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Massachusetts aims to get a leg up on health IT

January 7, 2016
by Julie Miller, Editor in Chief
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Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and local healthcare stakeholders today announced a new public-private partnership designed to accelerate digital healthcare in the state. Officials pointed to a variety of technologies including electronic health records, consumer wearable devices, care systems, payment management, big data analytics and telemedicine among others.

The effort will center around the establishment of an innovation hub for digital health startups, with the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech (MeHI) functioning as the state’s implementing agency.  Established in 2008 by the legislature, MeHI works to promote and accelerate the use of digital healthcare, such as electronic health records and health information exchange. 

Recently, MeHI awarded $1.3 million in grants to 25 behavioral health providers to advance their use of health information technology. The grantees, selected in two funding rounds, manage a total of 179 facilities in 64 cities and towns across Massachusetts.

 “Integration of behavioral healthcare and medical care is a key priority for the Commonwealth, and MeHI’s investment in EHRs for behavioral health providers will help them share information with other healthcare providers,” said Laurance Stuntz, Director of MeHI, the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech, in a statement.

In April 2015, MeHI made the first round of awards, granting $973,500 to 18 providers statewide. In the second round, completed late last year, seven additional providers received $363,000 in awards.