Boston: The Hub of the Healthcare Economy

Boston is a historic city and has always been at the forefront of groundbreaking ideas. From the first public school to the first public demonstration of ether anesthesia and the first organ transplant, Boston has always led the way. Today, Boston is the hub of a diverse healthcare economy that includes the life sciences and a digital health cluster that leverages the strong investment/venture capital landscape, major academic medical centers, institutions of higher learning and a highly skilled and educated workforce. Boston is where it is at for the innovation healthcare economy.

According to MassBio, a not-for-profit organization that represents the Massachusetts biotechnology industry, the industry has grown 28 percent over 10 years and is poised for more continued growth through venture capital investment. In 2017, the venture capital community invested $3.1 billion in Massachusetts biotechnology companies, and there were 12 initial public offerings (IPOs).

The digital health economy is also thriving in Massachusetts, with 350 digital health companies calling the Bay State home. athenahealth, HealthEdge and InterSystems are three of Massachusetts’ healthcare companies named to Healthcare Informatics prestigious 2018 Healthcare Informatics 100 List.


What makes Boston a strong healthcare economy?

A few key factors have led to Massachusetts’ booming healthcare economy:

  • Massachusetts has a strong healthcare innovation infrastructure. It is home to 79 hospitals, including top academic medical centers and research institutions such as Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital, all within a few hours of one another and some of the world’s top universities, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
  • There is a strong commitment from both the public and private sectors. Leaders from both sides are working together and investing to continue building an ecosystem that fuels innovation in the life sciences and digital health industries. MassBio and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative are two not-for-profit organizations working to stimulate investment and growth in the healthcare industry.
  • Massachusetts is home to a highly skilled and educated workforce, with more than half of the workforce holding a bachelor’s degree, according to 2017 study from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Given the region’s dedication to healthcare innovation and unprecedented public-private support, the healthcare economy in the greater Boston area will continue to lead the nation. And after Takeda’s acquisition of Shire, Boston is now home to one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies.


What’s next for Boston’s healthcare economy?

In the coming years, Boston will become home to even more start-up biotechnology companies looking to build upon the existing business infrastructure and leverage the resources of the large biotechnology companies (i.e., commercialization, M&A). Boston is also poised to capitalize on the digital health 2.0 revolution as machine learning and artificial intelligence are set to transform healthcare delivery.   

The healthcare economy is growing fast, and companies must have robust communications programs that complement their business plans if they want to stand out in a crowded market. Here are some tips for communicating in a crowded marketplace:


Highlight the challenge

Create compelling storytelling campaigns that highlight the healthcare challenge(s) the company is solving and why there is an urgency to solve this problem. Campaigns should utilize social and digital channels and highlight the voice of the patient when appropriate.

Showcase the expertise

Provide opportunities for the executive team to showcase their years of experience and discuss industry trends. A good thought leadership campaign will address the larger industry issues and highlight the importance of addressing those issues.

Create excitement for the company

Leverage social and digital strategies to show the human side of the company. For example, use Instagram to share employee stories, volunteer days or company events.

Boston is the perfect locus of healthcare and technology, and communicators are often on the forefront of bridging that gap. For more on how communications can help health tech brands thrive in a quickly changing marketplace like Boston, check out our whitepaper.


January 10, 2019

Health Sector Team