Partners Healthcare’s new $100M digital health push

Partners Healthcare, an integrated healthcare system founded by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, has launched a five-year, $100 million digital health initiative to provide a number of new services for patients and boost digital innovation.

The initiative furthers Partners’ previous investments in digital health, including two new investment funds announced earlier this fall. Its $30 million Partners HealthCare Artificial Intelligence and Digital Translation Fund is a five-year fund, while its $50 million Translational Innovation Fund is slated to be funded for six years. Both funds aim to invest in AI solutions and key technologies.

The health system is also focused on creating the premier integrated healthcare system of the future over the next five years, with new innovations in diagnostics, therapeutics, devices and data analytics.

The initiative will “incubate” new programs that could be expanded in the future, using technology to increase the reach and frequency of interactions with patients managing chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Other areas of focus include hospital operations in bed capacity management, human resources, active asset management, supply chain and revenue cycle operations.

“We need to make healthcare easier for our patients,” Gregg Meyer, MD, chief clinical officer at Partners HealthCare, said in a statement. “Our patients want healthcare to operate like every other sector of our economy, and this initiative will help us to engage patients and ensure that they are getting the attention they need, when they need it. By leveraging data and technology, we can ensure that wherever patients are in our system, they can benefit from the expertise of our clinicians and access world-class care.” 

The new digital initiative wants to proactively engage patients and consumers, arming them with digital resources, services and solutions for their health. Specifically, this includes a number of self-service programs, such as:

  • Online scheduling of appointments
  • 24/7 video and text enabled anywhere virtual care
  • Online access to medical records including OpenNotes®
  • Cost estimates for procedures and diagnostic imaging
  • Seamless aggregation of medical records for Partners and non-Partners health care sites
  • Wait times for all Partners Emergency Departments and Urgent Care centers
  • Customized patient communication options, including text, email, call or direct mail

The goal of the initiative is also to create an enterprise data ecosystem with a unified approach to data management and use with new tools.

“As a healthcare system with two leading academic medical centers and the nation’s largest research enterprise, our clinicians and researchers are developing digital tools and care programs that are transforming medicine,” Alistair Erskine, MD, chief digital health officer for Partners HealthCare, said in a statement. “This initiative will fuel early stage projects, provide the resources to test those projects and then more importantly, provide a structure to scale projects that allows us to expand access for patients across our healthcare system and beyond.”