New online newsletter to launch Sept. 23, reporting on Rhode Island’s innovation ecosystem

PROVIDENCE, RI – ConvergenceRI, a new online subscription newsletter offering news and analysis at the convergence of health, science, technology and innovation in Rhode Island, will launch its first issue on Monday, Sept. 23.

“ConvergenceRI will fill a critical information need, covering Rhode Island’s innovation ecosystem in a cohesive, cogent and comprehensive fashion,” said Richard Asinof, founder and editor of ConvergenceRI, LLC. The online newsletter will be published weekly every Monday, 48 times a year, with two-week breaks at the end of December and at the beginning of July.

“Rhode Island’s knowledge economy is on the cusp of a major growth spurt,” Asinof continued. “Its size, its connective sense of neighborhood, its embrace of health care reform and patient-centered changes in health care delivery, its maturing life sciences, biosciences and med-tech sectors, its emergence as a new hub for brain research, and its investment in transforming Providence’s former Jewelry District into a Knowledge District are all critical factors.”

New collaborative initiatives by Rhode Island’s hospitals, colleges and universities and academic research centers – from a statewide autism registry to an online database of shared research assets and to a proposed combined nursing school – are evidence of the growing size and strength of the state’s innovation ecosystem, according to Asinof.

Asinof, an award-winning journalist who most recently was the health care and life sciences contributing writer for Providence Business News, said ConvergenceRI seeks to create “conversation and convergence,” breaking down the silos that currently exist in news coverage of these sectors.

Asinof said the new endeavor addresses the way people share information in the digital economy. “We are not seeking external bandwidth or number of page views as a way to sell more advertising,” he said. “We are not chasing that fleeting, elusive ‘breaking news’ rabbit on the 24/7 treadmill.”

Instead, Asinof continued, ConvergenceRI will enable subscribers to build upon and strengthen relationships with their internal networks and communities by sharing accurate information and analysis that’s not available anywhere else. “The value proposition is that ConvergenceRI will create a connective, catalytic source of information flow to support and sustain an ongoing collaborative conversation across sectors, something that does not now exist in Rhode Island,” he said.
Subscribers targeted include hospital networks, entrepreneurs, community health centers, health insurers, colleges and universities, equity investors, start-up and established life science, bioscience, and med-tech firms in Rhode Island, among others.
“If success in building a knowledge-based economy is to occur, a goal which has arguably eluded us here in Rhode Island thus far, it calls for convergence around a more coherent plan,” said Richard Horan, senior managing director of the Slater Technology Fund. “Life sciences, research, and health care, particularly in the new era we have entered, present the most promising possibilities along these lines. Against this backdrop, there could not be an initiative more poignant and timely than that being launched by ConvergenceRI. Hats off to them as they seize the day!”

To help introduce the venture, ConvergenceRI is publishing a preview story, dated Sept. 16, featuring an in-depth look at the state of Rhode Island’s plan to move dual eligible members of Medicaid and Medicare into new managed care plans – including Rhody Health Options, managed by Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island. The story can be found at

“At first glance, the story may not seem to be directly in ConvergenceRI’s sweet spot,” Asinof said. “But, it is very much about future delivery of health care in Rhode Island, focused on a demographic that is poorer, sicker – and accounts for a larger, disproportionate share of both Medicare and Medicaid spending, a big budget item.”

The story, Asinof explained, goes to the heart of a major issue with health reform implementation for Medicare and Medicaid services: who gets to share in the savings achieved through reductions in the cost of care, improved health outcomes for individuals and the community, and better coordinated delivery of care? Is it the insurer? Is it the state? The provider? The taxpayer? How much of those savings should be channeled back to the community health centers and nursing facilities that are bending the medical cost curve so they can continue to invest in innovative, patient- centered care?

“ConvergenceRI’s story shines a spotlight on these issues, bringing them out of the public policy shadows – and into the public conversation,” Asinof said.

Better understanding the dynamics of how long-term care is changing in Rhode Island for Medicare and Medicaid recipients will also help inform collaborative conversations now underway around future health care needs for Rhode Island’s aging population to address what Dr. Richard W. Besedine, chief of Geriatrics at Lifespan, calls the “aging avalanche,” Asinof continued.

“On Oct. 15, Brown University’s Technology Ventures Office is hosting a health care showcase in what it called “the thriving Knowledge District,” where one of the featured topics is: Our Aging Population & Aging Brains: Medical, home and social design challenges for the 21st century,” Asinof said. “ConvergenceRI’s story will help to illuminate that dialogue.”



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