Executive Order

Executive Order No. 574: Establishing the Massachusetts Digital Healthcare Council

Date: 11/17/2016
Issuer: Governor Charlie Baker

WHEREAS, the digital healthcare industry is a rapidly growing industry with the potential to significantly improve healthcare delivery and contain costs;

WHEREAS, Massachusetts’s strong base of established and startup healthcare companies, robust investment community, high rate of use of electronic health records, and unparalleled healthcare providers, universities, and research institutions uniquely position the Commonwealth to lead in the growth of the worldwide digital healthcare industry;

WHEREAS, private sector innovators, leaders and mentors are partnering with institutional researchers to create the nation’s top innovation economy, and a globally-leading life sciences sector;

WHEREAS, as a result, vibrant digital healthcare innovation hubs are already emerging in Boston, Worcester, and Springfield;

WHEREAS, Massachusetts can best capitalize on its resources and position by convening stakeholders, participants, and experts in the digital healthcare industry to determine the best means for the state to support the industry in Massachusetts; and

WHEREAS, targeted support of the digital healthcare industry can bring new jobs and investment, improved healthcare outcomes, and reduced costs to the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, working together, we can set and achieve the goal of creating the leading global ecosystem for the digital healthcare industry here in Massachusetts;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Charles D. Baker, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution, Part 2, c. 2, § 1, Art. 1, do hereby order as follows:

Section 1.  There is hereby established within the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development a Massachusetts Digital Healthcare Council (the “Council”) to advise the Governor regarding the digital healthcare industry and to develop a growth plan to achieve the goal of creating the leading global ecosystem for the digital healthcare industry in Massachusetts.

Section 2.  The Council shall be co-chaired by the Assistant Secretary of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship and a second member of the council designated by the Governor.  The Council shall also include the Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services or her designee, Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development, and no fewer than fifteen or more than forty persons who shall be appointed by the Governor and serve at the pleasure of the Governor.  Appointed council members shall include representatives of the diverse groups participating in the digital healthcare industry, including providers, payers, investors, universities, and quasi-public agencies supporting the science and technology sectors of the Massachusetts economy.

Section 3.  The Council’s primary responsibility shall be to deliver to the Governor, by August 15, 2017, a three-year growth plan that will make recommendations and establish clear objectives for the state to promote and accelerate digital healthcare innovation across the Commonwealth. In formulating this plan, the Council shall consider and address:

  1. The resources and strategies needed to help early, mid-stage, and scaling digital healthcare companies grow and compete;
  2. Opportunities to help the digital healthcare marketplace build better connections among digital healthcare customers and innovators, helping bring new ideas to market;
  3. The alignment between the policies, programs, and resources of the Commonwealth and the workforce needs of the industry;
  4. The strengths of different regions in the Commonwealth, and how the industry can continue to thrive and offer benefits across the entire state;
  5. Opportunities for the Commonwealth, as a payer and customer of healthcare innovation, to harness the benefits of digital healthcare;
  6. Strategies for Massachusetts to capitalize on the benefits of cross-sector collaboration in digital health, to ensure global leadership which benefits from advances in data analytics and cybersecurity;
  7. Potential changes to laws, policies and regulations in order to support digital healthcare innovation; and
  8. Opportunities to publicize and promote the digital healthcare sector and the Commonwealth’s unique resources.

The Council shall also establish and support programs and projects in order to implement the growth plan, and produce annually on the date of the signing of this executive order a written report that describes the Council’s activities and progress towards its objectives.

Section 4.  The Council shall establish a Strategy Steering Committee consisting of not more than sixteen Council members designated by the Co-Chairs.  The Strategy Steering Committee shall meet as often as required until the growth plan is delivered to the Governor and may continue to meet as necessary thereafter.  The Council shall meet at least four times annually.  The Council may establish such additional committees and working groups as are necessary and appropriate to carry out its duties and responsibilities.

Section 5.  The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development shall provide staff support for the Council and shall seek additional staff support from the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

Section 6.  The Council, its committees, and its working groups are empowered to hold public meetings, fact-finding hearings, and other public forums to solicit feedback from business leaders, researchers, healthcare providers, healthcare consumers, and other interested persons. The Council shall consider information received from these sources in the development of its recommendations.

Section 7.  The Council shall terminate four years after the signing of this order.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 17th day of November in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen and of the Independence of the United States of America two hundred forty-one.

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