Representatives from companies that are developing new products to improve healthcare joined leaders from Baystate Health, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and elected officials recently to celebrate the opening of TechSpring. TechSpring is Baystate Health’s technology innovation center based in Springfield’s emerging Innovation District. It will match private enterprises with partners and expertise from Baystate to take on some of healthcare’s most difficult challenges.
Investing in health advances
TechSpring owes its existence in large part to a $5.5 million grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, an investment agency charged with implementing Governor Patrick’s ten year, $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative that supports life sciences innovation, research, development and commercialization.
"Through investments in education, innovation and infrastructure, Massachusetts has become the global leader in life sciences," said Governor Deval Patrick. "We have made investments across the whole state in order to ensure that all Massachusetts residents can participate in life sciences innovation and growth. I look forward to seeing TechSpring help foster innovation, job growth and economic activity in Springfield and beyond."
TechSpring, which is housed at 1350 Main St. in downtown Springfield, is already hosting work between Baystate and private-industry partners to create new technology solutions and products that could be used to improve health outcomes. TechSpring’s founding sponsors and innovation partners are IBM, Premier Inc., Cerner Corp., Dell, Medecision, and Mainline Information Systems. All are engaging in collaborative work and product development in the new space.
"In this space, my colleagues and their industry partners are putting information technology to work in service of better health outcomes for people here in our community and across the nation," said Dr. Mark A. Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health. "They’re also working toward bringing opportunity—a real potential for better economic health—for our city and our community. We’re very proud to be here downtown, and we’re proud of the partnerships on display, with industry, with academia and with government."
"In line with Governor Patrick’s vision, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center has made capital investments literally from Cape Cod to the Berkshires," said Massachusetts Secretary of Housing & Economic Development Greg Bialecki. "The investment in TechSpring will help Springfield to benefit from the growth opportunities in our innovation economy."
A shared space
TechSpring offers partners flexible space to work and the ability to collaborate directly with care providers from Baystate Health on their projects, assessing the needs to be met in today’s healthcare environment, and testing potential responses to those needs. Developers can safely and securely pilot software and device technologies in a real-world healthcare environment to determine if their solutions are likely to succeed.
Within its 10,000-square-foot downtown Springfield facility, TechSpring also offers co-working, office and event space in flexible month-to-month memberships for anybody working at the intersection of technology and healthcare. Interested parties should sign up for a tour at techspringhealth.org.
"Baystate Health is defining what a next-generation health system could look like with new models for innovation such as TechSpring," said Keith J. Figlioli, senior vice president of healthcare informatics at Premier and member of the Office of the National Coordinator’s Health IT Standards Committee. "Premier is proud to be a part of the vital collaboration that TechSpring is driving as we move toward valued-based healthcare. Crowdsourcing and more advanced approaches are essential to bringing the best ideas from the brightest minds to reality more quickly, and spreading them across our industry."
Baystate Health recently selected Premier, based in Charlotte, N.C., to support TechSpring by integrating payer, provider and other healthcare data from participating innovators within a structured collaborative environment. Using Premier’s integrated business intelligence platform PremierConnect® Enterprise, innovators can easily access and manipulate data for testing and scaling new HIT solutions.
CarePort Health, based in Boston, is another innovation partner. CarePort enables providers to optimize post-acute outcomes and costs by guiding patients across the care continuum and tracking their recovery in real-time. It has been implemented in leading health systems, physician groups, accountable care organizations and post-acute providers.
"The strong culture of innovation was what first attracted us to Baystate,” said Dr. Lissy Hu, co-founder and CEO of CarePort. “The creation of TechSpring further demonstrates Baystate’s commitment to improving healthcare delivery and willingness to share its resources with young companies who are tackling healthcare's most pressing problems. We are excited to continue working with the Baystate Health system to improve post-acute outcomes."
"Through our capital program the MLSC has invested more than $300 million across the entire Commonwealth to create resources that strengthen regional capacity for life sciences innovation." Susan Windham-Bannister said. "The TechSpring facility will be a unique resource that leverages the strengths of Baystate Health, and fosters collaboration with industry in developing new life sciences and health technologies."
"The use of data has long played a key role in influencing our care for individuals; now, we’re really recognizing its potential to improve the quality of care for populations of people," said Dr. Evan Benjamin, senior vice president for Healthcare Quality and Population Health at Baystate Health. “The work being done at TechSpring has the potential to make major contributions to our understanding of the best approach to caring for chronic conditions that affect communities here in western Massachusetts, across the country and the world.”
"IBM and Mainline Information Systems are proud to be a core partner sponsor of TechSpring, the Baystate Innovation Center. Not only will Mainline provide operational funding and technical resources to help run and man the Innovation Center but also to develop key use-cases, IP and Analytics which will inevitably lower cost and increase patient outcomes," said Dave Lasseter, Mainline vice president. "The healthcare solutions developed in the Center will allow Baystate, IBM and Mainline to show how other hospitals and healthcare systems can benefit from the use of Big Data and analytics to improve quality of care, control costs and deliver critical reports needed to improve patient care. The goal is to eventually offer cloud- based solutions for smaller regional hospitals and clinics that can't afford such technology and infrastructure overhead."
Mainline, based in Tallahassee, Fla., recommends, designs, and supports IT solutions that help businesses increase their effectiveness.
Amid the large-scale transition to accountable and value-based care, Medecision is the leading provider of population health and connected care technology, and services for organizations including health plans, hospitals, thousands of physicians and millions of consumers. Medecision is based in Dallas, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
"Medecision is thrilled to be a founding sponsor of TechSpring," said Deb Gage, president and chief executive officer at Medecision. "As care management and care collaboration become more of the standard in patient-centered care, we are looking forward to accelerating the discovery of such population health innovations at TechSpring."
A great location
TechSpring’s location in Springfield’s downtown Innovation District provides participants the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with other innovators working in close proximity.
"Being part of the innovation ecosystem that’s developing in downtown Springfield was a major incentive for us in locating here," said Joel L. Vengco, Baystate Health’s Vice President of Information & Technology and Chief Information Officer. "There is very real potential and a strong foundation in our community for real progress in creating employment and economic opportunities in the areas of healthcare technology and informatics. The fact that these innovators and companies have come here to invest time and resources is a testament to the potential here, and we’re thrilled to be part of it."