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On Thursday, January 7th, 2016, Governor Charlie Baker announced the establishment of a collaborative digital health initiative which will bring together public, private, academic, and healthcare leaders to build a stronger and more connected statewide digital health ecosystem.
The launch assembled industry leaders from the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP), state secretaries including Sec. Jay Ash of the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, and Sec. Marylou Sudders of the Executive Office of Health & Human Services, and healthcare leaders such as Boston Children's Hospital CEO Sandra Fenwick.
Directed by a strategy committee that will be composed of leaders across industry, academia, health care, and government, MeHI will work on cluster development activities designed to promote and support the sector. These efforts will include the development of a market access program designed to help digital health innovations in going to market faster, by building strategic connections between entrepreneurs and healthcare systems statewide.
Furthermore, MeHI will partner with state agencies to better capture the “big data” opportunity in the healthcare sector.
MeHI will also partner with MACP to support a "hub" for the industry in the City of Boston where digital health programming, learning sessions, and networking events will be held, with the aim of building a strong industry network for startups. Programming for this hub will be managed and operated by MassChallenge.
Driving technology transfer from the Commonwealth's research institutions is another way the initiative will promote digital health success stories. To help address this issue, MACP has led the creation of three standardized template agreements in licensing technology, and sponsored research in Digital Health Care, each accompanied by a user-friendly guide. The goal of the templates is to help academic researchers launch their innovations from the lab into the marketplace. These templates can help lower the barriers to the formation of new companies and provide all parties with a reputable template agreement for negotiations.
As an emerging industry cluster, digital health was identified as a key component of the Commonwealth’s economic development plan, which was signed by Governor Baker on December 23rd, 2015. The digital health market is emerging rapidly, and has the potential to impact the state's economic bottom line by creating jobs, attracting investment, and developing solutions that improve healthcare delivery and ultimately help contain healthcare costs.