New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) Accelerator Class 10/19/12


I like the health incubators, accelerators, and other programs for health startups. I’ve written about most of them and try to cover their startups whenever I can. The ones I know of are Blueprint, Healthbox, Rock Health, TigerLabs, Startup Health, NantAccelerator, New York Digital Health Accelerator (NYDA), and Innov8 for Health.

Each incubator / accelerator seems to have its own flavor in terms of the leadership, partners, focus areas, and startups selected. It’s interesting to me to see what types of concepts and companies are getting into the classes because, if nothing else, they’ll likely be alive and kicking for 12-18 months and maybe a lot longer. It’s also interesting to look at trends — like telederm, readmissions, and medication adherence — that keep cropping up in what seems like every incubator class.

Things to look for in an incubator / accelerator are: 1) funding, 2) past classes (main measure of success), and 3) industry access. Incubators always mention mentors as differentiators but ultimately access trumps advice, especially in healthcare. I realize some mentors also provide access, but my opinion is that the mentoring aspect is lower value.

In terms of funding for startups, most accelerators seem to give in the range of $20-$50k, usually on the lower end of that range. A few weeks ago I was speaking with somebody about incubators and I mentioned Rock Health’s recent hefty increase from $20K per startup to $100K. The person I was talking to was adamant that Rock had increased its funding to compete with the NYDA, which was offering its first class of startups $300K each. I have no idea if the person knew something or not, but there’s a big difference between $20K and $300K.

For past class success, Rock Health has the longest track record, though it’s really not that long. Some, like Nant, TigerLabs, and NYDA haven’t even completed or selected a class. For the stage of the companies going through most incubators, the best way to assess success is probably funding sought and raised. Blueprint proportionally seems to have the most success by this measure, though my assessment is far from scientific. Rock Health’s recent classes seem to be having good success funding as well.

With industry access, it’s difficult looking in from the outside to see any real differences. The biggest difference I see on the surface, across all the accelerators, is the structure of NYDA. The NYDA is managed by the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC). The NYeC acts as the HIE and regional extension center in New York, or at least for a large part of NY. Having this structure provides startups with direct access to provider organizations, many of which were involved in the selection process for the accelerator. It also helps startups access data, another huge hurdle for a health startup.

I met several people from NYeC last week at Health 2.0 and was impressed with what I heard about the incubator. Apparently the clinicians and industry veterans weren’t exactly on the same page as the investors initially, but they all came around to select the class of startups below. With direct access to large health systems and $300K in funding to selected startups, this is definitely an accelerator that seems to helps startups solve some key problems getting off the ground in health.

AdhereTx. This is not to be confused with AdhereTech, a Blueprint company. AdhereTx should change its name to get out of the bucket of medication adherence, which is incredibly crowded, and not the area exactly where AdhereTx fits. AdhereTx is more of a medication therapy management (MTM) tool to help clinicians, patients, and caregivers monitor and reconcile med lists. It seems like it captures med information from a  variety of sources – EMRs, claims, barcode scanning, and interviewing. The solution is based on a system that was proven effective, based on clinical outcomes and a few other measures, during an NIH-sponsored trial. Seems like a practical solution as long as data entry isn’t too burdensome and advice is actionable. Ideally a tool like this could be used to clean up med lists and potentially reduce medications being taken.

Aidin. This is a company from Blueprint’s first class that helps make post-admission care easier to coordinate. The company makes it simple for discharge planners to find and book post-acute care for patients. The system is also supposed to add in reviews and other information to help planners and patients choose the right post-acute care provider. For some reason I thought Aidin had a pilot with a NY hospital, maybe one of the hospitals involved in the selection for NYDA.

Avado. Avado is basically a patient portal that providers can offer to patients. It’s $100 per month for a provider, including scheduling. Integration with EMRs carries additional cost. Avado’s goal is to provide an ongoing connection between provider and patient, ideally engaging patients in the process and improving overall health. Avado helps providers meet Meaningful Use. I definitely thought Avado’s sweet spot was going to be concierge and direct primary care, so I’m a bit surprised to see it in an incubator that I associate mostly with enterprises. Then again, if Avado can pick up big groups of patients through large organizations, why not? It worked for MEDSEEK.

CipherHealth. Another care transitions company, Cipher has a pretty good story. According to the website, Cipher uses interactive phone calls to track patients after care. Based on these calls (and I assume some other touch points), it then triggers alerts but, I think more importantly from a sales perspective, provides executive dashboards and insights. I think a CFO would love to see real time calculations of costs from readmissions, something that’s relatively easy to estimate if you have the patient data, both today and predicting into the next 30 days. Cipher seems to have a good amount of data on patients, so I think it’s a bit further along.

Curaetr. This is another company I like. It offers secure smartphone messaging for clinicians, built around medical teams but also enabling one-to-one messaging. It has some cool message features, integrates with text paging systems, and the overall look and feel is nice. It’s also integrated with directories and schedules at the institutions where it is deployed. I’m not sure how many centers it has now, but getting into NYDA will help them sign a few more local clients in NY.

MedCPU. This is a clinical decision support system that takes data from the EMR. It will proactively alert clinicians if care is deviating from the accepted evidence-based care and provide access to relevant evidence and guidance with the click of a button. Not too much else to say. The product makes sense if it can do what it says. It seems that MedCPU is already working with Cleveland Clinic and a few others.

Remedy Systems. Remedy develops mobile care collaboration applications for healthcare. Its website says a lot more than that, but essentially that is what it boils down to. The core of this is a platform that supposedly can pull in lots of different data from different sources. It already has partners like Surescripts, Teladoc, and drchrono. The mobile platform for healthcare sounds like AirStrip, but the focus around collaboration seems to be the difference, at least in terms of messaging.

SpectraMD. This is a business intelligence engine specific to healthcare. This is another one I can’t say much about. I think this type of operational vendor is rare in incubators.

Travis Good is an MD/MBA involved with health IT startups. More about me.

  • Important role in creating and operating the acclerator by Maria Gotsch of the New York City Investment Fund. See more at 

  • Patricia Meisner CEO AdhereTX

    Your comments about AdhereTx are points well taken. In fact we are not to be confused with the dozens of solutions in traditional adherence that focus on reminding patients to take their medications or alerting members of the care team that a dose has been missed. And we are certainly not another singing, dancing pillbox. These solutions depend on engagement of the patient which can be difficult.  
    To take your point further, we are de-emphasizing the Company name and reinforcing the use of our solution KnowMyMeds, which helps care teams scale medication management in high risk/therapeutically complex patients. You are absolutely right,  that if a patient’s therapeutic regimen can be optimized and polypharmacy reduced, they will have a better chance at adhering to it.

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