New York partnership aimed at health IT innovation, job creation

By Erin McCann
10:43 AM
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Officials at the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) and the Partnership for New York City Fund (Partnership Fund) today announced the creation of the New York Digital Health Accelerator (NYDHA), a program aimed at spurring health IT innovation and job creation across the Empire State.

Officials bill the partnership as the largest-funded health IT accelerator program in the United States and one of the first to provide access to senior-level healthcare providers. With its initial investment of $4.2 million, NYDHA officials anticipate the program will create some 1,500 jobs over a five year period.

Moreover, many anticipate the companies will attract upwards of $150 million to $200 million in investment from the venture capital community post-program.

[See also: New York initiative aims to create hub for health IT jobs.]

Eight early-and growth-stage companies have already been selected and are developing cutting-edge technology products in care coordination, patient engagement, analytics and message alerts for healthcare providers.

The program received 250 applications from companies across 27 states and 10 countries. Each chosen company is awarded up to $300,000 along with mentoring from senior-level executives at hospitals and other providers in New York for nine months. Each company has committed to opening an office in New York State.

"The Accelerator provides much-needed, valuable tools for providers in support of New York State's Medicaid Redesign initiative," New York State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, MD, said. "The initiative, which promotes a shift from the costly fee-for-service model to a more effective and efficient managed care approach, is resulting in better care – at lower cost – for patients across the continuum of care. The Accelerator is an essential first step to stimulate the market and nurture innovation within the entrepreneurial community."

Tech companies accepted into the program are receiving direct mentorship and feedback from senior-level executives with the participating providers. Officials say their coaching, testing and feedback will help these companies create the most efficient tools that the medical community will want to use to streamline the sharing of electronic medical records and improve coordination of care.

[See also: Paul Ryan's Congressional health IT timeline.]

Officials say the companies also have direct access to the technology platform that is connecting electronic health records across New York State, the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY).

"We are creating the next generation of healthcare applications that will transform the healthcare delivery system," said NYeC Executive Director David Whitlinger. "These companies are the first software development vendors to have direct access to the SHIN-NY, a secure platform that embodies all of the federal and state policies for usage of patient data by the community."

"One of the biggest challenges for early stage healthcare companies is getting access to large customers" explains Maria Gotsch, president and CEO, Partnership for New York City Fund. "This program not only provides that access but allows the eight companies to benefit from high level feedback, which will accelerate their growth and create good jobs in the important health IT sector in New York."

The investment capital was provided by a syndicate of investors, including Aetna, Janssen Healthcare Innovation, Milestone Venture Partners, New Leaf Venture Partners, Partnership for New York City Fund, Quaker Partners, Safeguard Scientifics, and UnitedHealth Group. The Empire State Development Corporation, Health Research Inc., and NYeC have provided additional funds to operate the NYDHA.

The eight selected companies include:

  • AdhereTx: KnowMyMeds Web-based, interoperable software supports team-based medication management and reconciliation for high-risk patients at the point of care. It enables healthcare practitioners to perform clinically validated, cost-effective medication review for high-risk patients, including "dual eligibles" and the chronically ill, to reduce their drug-related hospitalizations and readmissions. 
  • Aidin: Aidin is a Web-based referral platform for hospitals discharging patients to post-acute care. Aidin collects hard data about how well post-acute providers perform and makes it easy for hospital staff to present that information to patients when they are choosing their post-acute provider - helping patients choose better providers for better outcomes.
  • Avado: Avado allows clinicians and patients to securely communicate, track, and manage health information. They centralize data from many EHR's and make it usable for all stakeholders. Avado exceeds meaningful use requirements for patient engagement while also addressing requirements for medical homes and accountable care models. 
  • CipherHealth: CipherHealth helps hospitals avoid government penalties by reducing preventable readmissions, improving outcomes, better coordinating care, and creating a positive patient experience. CipherHealth reaches out over the phone, through tablets, via email, text or the Web, better engaging patients in their care and building stronger relationships between patients and providers. 
  • Cureatr: Cureatr will improve how healthcare providers communicate and coordinate patient care. The lightweight, user-friendly HIPAA-secure group messaging system integrates with existing directory, scheduling and paging systems, making it easy to use while coordinating care within or between organizations. 
  • MedCPU: MedCPU delivers accurate real-time clinical care advice through its Advisor Button technology. It uniquely captures the complete clinical picture from clinicians' free-text notes, dictations and structured documentation entered into any EMR, and analyzes it against a growing library of best-practice content, generating real-time precise prompts for best care consideration.
  • Remedy Systems: Remedy Systems leverages the power of mobile to lower the cost and improve the quality of healthcare via its flexible care coordination platform that enables physicians and nurses to concentrate on delivering the highest quality of care possible while fostering engagement from patients and family/friends. 
  • SpectraMD: SpectraMD maximizes the value of data across the continuum of care with business intelligence solutions. Their FOCUS Actionable Analytics platform enables stakeholders in hospitals and ambulatory care settings to improve outcomes, increase revenues, succeed in quality-based initiatives including Reducing Preventable Readmissions and leverage analytics for the Health Home initiative. 

Among the 22 healthcare providers involved with this collaboration are Mt. Sinai Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Albany Medical Center and Stony Brook University Medical Center.