Massachusetts' Digital Health Initiative

The Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative, or Mass Digital Health, is a comprehensive public-private partnership working to establish Massachusetts as a leading ecosystem for digital health innovation, driving economic impact and improving healthcare costs and quality. 

As an emerging industry cluster, digital health was identified as a key component of the Commonwealth’s economic development plan, signed by Governor Baker on December 23rd, 2015. The digital health market is emerging rapidly, and has the potential to improve the state's economic bottom line by creating jobs, attracting investment, and developing solutions that improve healthcare delivery and ultimately help contain healthcare costs.

On Thursday, January 7th, 2016, Governor Charlie Baker announced the establishment of a collaborative digital health initiative which brings together public, private, academic, and healthcare leaders to build a stronger and more connected statewide digital health ecosystem. Read the press release from the launch of Mass Digital Health.

The launch assembled entrepreneurs, industry leaders from the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP), public officials including Sec. Jay Ash of the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, Sec. Marylou Sudders of the Executive Office of Health & Human Services, Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and healthcare leaders such as Boston Children's Hospital CEO Sandra Fenwick and Partners HealthCare CEO Dr. David Torchiana.

At that event, Governor Baker designated MassTech as the lead public agency to partner with industry and healthcare leaders on digital health cluster development activities designed to promote and support the sector. These efforts include the development of a marketplace program designed to help digital health innovations in going to market faster by building strategic connections between entrepreneurs and healthcare systems statewide. MassTech also partners with industry and state agencies to better capture the “big data” opportunity in the healthcare sector.  

Driving technology transfer from the Commonwealth's research institutions is another way the initiative promotes digital health entrepreneurial success. To help address this issue, MACP announced the creation of three standardized template agreements for licensing technology and sponsored research in digital health, each accompanied by a user-friendly guide. The goal of the templates is to help academic researchers translate their innovations from the lab into the market. These templates can help lower barriers to formation of new companies and provide all parties with a reputable template agreement for negotiations.

MassTech partnered with MACP and the City of Boston to support a "hub" for the industry where a digital health-specific startup program, learning sessions, and networking events can be held, with the aim of building a strong industry network for startups and strengthening the marketplace.  With investment and strategic support from both MassTech and industry, PULSE@MassChallenge launched in June of 2016.  To facilitate innovation in community care settings and ensure statewide partnership, MassTech also announced a grant investment into TechSpring, a digital innovation lab at Baystate Health in Springfield.

On November 22, 2016, Governor Charlie Baker Baker signed Executive Order #574 establishing the Massachusetts Digital Healthcare Council. The Council is co-chaired by Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, and Dr. Jeffrey Leiden, Chairman, President and CEO of Vertex and is charged with advising the Governor and MassTech on the strategic priorities of the Mass Digital Health Initiative. 

On June 13, 2017, PULSE@ MassChallenge concluded its first startup program, naming five winners from among the 30 high-potential digital health startups that participated in the program.  The event featured a keynote from Governor Charlie Baker where he announced that MassTech would provide a second year of grant funding and strategic support to both PULSE@ MassChallenge and TechSpring. 

Through Mass Digital Health, entrepreneurs, healthcare organizations, government, and industry are working together to drive smart and secure healthcare data, a more connected statewide digital health ecosystem, and a more accessible and transparent digital health marketplace.  You can use this website to find Digital Health companiesindustry resources, or events from around the Commonwealth.