Mass. eHealth Institute Supports Digital Health Innovation Statewide

Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Source 
MeHI at the MassTech Collaborative

Mass. eHealth Institute Supports Digital Health Innovation Statewide

$165,950 in New Grants Support R&D Testing Opportunities for Growing Health Tech Startups

WESTBOROUGH – MeHI, the Mass. eHealth Institute at MassTech, has announced $165,950 in new awards from the Massachusetts Digital Health Sandbox Grant Program to support four Massachusetts startups in gaining access to cutting-edge R&D facilities across the state. The four companies will work with the facilities to test and validate their products, helping advance the marketability of the ‘Made in Massachusetts’ products.

The new funding will go directly to the R&D ‘sandboxes’ to support the testing program for each startup. The Digital Health Sandbox Network includes nine testbeds located across the state, providing a variety of facilities to test a range of digital health products. The selected projects were reviewed and scored by an Independent Steering Committee.

The four startups selected are:

  • Thriving AI, Boston - $50,000 will be provided to the UMass Amherst Institute of Applied Life Sciences (IALS) to work with Thriving.ai, an online platform that aims to ‘support and actively engage elders to help them live independently longer and to reduce loneliness and isolation, by bringing together healthcare, social care, family caregivers, and other care professionals onto a single platform.’ Through the grant, Thriving.ai will work with UMass Amherst’s IALS to test the integration of monitoring sensors with their platform to collect and analyze data to help paid and unpaid caregivers support their patients and loved ones. Thriving will provide $113,500 in matching funds for the project.
  • Tranquil Data, Boston, Mass. - $47,200 in support will flow to MITRE to co-develop an implementation guide for FHIR-based consent portability. Tranquil Data will work with MITRE to develop the implementation guide with the goals of enabling NextGen interoperability through exchange of consents and related patient, member, and healthcare consumer data, and providing immediate value to payers looking to meet the CMS payer-to-payer data exchange requirement. Tranquil Data will develop and test their consent management solution using the implementation guide to enable the exchange of consents and related metadata with full transparency and auditability. The implementation guide is a critical step to enable a seamless experience as members transition between plans, and ultimately, to improve health outcomes and lower costs.
  • X-Sight Incorporated, Cambridge - $43,750 in grant funding will support X-Sight’s development of a digital and programmable 3D X-Ray imaging platform, which includes a hardware platform that enables digital health solutions, such as telemedicine and point-of-care treatment. The grant will fund a one-year membership to PracticePoint at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), providing access to cutting-edge testing suites, including a surgical suite, and machine shop. In addition to interaction with WPI’s faculty, staff, and corporate partners, X-Sight will also use the project to engage with clinicians to validate their use case and to define their product specifications.
  • Health Together, Williamsburg, Mass. – A $25,000 grant to TechSpring, Baystate Health’s innovation hub in Springfield, will allow Health Together to improve and build on their moderated online peer-to-peer platform that aims to help patients and family caregivers increase their physical and mental health. Through the grant, the company will work with TechSpring to conduct a design audit and usability testing to guide the development of the mental health section of their platform. TechSpring will analyze the platform’s existing workflows and user behavior, review Health Together’s communications strategy and materials, and collaborate with Health Together to conduct interviews with platform users, mental health agencies, and payer and provider organizations.

“Developing cutting-edge R&D centers across the Commonwealth has been a core part of our economic development strategy,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “The Sandbox Program is not only providing our growing companies with access to these innovative testing facilities, it is putting them on a path to getting their products to market and having an impact on people’s lives.”

“The facilities within the Sandbox network offer a variety of infrastructure and testing capabilities, providing options for growing companies to choose what will work best for them,” said Ben Linville-Engler, Chief Investment Strategist at the MassTech Collaborative, MeHI’s parent agency. “While this program supports ‘Made in Mass.’ startups, these Sandbox facilities are open to all companies to field test their products, gain access to essential tools,  and also engage with the top researchers at these institutions.”

The Sandbox Program was launched in April 2019 when Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced funding for the program as part of the Commonwealth’s efforts to boost the digital health ecosystem under the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative. With the new awards, the program has awarded $449,700 to 11 startups. Previous awards from the program were announced in November 2019, June 2020, and January 2021.  

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About the Massachusetts eHealth Institute:

The Massachusetts eHealth Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, is the Commonwealth’s entity for healthcare innovation, technology, and competitiveness, and partners with industry, government, and healthcare organizations to support the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative on behalf of Governor Charlie Baker. MeHI also helps all the Commonwealth’s providers harness the benefits of electronic health records and the Mass HIway, the statewide health information exchange. For more information, please visit https://mehi.masstech.org and follow @MassEHealth. Learn more about the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative at www.massdigitalhealth.org.