Governor Deval L. Patrick
eHealth Roundtable
Parliament Members Building, Tokyo
Tuesday, December 11, 2013

 Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for gathering this morning to discuss e-health.  Of course, what we are really here to do is to collaborate on ways to improve the quality of care and also lower costs.  That is a challenge both at home and here in Japan, and I am delighted that we have so much talent in the room and on the telephone to help us both find solutions.  Many thanks indeed to the Institute for hosting this discussion today.

Japan is important to Massachusetts.

Japan is one of our most important trading partners, with billions of dollars in trade.  Over 130 Japanese companies in Massachusetts employ over 10,000 people and 13,000 Japanese nationals make Massachusetts their home.

We are culturally connected as well, through our universities, through art and music (especially the Boston Symphony and the Museum of Fine Arts) and, of course, through our beloved Boston Red Sox.

We share an emphasis on innovation as a strategy for economic growth as well.  Indeed, our strategy for growth, similar to the third of Prime Minister Abe's three arrows, is about investing in education, innovation and infrastructure. 

We invest in education because, with over 300 universities, research institutions and teaching hospitals within a 90-minute drive of downtown Boston, brainpower is our most abundant resource.

We invest in innovation because enabling and encouraging industries that depend on brainpower is the best way for Massachusetts to take advantage of the knowledge explosion happening in the world economy today.

And finally we invest in infrastructure because a modern public infrastructure is a platform for private sector investment and personal ambition.

This has been a successful strategy in Massachusetts on a whole host of measures.  In addition to strong economic growth, we are first in America in student achievement, entrepreneurial activity, economic competitiveness, health care coverage, energy efficiency, life sciences and biotech, and much more.  Our budgets are also balanced and on time, our bond rating is the highest in our history and our rainy day fund in one of the largest in the country.  

The many innovations that come under the umbrella of eHealth have been important parts of that strategy.  I'll just say a word or two about why I believe this is so, then defer to the industry experts to paint a more detailed picture.

In Massachusetts, we are fortunate to have a highly skilled technology talent pool, a density of extraordinary medical facilities, and an equally renowned cluster of research and educational institutions.  That combination of strengths gives us an edge in technology, both on the research and the commercial side.  I think it is one of the reasons we have far surpassed California (by some 30 percent) in the amount of IT investments per capita.

At the same time, health care costs, in Massachusetts and throughout the country, are high.  Many of the reasons have to do with historical factors, including how we deliver health care.  We knew we needed to start thinking of new models and that technology would be part of the solution.

So, through public-private partnerships, we launched the Massachusetts eHealth Institute to expand adoption of health technologies that improve the safety, quality and efficiency of health care.  That institute is supporting growth of private eHealth firms in Massachusetts. 

Today,  we have the leading eHealth economy in the United States.  Fourteen of the top 100 Healthcare Informatics companies in the US are headquartered in Massachusetts, far more than any other state.

We care about eHealth because in Massachusetts we believe that health care is a public good and everyone deserves access to affordable, quality care.  eHealth is critical to getting us there.  I am proud of our leadership, but there’s much more we can accomplish by working together.  That is why we are here today.

Indeed, an important final part of our strategy is to look out, not just in.  The doors of Massachusetts open to the world, and we are eager both to strengthen existing global relationships and to build new ones.  With the world in the midst of a knowledge explosion, capital more globalized than ever and talent trying to be as well, it is important for us to collaborate with innovators, inventors and investors outside of Massachusetts.

So, we have come to Japan and to the Institute today in that spirit.  Thank you again for being here, and for the very warm welcome.  I look forward to working together.