February 27, 2019

MassBio report gives tips to state's digital health industry

Photo/Grant Welker
UMass Medical School has contributed to a digital health market in Massachusetts that's considered one of the nation's best. A new report gives pointers for building off that success.

Massachusetts already has a strong digital health market, with many top colleges and hospitals and top brands like PillPack and Wellframe. A new report gives industry leaders pointers for how the state can gain more ground.

A study by professional services giant Deloitte for the trade group Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, known as MassBio, says the state can be the best place in the country for digital health if it improves access to patients and data, and develops a workforce able to solve healthcare challenges through digital technologies.

The report, which MassBio released Wednesday, recommends a closer coordination between the state's digital health entrepreneurial and investor worlds. Deloitte's study found Massachusetts' top schools, including medical schools, bring a major source of industry talent but much of the field leaves to work in other states.

"Done right," the report says, "we believe this collective plan will reinforce Massachusetts' global leadership position in the life sciences and benefit patients worldwide."

MassBio said it will start a new initiative for digital health to support entrepreneurs in the field and to advocate for government and private support. State support could include a new digital health agency, job-creation incentives for the industry, and enabling MassHealth, the state's Medicaid system, to be a leading adapter and pilot program for digital health initiatives.

Digital health was defined in the report to include a broad array of businesses, including healthcare software, web-based applications and health diagnostic tools and even brick-and-mortar health clinics with new technologies.

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