Healthcare jobs hub in the making

The New York Digital Health Accelerator program is investing $4.2 million to create healthcare jobs in New York.

NEW YORK – The New York eHealth Collaborative, the New York City Investment Fund and the New York State Department of Health have launched a $4.2 million program to foster health IT innovation and create 1,500 new jobs in the state.

Called the New York Digital Health Accelerator (NYDHA), the program’s goal is to make New York a hub for the emerging digital health technology industry.

In upcoming months, the program will choose 12 early- and growth-stage companies that are developing cutting-edge technology products in care coordination, patient engagement, analytics and message alerts for healthcare providers.

Each company will be awarded up to $300,000 along with mentoring from senior-level executives at leading hospitals and other providers in New York. The focus areas of innovation will support the development of products that help the state's Medicaid Redesign Team and its new "Health Homes" program, an initiative intended to make the state's treatment of Medicaid patients more coordinated and efficient, officials say.

"Health information technology is helping us transform our healthcare system to provide high-quality, cost-efficient, and patient-centered care for the 21st century," said New York State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, MD. "The Digital Health Accelerator program will further advance New York's national leadership in health IT as it will attract leading-edge companies at the forefront of developing the technology necessary for robust electronic health records and digital care coordination systems."

"When the government and the private sector work hand-in-hand to encourage business growth in our state we see results,” added Maria Gotsch, president and CEO of the New York City Investment Fund (NYCIF).

“This Accelerator will help New York keep and attract businesses that grow our state's economy and create jobs in our communities. Our initial investment will go a long way towards attracting additional investment into New York."

As David Whitlinger, executive director of NYeC, sees it, the economy and healthcare are the two most important issues facing the state, and the New York Digital Health Accelerator will tackle both at once.

"This initiative represents the best kind of marriage between the public and private sectors,” he said. “We are leveraging New York's investment in our statewide health information exchange network and empowering it with the free market."

The NYDHA's unique feature is that it offers participants the opportunity to engage directly with a broad network of providers in New York State, officials say, including hospitals, long-term care providers, community health centers and primary care providers.