June is a perfect opportunity to showcase our USA – Massachusetts Digital Health Ecosystem as our Ecosystem of the Month. Adriana Díaz, Communities Manager, says: “The Massachusetts Digital Health Ecosystem was the very first US ecosystem to join our network in 2022. Their Sandbox Program designed to both support digital health companies in their product development and expand the user base for sandbox environments is key to their success and can be an inspiration for many other ecosystems.”
What is the approximate stakeholder breakdown of your ecosystem?
The Massachusetts Digital Health Ecosystem is organized under the Mass Digital Health Initiative, a public-sector led campaign to establish Massachusetts as the leading global ecosystem for digital health innovation. Through the Initiative our aim is to drive both economic impact and to improve healthcare costs and quality across our state. The Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) at the MassTech Collaborative is the lead public agency, executing activities to promote and support the ecosystem.
The ecosystem is driven by the diversity and strength of our ecosystem, including:
Who are the top 3 champions from your Ecosystem?
It’s tough to pick just one in Massachusetts! However, our world-class healthcare and academic partners across the state are a key driver of innovation in the state.
Our leading universities are turning out undergrads, graduate students, and medical doctors that have an innovative mindset and ideas for startups. These nascent companies are supported by a network of entrepreneurial minded organizations, both on campus and in Massachusetts overall, which help get these business ideas from the design stage and into the marketplace.
Another champion would be our venture capital and angel investment community, seasoned investors who identify and support these emerging companies.
What EU funding/collaboration are you involved with, or you would like to be part of?
Although MeHI is not currently involved with any EU collaborations, we are interested in exploring opportunities for our agency or stakeholders in our ecosystem to partner with similar EU organizations. We are open to collaborating on projects that mutually support startups in testing, validating, and piloting their solutions and that help introduce them to both the U.S. and European markets.
For those companies looking to put down roots in Massachusetts, to gain a foothold in the U.S. market, we can help provide connections to state programs and ecosystem partners to smooth that process.
What are the key priorities and themes for your ecosystem?
Recent focus areas for MeHI have included healthy aging, unpaid family caregiving and women’s health. Across all of these focus areas, we have included a lens of health equity, ensuring that we are supporting a diverse group of startups and that the companies we support are addressing issues of health equity and social determinants of health within their solutions.
What is your primary strength as an ecosystem?
Our primary strength is that Massachusetts is home to a variety of leading institutions across all aspects of the ecosystem, and Mass Digital Health has a unique capacity to convene them with a focus on shared goals. In bringing together startups, anchor companies, investors, health systems, payers, universities, Sandboxes, accelerators, and others, we can harness their individual strengths to be the leading hub for digital health innovation.
Who are your clinical champions, hospitals, clinicians, specialities?
We have a number of clinical champions within the Massachusetts Digital Health Sandbox Network, including the Brigham Digital Innovation Hub (iHub), Mass General Hospital Medical Device Plug-and-Play (MD PnP) Interoperability and Cybersecurity Program, and TechSpring @ Baystate Health. Additionally, there are other leaders spearheading innovation within a number of the other health systems across the state.