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Industry Insight

Massachusetts Establishes Digital Healthcare Council

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has announced the creation of a Digital Healthcare Council, a comprehensive public-private partnership that will advise the administration on the future of the Commonwealth’s digital health care industry. The council stems from the momentum of the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative, launched in January 2016.

The council convenes leaders across the digital health care industry, including technology, health care delivery, insurance, medical devices, the life sciences, academia, and government, to advise on ways new digital technologies can improve health care in the Commonwealth, grow jobs, and reduce health care costs.

“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,” says Governor Baker. “This council will collaborate to move past barriers in the health care industry and solve significant challenges to make advances in patient care, lower health care costs, and address public health crises, like the opioid epidemic.”

Governor Baker recently convened the first meeting of the Digital Health Council at the Massachusetts General Hospital Museum of Medical History and Innovation. The session focused on strategies and tactics that can help Massachusetts grow innovative digital health technologies. The digital health market spans a number of technologies Massachusetts is an established leader in, including the life sciences, EHRs, consumer wearable devices, care systems, payment management, Big Data analytics, and telemedicine. The digital health market is estimated to grow to $32 billion over the next decade.

“The digital health industry presents an enormous economic development opportunity for the entire Commonwealth,” says Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “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 cochaired by Katie Stebbins, assistant secretary of innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship at the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, and Jeffrey Leiden, MD, PhD, chairman, president and CEO of Boston-based Vertex.

“The digital health care sector plays directly to our strengths in Massachusetts—from world-class hospitals, universities, and life sciences companies to significant concentrations of VC [venture capital] investment,” Leiden says. “We at MACP [Massachusetts Competitive Partnership] are honored to have led this outstanding public-private partnership toward accelerating the growth of the digital health care 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.”

The Massachusetts Digital Health Council 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.

— Source: Governor of Massachusetts


WEDI Honors HIT Industry Leaders Through Annual Awards

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) announced the winners of its annual awards program during WEDI-Con 2016 in Reston, Virginia.

“Our Board of Directors is incredibly thoughtful in determining the dynamic accomplishments of those within our association each year,” says Charles W. Stellar, president and CEO of WEDI. “We are grateful for each of these individual’s and organization’s dedicated contributions, tireless efforts, and unwavering commitment to advancing efficiency in health care through the use of information technology. We are pleased to have the opportunity to recognize the hard work at our conference annually.”

Andrew H. Melczer Award: Excellence in Volunteerism. This award recognizes an individual who has provided exemplary service by giving their time to the association and HIT industry activities on a national basis. The award aims to recognize the person whose business philosophy is to make the world a better place by sharing one’s time and talents and is named in memory of Andrew H. Melczer, who exemplified these characteristics through his volunteerism with WEDI. Robert Tennant, director of HIT policy at the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), is the 2016 recipient of the Melczer Award.

Chair’s Award. This award is presented at the discretion of WEDI’s chair to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment to the advancement of specific WEDI initiatives. The 2016 recipients of this award are Jim Daley, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina; Laurie Darst, Mayo Clinic; and Jay Eisenstock, Aetna.

Distinguished Service. This award recognizes individuals who have provided significant leadership to the fulfillment of the mission, objectives, programs, and overall volunteer activities of WEDI through participation in committees, workgroups, policy advisory groups, and the board of directors, among others. The 2016 recipients of this award are Tammy Banks, UnitedHealth Group; Laurie Burchkardt, WPS Health Solutions; Jay Eisenstock, Aetna; Tina Greene, Mitchell International, Inc; Pamela Grosze, PNC Bank; Kathy Jonzzon, Delta Dental Plans Association; Debbi Meisner, Change Healthcare; and Robert Tennant, MGMA.

Excellence in Health IT Award. Recognizing an individual’s or organization’s contribution to the advancement of HIT and eCommerce technology in health care, the 2016 Excellence in Health IT Award recipient is Florida Blue.

HIT Government Champion Award. This award recognizes exceptional government personnel who have supported policy that advances the HIT industry. The 2016 HIT Government Champion Award was presented to Lorraine Doo, senior policy advisor at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Doo has been an active ally of WEDI and has helped build government support on many new initiatives.

Louis W. Sullivan Award. Named in honor of WEDI founder and former Health and Human Services Secretary, The Honorable Louis W. Sullivan, MD, this award was first presented to Sullivan in 2001 and recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves through their leadership, vision, and achievements in advancing the overall quality and efficiency of health care. The 2016 Sullivan Award was presented to Shana Olshan, director of the National Standards Group for the Office of Enterprise Information at CMS.

Outstanding Corporate Leadership Award. This award is given to a company that has served as a strong champion of progress in the HIT industry through its continued commitment to WEDI’s sponsorship programs throughout the year. The 2016 awardee was Axiom Systems, an IT solutions firm providing an array of IT consulting services and products exclusively to the health care industry.

Outstanding Leadership Award. This award recognizes workgroup/taskforce or subworkgroup cochairs who have consistently contributed toward the growth, success, and impact their group has made on the industry. The 2016 recipients of this award are Adele Allison, DST Healthcare; Alison Armstrong, Anthem; Janice Bakos, Aetna; Rhonda Buckholtz, AAPC; Katie Johansen Taber, American Medical Association (AMA); Heather McComas, AMA; Jay Sultan, TriZetto; and Sherry Wilson, Jopari Solutions, Inc.

Volunteer Service. This certificate recognizes a leader in the making—someone who is making a real contribution and a real difference within WEDI. This award recognizes an individual who has actively supported the efforts of their workgroup, subworkgroup, or taskforce through his or her commitment, leadership, team play, and productivity. The 2016 recipients of this award are Mark Cone, N-Tegrity Solutions Group Consulting; Durwin Day, Health Care Service Corporation; Rachel Foerster, Rachel Foerster & Associates; Priscilla Holland, NACHA; and Gale Scott, Tampa General Hospital.

— Source: The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange