States would be wise to emulate New York health accelerator model

It was exciting to see the creation this week of the New York Digital Health Accelerator in New York.

The New York State Department of Health, the New York City Investment Fund and the New York eHealth Collaborative all have partnered to provide funding, mentoring support, development expertise and more to health app startups in the state.

The group is awarding $300,000 each to 12 startups that are producing apps for care coordination, patient engagement, analytics and messaging. The deadline to apply is June 1.

What we'll really be watching for, though, is to see if other states follow suit, and fund health startups in, say, Nebraska or Mississippi. Such localized startup/development support really could be a boon for hospitals trying to develop their own clinical apps. Most incubator programs thus far have been in New York or California, leaving hospitals in the rest of the country out of the running.

What's more, large health systems like Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic have the resources to create or participate in incubator programs--and have done just that. Few other health systems, however, have such capabilities.

For smaller, less well-funded facilities, a few hundred thousand dollars can really open the door to creating original apps that they might even eventually be able to market and sell for additional revenue.

And being able to afford to develop an app internally could ease some of the problems many hospitals have with security, interoperability, functional integration, etc., with third-party vendors' products, MedCityNews points out in their own article about New York's efforts.

What you think? Would you try out for an app incubator program in your state? How juicy would the package of perks (mentoring, cash, development staff, marketing expertise) have to be to make doing so worth it for your facility? - Sara

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