Digital health is a prospering industry with tremendous potential to revolutionize healthcare delivery and reduce cost across the Commonwealth and beyond. With more than 350 digital health companies, a robust pool of investors, and unparalleled healthcare providers, universities, and research institutions, Massachusetts is positioned as a world leader in healthtech. The first step in this revolution, before innovations in healthcare can be implemented, is creating strong health policy to facilitate and drive it. Under the leadership of Governor Charlie Baker, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is revolutionizing health policy in government and through work at our universities.
Governor Charlie Baker
Massachusetts, guided by Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012 (the state’s landmark cost containment law), continuously aims to improve health and decrease cost. In 2016, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker established a Digital Health Council through Executive Order 585 with one goal in mind: make the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the best place in the world to start and grow a digital health company.
A bold leader with a revolutionary vision for the future of health policy, Governor Baker is taking steps towards achieving this goal through the work of the Massachusetts Digital Healthcare Council and the broader Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative. This Council serves to further Massachusetts’ continuing health policy innovations, connecting experts with state agencies to accelerate this initiative.
The Governor also signed Executive Order 576, which established Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts, an effort which led Massachusetts to become the 2nd state in the nation to enroll in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities and the first to establish a comprehensive plan to become an age friendly state. Under the Aging initiative, the state also partnered on the launch of the ‘In Good Company: Optimal Aging Challenge’ with GE Healthcare, a program that received 66 submissions from innovative teams around the globe.
Through all of these efforts, innovation is being fostered across the Commonwealth’s leading healthcare ecosystem.
The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC), established in 2012 by Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012, is the first independent state agency in the nation charged with monitoring health care spending growth and providing data-driven policy recommendations regarding health care delivery and payment system reform. Led by Executive Director David Seltz, the HPC’s mission is to advance a more transparent, accountable, and innovative health care system through independent policy leadership and innovative investment programs. The HPC’s goal is better health and better care – at a lower cost – across the Commonwealth. And this mission is being achieved, with Massachusetts, one of the highest cost per capita states in 2012, having consistently shown slower average healthcare cost growth than in the rest of the country.
A major initiative of the HPC is the Health Care Innovation Investment (HCII) program. The HCII program invests over $11 million in innovative projects that aim to improve health and drive down cost. Through this competitive investment program, the Health Policy Commission has supported revolutionary healthcare transformation throughout the Commonwealth. Following in the footsteps of the HCII Program’s success, The SHIFT Care Challenge, a $10 million grant opportunity, was built to foster healthcare delivery innovation that transforms health to a patient-centric model that drives down unnecessary costs.
Massachusetts is a hub for universities and research institutions, priming it to be a global leader in facilitating and delivering high quality research and education with real-world impact. Boston University’s Institute for Health System and Policy Innovation is a major collaboration that unites the university’s resources to address healthcare challenges in Boston, across Massachusetts, and around the world. This multi-dimensional institute drives innovation through interdisciplinary research that promotes the generation, incubation, facilitation, development, and cross-linking of ideas. By placing a high value on diverse industry representation, the institute revolutionizes health policy by identifying immediately relevant healthcare delivery problems and developing the disruptive technologies that solve them.
Current projects address healthcare throughout the lifespan, from youth through end of life care. Through these projects, researchers are developing and carrying out research to support the development of evidence-based health policy initiatives. With a focus on quantitative data and a strong foundation in research, the IHSPI is gaining perspective and building a health system model that brings high quality care in a more cost-effective way.
Through the support of and advocacy from local government agencies and leaders, health policy innovation is given a platform to grow and revolutionize health systems and healthcare delivery. Massachusetts provides that platform and is leading health policy innovations that impact Boston, the Commonwealth, the U.S., and beyond.
To stay up to date on Massachusetts’ relevant policy articles, announcements, and reports, check out our healthcare policy resources!