Look for the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative at BIO 2016!

Jun 02, 2016

Each year the BIO International Convention (BIO) draws over 15,000 biotechnology and pharma leaders from around the world for educational programs, networking events, and exhibitions focused on a wide array of life science and healthcare applications. The 2016 Convention, taking place in San Francisco’s Bay Area on June 6-9, will have a strong Massachusetts presence, including public and private sector leaders of the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative. The Massachusetts Pavilion, with its Lifecycle Massachusetts theme, will showcase the Commonwealth’s world-renowned innovation economy including daily announcements and programming featuring industry leaders and public partners from our world-class Medical Device, Biotechnology, Life Science, and Digital Health ecosystems.

MeHI, the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech, is the Commonwealth’s lead agency for the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative, a collaborative effort that has brought together public, private, academic, and healthcare leaders to build a stronger and more connected statewide digital health ecosystem. As first announced by Governor Charlie Baker on January 7th, MeHI is bolstering the Digital Health Initiative through cluster development activities designed to promote and support this rapidly emerging sector.  Working with industry partners like the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP) and MassBio, the Initiative is advancing a key component of the Commonwealth’s economic development plan, working to grow a sector with the tremendous potential to expand the state’s economy by creating jobs, attracting investment and developing solutions to improve healthcare delivery. 

At MeHI, we are working with partners on several key efforts:

Promoting the Cluster: massdigitalhealth.org connects interested parties virtually, with a directory of cluster participants, event listings, educational resources and research about digital health and its impact on healthcare cost and quality.  

Digital Health Hub: On June 1st, MeHI joined Governor Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and executives from MACP, MassChallenge, and Baystate Health’s TechSpring to announce the opening of a new digital healthcare lab, PULSE@MassChallenge. This innovative, startup-friendly space features 8,000 square feet of work space adjacent to Boston’s Longwood Medical Area, near world-class hospitals, centers for healthcare innovation, and technology startups that will provide entrepreneurs unprecedented access to incredible medical talent at world renowned institutions such as Boston Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Jocelyn Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School.

Managed by the globally-leading startup program MassChallenge, and featuring support from digital health experts from TechSpring, the Baystate Health Technology Innovation Center located in Western Mass, PULSE@MassChallenge will connect entrepreneurs with critical resources necessary to help them grow including access to private funding, mentors, and opportunities to engage and exchange ideas with other boundary-pushing innovators. Programming at the space, supported by a seed grant from MeHI along with private sources, will include a start‐up accelerator program, networking events, panel discussions, pitch contests and co‐working opportunities.

Marketplace Program: MeHI is working with partners to build a Marketplace Program to address three distinct challenges in the digital health sector:

  • Digital health entrepreneurs are not getting critical feedback from the healthcare community early on in the product development cycle;
  • Startups with finished products have problems finding healthcare settings where they can pilot, test, and refine their offerings; and
  • Providers are inundated with innovative products but have no mechanism for screening them.

The program will take a provider‐centric approach to solving this challenge, helping connect the needs and challenges of the Commonwealth’s academic medical centers, community hospitals, payers, and other providers, with the supply of innovative products and solutions coming out of Massachusetts.

Healthcare Data Initiative: MeHI is working to better capture the “big data” opportunity in the healthcare sector. The Healthcare Data Initiative will encourage stakeholders across the public and private sector to make more healthcare data available to a broader set of stakeholders, with the goal of driving increased innovation, growth, and healthcare efficiency.

As noted by Governor Baker, this effort is made stronger by the collaboration between the Commonwealth’s technology, healthcare, academic, and public sector organizations. We’re extremely proud of our world-class Digital Health Cluster, which is composed of over 250 companies, plus hundreds of other supporting and participating organizations.  For digital health startups looking to launch their product or established companies looking to grow, Massachusetts offers unique attributes that few other states can match: leading healthcare and technology experts, world-class R&D, top-tier universities, a continuous influx of talent from those universities and a statewide public/private partnership focused squarely on growing digital health.

MeHI is excited to join Secretary Jay Ash of the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, leaders from the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, and MassBIO at BIO 2016. The Commonwealth’s leaders will host a special announcement on the morning of Wednesday, June 8th at 10:30 a.m. in the Massachusetts Pavilion. If you cannot join us next week, keep up-to-date on the Digital Health Initiative and Cluster news, programming, and events by visiting MassDigitalHealth.org.  You can engage with us by registering your digital health organization in the Cluster Stakeholder Directory and follow us on Twitter too — @MassEHealth and #MassDigitalHealth. 


MassBio is hosting a new Forum series that  will feature industry leaders, policymakers, patients, providers and investors as they share their insights on the challenges and opportunities of digital healthcare. The series begins on Tuesday, June 21 with The Digital Healthcare Landscape. This Forum series is free for MassBio members and available to non-members for a fee.

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