AWS cloud solutions to solve for some of the bigger healthcare business challenges. “I focus on innovation, Generative AI and continuous improvement methods,” she adds. Myriam emphasizes championing AWS services to elevate the human condition.

For her, it’s a day-to-day responsibility to ensure that technology aligns with healthcare goals. “We’re not just cloud providers—we’re enablers of positive change in healthcare,” Myriam asserts, highlighting the commitment to making a lasting impact. It’s a journey driven by a shared vision—leveraging AWS for transformative, person-centric healthcare, ultimately improving lives across the globe.

Navigating the Nexus

As a clinically grounded Ph.D. nurse venturing into the intersection of healthcare and IT, Myriam recalls her transformative journey. “Starting in healthcare and IT opened a completely new world for me—I had a lot to learn,” she reflects. One standout project was her hands-on involvement in the groundbreaking implementation of an EMR in a Spanish hospital. “We took a ‘big bang’ approach, going fully paperless in less than fourteen months,” she shares. The hospital achieved the HIMSS stage 7 and Davies Award—being the first hospital outside of the US to achieve this recognition just four years later.

Challenge is good—it helps you grow, learn and get out of your comfort zone,” Myriam advocates. For her, challenges bring great opportunities, and she emphasizes the importance of embracing them and surrounding oneself with talent and passion while also investing time with the team and stakeholders. “One of the best lessons I learned is that shared passion is a key to success,” she notes.

Working with remarkable leaders, the project’s success hinged on the team’s shared goal—in improving patient outcomes for the served population. Myriam’s journey exemplifies the power of embracing challenges, continuous learning and collaborative passion in reshaping healthcare.

Measuring Success

Myriam is a staunch advocate for technology as a catalyst for change and she emphasizes a shift in Digital Transformation strategies. “Traditionally, these projects have been IT-centric, but for true transformation, they must become strategic, clinically led and IT-enabled,” she asserts. The key lies in viewing them not as isolated ‘projects’ but as interconnected initiatives contributing to a greater whole across departments.

She challenges the notion of a project’s finite nature, stating, “Innovation should never stop—as is driven by human creativity and problem solving.” Myriam underlines the importance of articulating the problem, defining success metrics and rigorously measuring outcomes. “Agreeing on outcomes and making them a north star is key to facilitating change,” she insists.

For her, technology-driven change requires continuous improvement and a well-managed transformation. Without the management of this change, improvement will not be seen, Myriam reinforces. Her perspective underscores the evolving landscape of Digital Transformation, urging organizations to adopt a holistic approach, sustain innovation and meticulously measure progress for enduring positive outcomes.

Investing Time, Fostering Trust

Myriam is a proponent of fostering a culture of innovation where she highlights the challenge of change and the essential investment of leaders’ time. “This is the difference between being a manager or being a leader,” she stresses. Leadership, for her, transcends formal roles, “You don’t need to have a team to be a leader, you don´t need to have a reporting structure to influence the teams around you.”

Understanding the motivations of colleagues, investing time in personal connections and balancing a steadfast vision with flexible details are crucial. Myriam emphasizes supporting individuals beyond professional roles creating a secure environment built on trust. “Building high-performing teams requires leading by example,” she affirms, encouraging and challenging all team members, peers and leaders to follow suit. In her view, investing time, understanding motivations and fostering trust are pivotal steps in cultivating a culture of innovation within any organization.

Strategic Transparency

Myriam, when aligning with Amazon’s customer-centric ethos, asserts, “We aim to be earth’s most customer-centric company and our commitment is to make our customers’ lives easier.” Customer obsession is a core leadership principle that is incorporated into the day-to-day operations, and was a significant motivator in her decision to join AWS.

She underscores the importance of understanding client needs before bringing solutions to the market. “Start by understanding what the client needs instead and work backward from there,” Myriam advises. This approach, coupled with long-term thinking, another leadership principle, may mean foregoing short-term sales. She notes, “You might ‘lose a sale’ in the short term, but earning the trust of the customer is key in their overall journey.”

Myriam emphasizes transparency and recognizing when what’s offered may not align with immediate customer needs. In her view, this integrity pays off in the long term, establishing trust and positioning the company as an indispensable element in the customer’s journey where opportunities naturally unfold.

Personalized Care, Global Impact

Myriam was born and raised in Spain she explains as she shares her journey, “I was privileged to spend a beautiful 9 years in the US and the decision to come back to Spain was totally personal. I had EMEA responsibility before. It certainly felt like coming back home.”

Her extensive international experience becomes a lens through which she navigates healthcare challenges. “My broad international experience has helped me understand different nuances on how developed countries are facing and responding to similar challenges,” she observes. Myriam is fascinated by the diversity of healthcare across countries, highlighting the unique nuances shaping each organization.

Excitement emanates from the evolving landscape in the EMEA region. “Key leaders are becoming more familiar with the capabilities of advanced cloud-enabled services,” Myriam notes. The region, showcasing top performers is witnessing a surge in the demand for innovation. “The ability to chair the strategy with key leaders that want to disrupt the status quo in their desire to improve healthcare and guide them to leverage the breadth and depth of AWS is something that makes me very excited,” she expresses. Myriam’s journey reflects a personal connection with her roots, a global perspective and an enthusiasm for driving positive change in healthcare across diverse landscapes.

Empathy, Compassion and Passion

In today’s fast-paced, digitally enabled environment, Myriam reflects, “We are getting accustomed to getting anything we need fast and at our fingertips.” Amid our job-focused lives, she reminds everyone that all individuals have unique circumstances, challenges and emotions. Drawing from her nursing experience, she emphasizes, “Empathy and compassion are a skill set that the best leaders exhibit.”

Myriam underscores the significance of active listening and empathy in business, noting that these skills can make a difference in helping someone overcome a difficult day. “In business, this is no differentinvesting in developing these capabilities can be the difference,” she asserts.

Passion plays a pivotal role in her daily life. “Loving what you do and doing it with passion has a huge impact on happiness,” Myriam observes. This passion not only influences personal satisfaction but also radiates to those around you. She believes in integrating integrity into every aspect of one’s career to build trust. Furthermore, decisiveness is crucial for progress. Myriam draws a parallel with her nursing background, stating, “Making a quick informed decision can save someone’s life.”

Myriam’s insights encapsulate the essence of balancing the demands of a fast-paced world with the human elements that define us. In her perspective, empathy, compassion, passion, integrity, and decisiveness form a powerful combination that not only enhances professional success but also contributes to a fulfilling and impactful life.

Partnering with Purpose

Myriam believes that fostering collaboration in partnerships aligns with key business principles. She emphasizes, “Starting with empathy and active listening, to build partnerships with other industry leaders, you need to understand their needs and work backwards.” In her daily work, these principles come to life as AWS engages with over 100,000 partners from 150+ countries.

Myriam witnesses the impact firsthand as the world’s most innovative startups, successful ventures and disruptive forces build their foundations on AWS. The approach of empathy and understanding proves essential in creating meaningful collaborations and partnerships across diverse industries and global landscapes.

Innovation, Security and Data

At AWS, we enable access and delivery of person-centered healthcare, driving improved outcomes at a lower cost by accelerating the digitization and utilization of healthcare & life sciences data,” says Myriam. In the regulated healthcare industry, meeting consumer expectations requires innovation and data potential unlocking, all while prioritizing security and privacy.

Myriam emphasizes AWS’s commitment to delivering the broadest and deepest portfolio of cloud services, industry-specific solutions and a robust partner network. Security is paramount, as she states, “Security is our job zero.”

AWS boasts the most advanced services and top experts in safety, regulatory compliance and privacy. Collaboration with healthcare leaders underscores a dedicated effort to drive innovation, enhance outcomes and ensure the secure and private handling of health information in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Multilingual Mastery

My native language, Spanish, opened doors to work and interact not only in Spain but also in Latin America,” says Myriam. She highlights the value of English which enables informed conversations globally leading to her relocation to the USA in 2013, where she spent nine years.

Myriam sees multilingualism as an act of bravery facilitating frank conversations and deeper cultural understanding. “Speaking more than one language allows you to capture more closely side conversations,” she notes, emphasizing the significance even if the pronunciation isn’t perfect. Learning French further enhanced her interactions with leaders in France, a country she loves.

Myriam expresses a desire to continue developing proficiency in additional languages recognizing the enrichment it brings to personal and professional connections across diverse cultures and nations. This underscores the universal appreciation for those who embrace and bridge linguistic and cultural differences in the global landscape.

Unlocking Success in Healthcare

Myriam offers valuable advice, “Spend time understanding the problem you are trying to solve before jumping to a solution.” She emphasizes the importance of clarity and scalability in assessing the benefits. “Once you have clearly articulated the opportunity to innovate, open doors and don’t be afraid to try, iterate, learn,” she encourages.

Using AWS as an example, Myriam explains how they work to support healthcare startups. The AWS Healthcare and Life Sciences Startup team is dedicated to accelerating time-to-market, overcoming technical and regulatory challenges as well as fostering scalability for startups in the healthcare industry.

Myriam’s advice is to embrace collaboration, echoing something that is often said on her team, “Work hard, have fun, make history, and save lives.” Her insights highlight the significance of a thoughtful approach to problem-solving, innovation and the potential for startups to make a lasting impact in the healthcare sector with the right support and mindset.