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New England News

Hospital Opens Technology Innovation Center

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WAMC
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The largest health care company in western Massachusetts has launched a new research and development center focused on technology.

Baystate Health has opened an innovation center in downtown Springfield that brings together established companies such as IBM and Dell and start-ups to work with the hospital on creating new technology and products to improve health care.

Representatives from Baystate, the participating companies, and state and local officials Friday announced the opening of the center called TechSpring.  It is located in a fifth-floor suite of an office building on Main Street in downtown Springfield.

Dr. Mark Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health, said the center connects to the changing strategy of health care delivery, which focuses on global outcomes and the drive to use the vast amounts of data collected by the health care industry to improve care and lower costs.

" The way to get to cheaper is not to cut back on care, but to reduce redundancy, duplication and waste and improve coordination of care."

The center was created with the help of a $5.5 million grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the agency responsible for implementing Gov. Deval Patrick’s 10- year $1 billion initiative to grow the state’s biotech industry.

Life Sciences Center President Susan Windham-Bannister sees big potential for advancements coming from the new innovation center from producing new devices to better monitor patients outside of hospital settings, to more rapid development of new drugs.

" There are a whole lot of ways information can help us delivery better care, and bring the costs down and create a lot of new innovation-driven jobs here in western Mass."

The Patrick administration’s top economic official, Greg Bialecki, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, praised Baystate for locating the center in downtown Springfield where city and state officials hope to attract entrepreneurs to a new Innovation District.

" As far as I am concerned this space is really the welcome mat."

Bialecki believes if the center produces technology and products that prove commercially viable it will have a snowball effect on job creation in Springfield.

"If they have ten or twenty people here and are too big for the space, they are going to want to stay in Springfield because they are not going to walk away from the partnership with Baystate."

Eight companies are already working with Baystate in the new center, according to Christian Lagier, the managing director of TechSpring.  

" This is an innovation project, so there is a level of development going on. It remains to be seen what comes together."

There is a company working on a mobile app to allow people to share details about their health with doctors, nurses and others involved in their care.  Another is developing a new search tool for health care data.

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