The digital health, or eHealth, industry represents a $32 billion market opportunity over the next decade. The sector spans a variety of technologies including health records, consumer wearable devices, care systems, payment management, big data analytics and telemedicine.

Government agency officials are picking up the value of eHealth and are launching plans to integrate technology in all aspects of public health.

3 States Innovating Public Healthcare with Technology

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing is setting up “The Colorado Framework” to create a system of clinical and public health-based efforts to spur innovations. The State Innovation Model will create a statewide transformation program by joining a $65 million cooperative agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Department officials want the innovations to transform public health in four ways:

  • Integrate care services in coordinated community systems
  • Create value-based payment structures
  • Expand health IT, such as telehealth
  • Complete the statewide plan to improve healthcare

Onvia’s database shows that Colorado’s state agency released a request for information from technology vendors in 2015 to help set up their Innovation Model.

Along with Colorado, numerous state agencies are intrigued by the possibilities of technology innovations.

The Maryland Health Care Commission intends to work with the Center for Health Information Technology to incorporate more healthcare technology with the adoption of electronic health records, a health information exchange (HIE) and expanding telemedicine. The center is working to implement a statewide HIE and then synchronize HIE efforts throughout the state.

The California Health Care Foundation wants to establish a pilot program for a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) registry, like the State of Oregon created several years ago. The registry would provide emergency responders and other medical professionals with patients’ data. It would interface with medical and public health information systems, such as the California death registry.

State Leaders Look for Help to Implement Healthcare Innovations

As much as innovation is important, states have to draw in technology innovators to help them start implementation processes.

A new initiative from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is expected to build a more connected statewide digital health ecosystem, Healthcare Informatics reported after Baker’s announcement in January 2016.

This emerging industry cluster has the potential to become a powerful driver of job creation across the Commonwealth, while also unlocking new advances in improving patient care and lowering health care costs.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker

The initiative will provide space, programming and strong industry network for digital health startups and Boston will serve as a “hub” for the states eHealth industry. The Commonwealth is bringing together stakeholders across state government, healthcare and the technology sectors in a public-private partnership to stimulate the state’s health IT sector. The City of Boston, Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech (MeHI) and Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP) are heading up the challenge.

Data and technology are powerful tools in our goal to improve healthcare outcomes.

Marylou Sudders, Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services

Like Massachusetts, New York City wants to bridge the gap between technology innovators and the city’s healthcare consumers. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCED) plans to launch a new phase of its two-year-old pilot program. The NYCEDC wants to shift the Pilot Health Tech NYC 2.0, which is currently a competition, and turn it into a marketplace.

As identified by Onvia, a 2015 solicitation from NYCEDC describes the Health Tech NYC 2.0 project as one that “will establish the City as the preeminent destination for those seeking technologies to improve patient care or lower its cost and make it easier for the City’s businesses and healthcare institutions to conduct business and create jobs.”

NYCEDC wants a vendor to help them increase conferences to match technology companies with potential clients, such as hospitals, clinics and community organizations. Work also includes handling a funding program that awards matching funds to defray the cost between companies and clients of healthcare technology pilot projects.

The infusion of technology into public healthcare is pushing the public sector seek more partnerships with private sector vendors to help put eHealth innovations into action. Government agencies not only need the leadership to help advocate for innovation in public healthcare but are also seeking out businesses to help match agencies with the right technology vendors.