Massachusetts kicks off State Digital Health Council

By Mike Miliard
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A new public-private partnership comprising more than 30 healthcare experts from Massachusetts will advise Governor Charlie Baker's administration on ways technology can help improve healthcare quality across the Commonwealth, reduce costs and increase job growth.

The council, an outgrowth of the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative announced earlier this year, draws on dozens of leaders from tech companies, providers, payers, medical devices manufacturers, life sciences, academia and government to help Baker position the Bay State to capitalize on a digital health market estimated to reach $32 billion over the next decade.

"For Massachusetts to become a national leader in digital health, we need to continue to build on the momentum our Digital Health Initiative has already produced," Baker said. "This council will collaborate to move past barriers in the healthcare industry and solve significant challenges to make advances in patient care, lower health care costs, and address public health crises, like the opioid epidemic."

Baker, a former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, convened the first meeting of the Digital Health Council at the Massachusetts General Hospital Museum of Medical History and Innovation earlier this month, focusing on strategies to help Massachusetts grow its efforts in electronic health records, consumer wearables, data analytics, telemedicine and more.

"The digital health industry presents an enormous economic development opportunity for the entire Commonwealth," said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito in a statement. "The industry is poised to create jobs across the Massachusetts through its impact on patient care in community hospitals, potential for advanced manufacturing applications, and for our innovation hubs that span from Springfield to Lowell, to Worcester and New Bedford."

The Council will be co-chaired by Katie Stebbins, assistant secretary of innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship at Massachusetts' Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, and Jeffrey Leiden, MD, CEO of Boston-based Vertex.

Other members of the council, which will meet at least four times per year, and will be supported by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech:

  • Jay Ash, secretary, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
  • Scott Bailey, managing director, MassChallenge
  • Jeff Bussgang, general partner, Flybridge Capital Partners
  • Andrew Dreyfus, CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
  • Sandra L. Fenwick, CEO, Boston Children's Hospital
  • Alan M. Garber, Provost, Harvard University
  • Atul Gawande, MD, executive director, Ariadne Labs at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Louis Gutierrez, executive director, Massachusetts Health Connector
  • John Halamka, MD, chief information officer, Beth Israel Deaconess System
  • Kerry Healey, president, Babson College
  • Colin Hill, Chairman, CEO, GNS Healthcare
  • Keith A. Hovan, CEO, Southcoast Health
  • Erin Jospe, MD, chief medical officer, PatientKeeper
  • Stephen Kraus, partner, Bessemer Venture Partners
  • Laurie Leshin, president, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Travis McCready, CEO, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
  • Alice Moore, undersecretary, Executive Office of Health and Human Services
  • Elizabeth G. Nabel, MD, president, Brigham and Women's Health Care
  • Ed Park, executive vice president & chief operating officer, athenahealth
  • Larry Renfro, CEO, Optum
  • Martin Arnold Schmidt, provost, MIT
  • Peter Sherlock, senior vice president, programs and technology, Center for National Security & director, MITRE Corporation
  • Justin Steinman, chief marketing officer, GE Healthcare Digital
  • Steven Strongwater, MD, CEO, Atrius Health
  • Laurance Stuntz, director, Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech
  • Marylou Sudders, secretary, Executive Office of Health and Human Services
  • Steven Tello, senior associate vice chancellor for entrepreneurship & economic development, UMass Lowell
  • David Torchiana, MD, CEO, Partners HealthCare
  • Joel Vengco, CIO, Baystate Health
  • Kate Walsh, CEO, Boston Medical Center
  • Rick Weisblatt, chief of innovation and strategy, Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare

"We at MACP are honored to have led this outstanding public-private partnership toward accelerating the growth of the digital healthcare industry in the Commonwealth and are excited about the future growth of this segment of the innovation economy as the state takes this initiative forward to the next stage," said Leiden in a statement.

This story originally appeared in Healthcare IT News.