Open Call: The NY Digital Health Accelerator

Interview with NYeC Exec. Director, Dave Whitlinger

Health 2.0 sat down with the NY Digital Health Accelerator’s Dave Whitlinger to learn about the work the organization is doing with digital health startups in New York.  If you’re interested in applying for the program, please visit http://digitalhealthaccelerator.com/

1. Why have you decided to launch another Digital Health Accelerator class?

The first Accelerator program surpassed our expectations and was tremendously successful.  Having seen the impact the program had we felt that continuing the Accelerator could have a positive impact on New York State’s Health IT ecosystem by helping to foster digital health innovation in the state.  The eight members of the Inaugural Class, who graduated in May, 2013, launched 17 pilots with their provider mentors, created over 120 new high tech jobs in New York, and raised over $12 MM from sources outside of the program.  In addition, two of the companies have been acquired.  We are very proud of the accomplishments of the first Accelerator Class members and we are excited to the launch the 2014 program.

2. How did the alliance with the Partnership Fund for New York City come about?

The New York eHealth Collaborative was formed in 2006 to advance health care information technology) in New York State and to develop the Statewide Health Information Network of New York, or SHIN-NY, a technology platform will connect electronic health records across New York State.  The Partnership Fund for New York City was formed as a private fund with a civic mission to create jobs in New York City.  The collaboration between our two organizations is logical:  the Partnership Fund is committed to company and job growth and the New York eHealth Collaborative wants to accelerate health It innovation using top talent. The timing of the Accelerator is perfect: New York has one of the most vibrant digital health markets and is increasingly becoming a center of entrepreneurial growth.

3. What are the key differentiating features of the program?

The program is unique in that it offers participants the opportunity to engage directly with a broad network of providers in New York State, including hospitals, long-term care providers, community health centers, and primary care providers. Tech companies accepted into the program will receive direct mentorship and feedback from senior executives of the participating providers.

In addition, each company accepted into the program will receive $100,000 in up-front funding from a syndicate of leading venture capital and strategic investors. Also, winners will have the opportunity to meet and learn from other leading digital health entrepreneurs in the New York community.

Finally, the selected companies will be afforded 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).

4. What would constitute a successful application to the accelerator program?

Applicants and their respective solutions should directly address any combination of four focus areas: care coordination, patient engagement, predictive analytics and workflow management.  These categories were developed in partnership with clinical advisors from leading healthcare organizations that are part of our providers’ network. At a minimum, companies must have products that are ready for beta testing.  Established companies with deployed products will receive preferential consideration.  Incubated teams will see the highest rates of success during the accelerator if they are able to work with hospitals and providers who can use their products today.

5. What expectations do you have for companies that are accepted in the accelerator program?

Companies who are accepted into the program can expect to see strong growth in their product pipelines once they start working with their provider mentors.  The feedback they receive will also help them refining the product by better understanding the true needs of hospitals.

6. What is your vision for the program down the line?

Our goal for this program is to continue to seed innovative companies that leverage clinical data within the SHIN-NY in order to provide meaningful solutions to improve healthcare.

If you’re interested in applying for the program, please visit http://digitalhealthaccelerator.com/