In December 2018, a group of Massachusetts employers founded the Massachusetts Employer Health Coalition with the goal of using their collective influence to uncover solutions that can drive real change in the healthcare delivery system and reduce costs. In November 2019, the Coalition released strategies and actions that employers can take to help meet the Coalition’s goal of achieving healthcare cost savings for consumers, employers, and state government. The Massachusetts eHealth Institute at the MassTech Collaborative created this grant program to support the goals of the Coalition by offsetting the costs for Massachusetts digital health companies to pilot their products and services with Massachusetts employers. Through the grant program, MeHI hopes to reduce healthcare costs for Massachusetts employers and the Commonwealth as a whole, and to develop success stories for Massachusetts digital health companies.
In February 2021, MeHI announced grants totaling $189,360 to two Massachusetts digital health companies to support projects piloting their solutions with Massachusetts employers and quantifying their impact on their employer partner’s healthcare costs.
FitBit Health Solutions and UMass Memorial Health Care ($100,000)
Fitbit received a grant of $100,000 to collaborate and conduct a randomized controlled trial of Fitbit Premium™ and Health Coaching services with 600 UMass Memorial Health Care (UMMHC) employees to help prevent and manage cardiometabolic diseases. This includes empowering participants to improve physical activity, nutrition, sleep, and stress management. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive standard healthcare benefits and services offered by UMass Memorial, or those same benefits and services plus a Fitbit Inspire 2™ tracker or Versa 3™ smartwatch and the Fitbit Aria Air™ smart scale, along with access to Fitbit Premium and Fitbit Health Coaching services for a year. Fitbit Premium is a personalized resource in the Fitbit app that includes guided programs and advanced tools to help users reach their individual goals, and Fitbit Health Coaching includes in-app messaging, personalized guidance and a structured plan from a certified health coach. Health surveys, biometric screening, and claims data will be compared across the control and intervention groups to evaluate health improvements and healthcare cost savings.
The trial is projected to be completed in March of 2022.
Vincere Health and Boston Medical Center ($89,360)
The partnership of Vincere Health and Boston Medical Center (BMC) received a grant of $89,360 to conduct a pilot of Vincere’s smoking-cessation platform with a sample of BMC employees. Their technology uses a smartphone-connected remote monitoring solution to deliver real-time incentives to users in return for meeting their smoking and vaping cessation objectives and engaging with educational tools. Vincere’s project was able to launch without delay in the fall of 2020. Participants will be engaged in the pilot for at least four weeks.
The initial pilot period is projected to wrap up by April 2021 and Vincere will follow-up with pilot participants at six months and one year post-intervention to check recidivism rates.