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PHSA+ winner wishes he nominated his team instead

Johnny Tsai is a quintessential “servant leader” who prioritizes his team and clinical users to solve tricky tech problems. From huge projects to small changes, Johnny always does his best to help others. Learn about his work and help us say congrats!
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As a team lead with Information Management and Information Technology Services (IMITS) at PHSA, Johnny Tsai’s favourite part of the job is working with people using clinical systems to help them make a positive difference for patients.

Johnny and his team work on clinical applications and information systems, supporting everything from initial solution development and implementation through to transitions and sunsetting.

“I’ve always wanted to be a person who helps others,” said Johnny. “Regardless of the role, what’s most important to me is being able to contribute to others’ success.” 

When the PHSA+ Award call for nominations asked, “Are you inspired by someone you work with?” Johnny immediately came to mind for the team, said Rebecca Wong, a clinical application analyst who’s been working with Johnny for more than seven years. 

It was just weeks after they’d navigated a successful but challenging CST Cerner go-live in November 2019 at Providence Health Care, and the team wanted a chance to highlight Johnny’s remarkable dedication, determination and compassion. 

Innovating solutions with partnerships and purpose

Throughout his more than 12 years with PHSA, Johnny said he’s always felt energized the chance to have a positive impact on patients and care delivery. 

In his first job as a systems analyst at BC Children’s and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre, Johnny loved the opportunity work closely with front-end users and address clinical needs. As he moved into new roles – as a senior business analyst, solution architect and ultimately team lead - he’s always stayed focused on how technology can support patient care. 

For example, in a past role, Johnny and his team collaborated with vendors and users to move pager systems from analogue calls to an internet-based system. The switch cut the time for a pager to ring from five minutes down to one – crucial time-saving for patients in critical condition.

In another example, Johnny recognized that routine, required reports were slowing down a system database. By working with different teams and collaborating with experts, Johnny spearheaded an initiative to automate and accelerate the process. Reports that used to take minutes now render automatically in seconds. 

Most recently, Johnny and his team supported the transition of Providence Health Care’s patient clinical information system to CST Cerner, during the wave 1 go-live last fall.

Before the transition, Johnny made sure the legacy system, Sunrise Clinical Manager, continued to operate smoothly for users. The aging application constantly required creative fixes so it could continue to serve users before its eventual phase-out. 

When the time finally came to transition, the whole team was excited and relived, said Johnny. “The system was approaching the end of its life, and we had to make sure the users were fully supported through the transition. Being part of it all was thrilling and also nerve-wracking, and we were very happy when it went well.”

Achieving results through teamwork, respect and compassion

Johnny is emphatic that his team deserves full credit for all the successful projects he’s worked on. 

“Everyone on our team is important and helps us reach shared goals that we set together,” he explained. “They show commitment and dedication every day, and they’re truly responsible for these projects’ successes – I wish I’d nominated them for this award.” 

The appreciation is mutual. The team values both his effective work processes (Johnny is a fan of agile methods like scrums and stand-ups) and his accessible leadership style. 

While Johnny is hard-working and focused, he also loves activities like Halloween pumpkin carving and routinely shares ‘daddy stories’ about his experiences as a father of two, said Rebecca. When one team member was in the hospital, Johnny visited and supported the team to visit, so their co-worker on sick leave would know he wasn’t alone.

Working with Johnny, Rebecca said she’s learned many lessons, including to never give up, to see the big picture, and to celebrate successes and to show vulnerability at work – from worries and disappointments, to your happy and fun-loving side. 

“Johnny’s caring personality and strong work ethic keeps him focused and finishing tasks while still maintaining life balance both at work and at home,” said Rebecca. 

Before Johnny’s parental leave for his second son, the team had a baby shower for him requiring him to pass different testing station games like changing diapers, and doing CPR on a baby doll. 

Outside of work, Johnny loves to travel so he can experience new and different cultures and foods. Trips in the past several years have included Nepal, Dubai, Taiwan, Japan, and hiking in northern India. Johnny hoped to visit Hawaii this year for some rest and relaxation, but like many people, COVID-19 has put those plans on hold. 

Now, Johnny said he’s most excited to eventually get back into the office and see his team again after working remotely. 

“I believe deeply in my team, and the incredible things they can do when we work towards a shared vision together.” 

The PHSA+ Award program is managed by our Workplace Experience team, part of PHSA Human Resources. Workplace Experience also manages overall employee recognition programming including our Long Service Awards, e-cards, perks and a variety of other recognition efforts. For more information, contact

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