Healthcare execs to mentor digital startups in NY 'accelerator' program

In a move that combines an interest in improving health outcomes with a desire to create jobs and boost the state economy, the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) have partnered with the New York City Investment Fund to launch the New York Digital Health Accelerator (NYDHA). The program will subsidize health IT startups and link them with "senior advisors" from New York healthcare organizations to accelerate the development of useful new products.

Within the next few months, the program will choose 12 "early- and growth-stage companies" that are developing products in the areas of care coordination, patient engagement, data analytics and message alerts for healthcare providers. In addition to the mentoring, each selected company will receive up to $300,000 to help create solutions designed to improve quality of care for the state's Medicaid recipients, according to a NYDHA announcement.

Supported by an initial investment of $4.2 million, the Digital Health Accelerator is expected to create about 1,500 jobs over five years. Additionally, the companies involved in the NYDHA are expected to attract as much as $150 million to $200 million in venture capital.

An investor syndicate has agreed to participate in NYDHA. The syndicate includes Aetna, Milestone Venture Partners, New Leaf Venture Partners, New York City Investment Fund, Quaker Partners, Safeguard Scientifics and UnitedHealth Group. The Empire State Development Corporation, Health Research Inc., and NYeC will provide additional funds and/or services to operate the NYDHA, the announcement said.

Eighteen New York healthcare organizations have agreed to participate, including Maimonides Medical Center, NYC Health and Hospitals Corp., New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and Northshore LIJ Health System in the New York metropolitan area. Upstate New York is also represented by such providers as Albany Medical Center, Finger Lakes Community Health, and Visiting Nurse Service of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties.

New York State has for several years been in the forefront of health IT innovation. The state's HEAL N.Y. program has invested $250 million in developing health information exchanges. In addition, HEAL grants have gone to a number of other quality improvement programs, including New York City's Primary Care Improvement Project, which subsidized EHRs for doctors in underserved areas.

To learn more:
- read the NYDHA announcement
- see a Health Affairs study on the HEAL program
- check out a list of recent HEAL grants

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