Update: Today and tomorrow, the leaders of NY Health community are gathering at the Digital Health Conference. I will be in attendance and would enjoy meeting any readers who will be there. You can contact me my Twitter handle (see sidebar on the right) or via my LinkedIn profile. I will be speaking at the event. I will touch on forward-looking providers I wrote about in the the Patient-Provider Communication chapter of the upcoming Patient Engagement book commissioned by HIMSS (book release will be prior to HIMSS annual conference). I look forward to speaking with Forbes readers who are able to attend. You can follow the hashtag #DHC12 for more on the event happenings.
Perhaps it’s not surprising since the czar of health technology for the federal government is Dr. Farzad Mostashari who was a leader in the public health scene for New York prior to his current post. He is the leader of the Office of the National Coordinator in Health & Human Services. This was an office established by the Bush Administration and then the Obama Administration has doubled down on it to bring healthIT in the U.S. out of the dark ages.
“We don’t have a debt problem. We have a healthcare problem.” Laura Tyson (former head of the Council of Economic Advisors in the Clinton Administration and dean of the London School of Economics).
New York recognizes what Bill Gates spoke about in his TED talk about how exploding healthcare costs are devastating education budgets at the state level. If costs don’t get under control, it’s not an exaggeration to say it threatens public education. Consider that while spending on all other consumer goods and services has increased 8x over the last 40 years, healthcare spending has increased 274x. It’s hard to argue things have improved 34 times more in healthcare than other consumer goods and services.
It’s a multi-dimensional problem that requires a multi-dimensional solution and it appears New York is up to the task considering that the initiatives range from private sector investment to public policy and programs. Under the leadership of Dr. Nirav Shah, New York State Commission of Health, New York has been a vanguard state in fostering an environment of innovation in health information exchange, the use of health information technology to support delivery system transformation such as State-wide medical home initiatives, and initiating SHINY as part of the New York e Health Collaborative.
The following are some examples of the array of activity in New York (please add others in the Comments box below that I may have missed) with details below:
- New York Digital Health Accelerator: Fostering startups gaining market validation with leading healthcare providers around the state.
- MedStartr: The first crowdfunding program specific to the unique requirements of healthcare.
- Medicaid Managed Care: All Medicaid recipients are moving to a model that is highly successful in the private sector and abroad.
- WebMD: By far the largest health-related Internet site for consumers and for health professionals (Medscape) is based in New York.
- New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC): The public resource for health information technology running a number of programs.
- Statewide Health Information Network of New York (“SHINY”): Arguably the Health Information Exchange that has the broadest reach and momentum.
- IBM: Another NY-based company that has done more to vitalize primary care than any other organization. This is critical because primary care is the foundation of any well-functioning health care syste
- StartUp Health: A 3-year academy program that selects “healthcare transformers” that are enabled by a sophisticated program to get startups through the various milestones pivotal to their growth.
- Blueprint Health: A healthcare incubator for early stage companies just getting off the ground that has already fed companies into StartUp Health.
- Everyday Health: A large consumer health information and solutions company.
- Medivo: It’s a very interesting model for lab testing revolutionizing the way physicians and patients leverage data to make better decisions leading to improved health.
Update: Subsequent to the original posting, I was reminded by some readers of some items I’d missed. One is an organization called NYC Health Business Leaders that has been on the forefront of promoting NYC as the innovation capital of healthcare. See more at www.nychbl.com. I also overlooked the Life Sciences Angel Network run my Dr. Milena Adamian that is very active in supporting healthtech startups. In addition, there are several healthcare focused venture capital firms such as those listed on www.digitalhealthaccelerator.com.
Given the scale of changes necessary in healthcare, New York has clearly assembled an “all hands on deck” approach that other states should mimic if they want to thrive in the future.
New York Digital Health Accelerator (NYDHA)
The goal of the New York Digital Health Accelerator is fostering startups gaining market validation with leading healthcare providers around the state. The NYDHA is run by NYeC and NY City Investment Fund, which is the economic arm of the Partnership for New York City, the city’s pre-eminent business leadership coalition.
The program will announce 8 early- and growth-stage companies today that are developing cutting-edge technology products in care coordination, patient engagement, analytics and message alerts for healthcare providers. Each chosen company will be awarded up to $300,000 along with invaluable mentoring from senior-level executives at leading hospitals and other providers in New York. The focus areas of innovation will support the development of products that help the state’s Medicaid Redesign Team and its new “Health Homes” program, an initiative intended to make the state’s treatment of Medicaid patients more coordinated and efficient.
New York has a Medicaid Redesign Team and a new “Health Homes” program, an initiative intended to make the state’s treatment of Medicaid patients more coordinated and efficient. There is a concept called “Patient Centered Medical Homes” (PCMH) that was originally conceived of in the U.S. but never really implemented until recently. Meanwhile, countries such as Denmark used the PCMH as the foundation of their shift from a reactive “fire fighting” healthcare delivery system to a proactive “fire prevention” model. Over a few decades, it has had dramatic results supported by information technology. Results include the following:
- A 70% reduction in the number of hospital days and commensurate reduction in number of hospitals.
- Today, 80% of physician-patient interaction takes place asynchronously (i.e., not a real-time face to face interaction). That has increased patient convenience and reduced cost as well as impacted the next item.
- At one time, more than 50% of people in Denmark died in hospitals. Today, 93% of people die at home (the strong preference for most people) through remote monitoring, video conferencing and house calls. This also happens to be much less costly than having the end-of-life take place in the hospital.
Inspired by the success of KickStarter and other crowdfunding program,Medstartr addresses the unique requirements of healthcare that has kept KickStarter from supporting healthcare projects. Since launching this summer, they have already had multiple successful projects. [Disclosure: My company, Avado, is one of the companies to have successfully run a Medstartr project.]
While the Internet isn’t thought of as part of the healthcare delivery system, there’s no doubt it’s the go-to spot for most consumers as searching for health information is the third most popular activity on the web. When something is going on that isn’t an emergency, they rely on “Dr. Google” and are often led to WebMD. Over 100 million people visit WebMD every month. On top of that, their Medscape professional site is similarly dominant with health professionals. When it comes to continuing medical education (CME), 30% takes place on a WebMD-owned site and 60% of all online CME.
New York eHealth Collaborative
Here’s how NYeHC describes what they do:
One of the most significant advances in health IT is the shift away from paper records. It was once almost impossible to imagine having access to all the information about a patient with just a few clicks of a mouse. But today, secure, private electronic health records (EHRs) are becoming standard practice, and New York State is taking a leading role in the nation. At NYeC, we work to facilitate this transition for healthcare providers across the state and beyond. We also work to make it possible for providers to securely exchange these records in situations where patients require more complex treatment and multiple providers. NYeC works to educate the healthcare industry and those in need of treatment, with a goal of elevating the level of general understanding as to how health IT can improve care.
Statewide Health Information Network of New York (“SHINY”)
The concept of Health Information Exchange has been around for awhile with limited results due to competitive concerns and incompatible systems. One only has to watch a video like this one that shows how even an insider can have great difficulty getting vital health information shared. The following is a description of the SHINY:
The SHINY is a network of information transmitted between users. Like the internet, as more users connect, it grows, evolves, and becomes more secure, efficient, and easy to use. As an increasing number of private practices, nursing homes, clinics, and hospitals begin to digitize their records, they have the option to connect to information hubs (or RHIOs/QEs) in their region of the state. These Regional Health Information Organizations collect health record data from the healthcare providers in their area, and, with patient consent, allow this information to be shared securely with other providers in the region.
What this means to you: The patient returning to her family physician for follow-up care after a trip to a radiologist will not need to make any phone calls to request a copy of her results. Neither will her physician. The patient will not need to remember to have images or lab results sent, nor will she need to carry her own records to different doctors by hand. Her primary care physician, when securely connected to the SHINY, will have complete, accurate, and private access to the information carefully gathered by each one of the specialists the patient has visited. Fewer mistakes will be made, fewer tests repeated, and money and time will be saved on administrative details. Most importantly, the patient and doctor will have more time together to discuss treatment options and recovery.
See the video below on how SHINY describes how they can make life better.
IBM has been pivotal in getting half of the Fortune 100 to change how they are purchasing healthcare. in addition, the Office of Personnel Management (the “HR Department” for federal workers) has also has bought into the aforementioned PCMH model. See IBM Unleashes Primary Care Spring for details on the scope of their work.