11 more startups win pilots with NYC healthcare groups

By Brian Dolan
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Starling HealthEvents company Health 2.0 recently announced the startups and healthcare host companies that won the second annual Pilot Health Tech NYC awards, which offer up to $100,000 to help fund a pilot at a healthcare organization. While last year's inaugural group of winners piloted their wares exclusively at hospitals, this year the host company could be any kind of healthcare stakeholder, including employers, pharmas, and health insurance companies.

"This is where our Challenges business is heading," Graeme Ossey, one of Health 2.0's challenge managers told MobiHealthNews in an interview. "We're not just giving winners a cash prize, but we're actually helping them commercialize the technology."

Ossey noted that last year's class of 10 companies has raised north of $150 million in funding -- and one even managed to get acquired.

In May of this year, Hill-Rom quietly acquired Starling Health, which was a bedside communications startup that offered mobile-enabled patient engagement tools to healthcare systems. Starling is now operating as a unit within Hill-Rom and is still led by the Starling team. Starling piloted its technology at VillageCare last summer as part of the first Health 2.o-powered Pilot program.

Health 2.0's Pilot Health Tech awards are officially put on and funded by the private-partnership New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), and as a result the participants are required to have strong ties to New York City. Health 2.0 organizes the challenge and helps match up potential host companies with digital health startups. After a speed dating-style meetup earlier this year, the host and startup companies applied for the Pilot awards together, and 11 were ultimately chosen by a panel of judges. This year about 130 startups participated in the meetup portion of the awards and around 30 potential host companies did. The money can be used to fund up to 50 percent of the pilot's budget with a cap of $100,000.

While it's still too soon to tell this year, Ossey said last year the Health 2.0 team noticed that some pairs still ended up conducting pilots together despite not winning funding to do so by the NYCEDC.

"The money helps reduce some of the burden on both sides of the equation, but getting the host and innovators together to discuss the problems and the way the technology could change the host organization is" of significant value to both companies,  Ossey said.

Here is Health 2.0's writeup of this year's NYCEDC Pilot Health Tech NY winners: 

Smart Vision Labs / SUNY College of Optometry
Smart Vision Labs wants to let anyone in the world test their vision and get a prescription by taking a picture of their eye with a smartphone. Smart Vision Labs and the SUNY College of Optometry in New York City will compare this new vision test using Smart Vision Lab’s smartphone attachment against standard tests that require machinery costing $10,000+. The company aims to disrupt the entire optical industry and revolutionize the way people get their eyeglasses worldwide.

GeriJoy / Pace University
The GeriJoy Companion is a tablet-based pet avatar that provides the health benefits of pet therapy and talks with its owner about news, family photos and more, all the while reporting data to caregivers via web portal and phone. GeriJoy and Pace University will evaluate the efficacy of the Companion in reducing hospital readmissions/utilization for the top 3 preventable readmission risks for which hospitals are evaluated under the ACA: congestive heart failure, pneumonia, and acute myocardial infarction.

QoL Devices, Inc. / Montefiore Medical Center
QoL Devices and the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore will pilot Alv.io, an advanced, mobile-connected respiratory training and monitoring device that uses interactive, animated games to incentivize engagement, personalize training, conduct performance analysis and monitor testing in children to improve asthma management. In an effort to improve asthma care and reduce costs, the device will be piloted with 100 asthmatic children who seek treatment with Montefiore in the Bronx.

Urgent Software, LLC / Mount Sinai Health System
Urgent Software will work with Mt. Sinai Health System’s Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) cardiologists and their out-of-network referring physicians. As part of Mt. Sinai’s community outreach to neighborhoods at high risk of cardiac disease, CVI physicians visit local physicians’ offices on a daily or weekly basis to provide cardiac consultations to patients. Though CVI physicians provide excellent care, patients often choose not to follow up on referrals to cardiac specialists when the patient’s insurance doesn't cover the recommended procedure or specialist. The Urgent Consult platform will allow local physicians and admin staff to search for a nearby CVI physician who accepts the patient’s insurance, schedule an appointment, share medical info independent of EMRs, and register the patient, collecting demographic and insurance info. The pilot will thus test the platform’s ability to help local primary care physicians effectively link their patients to life-saving specialty care.

Nonnatech / ElderServe
Nonnatech and senior care provider ElderServe will focus on the early detection and intervention of physiological changes in an effort to prevent hospitalizations. By using Nonnatech’s system of smart sensor technologies, the pilot will measure seniors’ medication adherence and monitor activities such as eating, fluid intake, sleeping, toileting, and socialization patterns. This is all done while allowing the patients and residents to retain their dignity and privacy. Looking at the cost across the continuum of care, it will also create cost savings by way of more efficient use of staff in the Managed Long-Term Care Program and in the Assisted Living environment.

Fit4D/ HealthFirst
Fit4D and Healthfirst, which provides free and low-cost health insurance, are partnering to keep diabetes sufferers in the Bronx healthy and out of the hospital. Fit4D’s certified diabetes educators will use powerful algorithms to match Healthfirst members with the best diabetestreatments for each individual. The goal of the project is to test whether Fit4D can keep these members from suffering complications that will drive up healthcare costs.

AllazoHealth / Accountable Care Coalition of Greater New York
ACCGNY will implement a medication adherence program powered by AllazoEngine’s predictive analytics, which reviews patients’ claims, demographic and intervention data to anticipate the need for intervention and identify the most cost-effective method. In a joint pilot, the team will focus on ACCGNY’s 6,353 attributed beneficiaries, 63% of whom are intellectually or developmentally disabled (IDD). Despite their low medication adherence rates and high costs, IDD patients have largely been overlooked by medication adherence programs and academic research, making this pilot critically important. The pilot will evaluate the accuracy of the predictions, the impact of interventions and the savings associated with adherence.

Canopy Apps / Visiting Nurse Service of New York
Canopy Apps and VNSNY will seek to improve communications with non-English speaking patients using the Canopy Medical Translator app. The app will enable VNSNY nurses and physical therapists to access a library of pre-translated medical phrases in 15 languages to communicate with patients during home visits. The pilot will seek to measure patient and provider satisfaction with patient-provider communication, as well as increased efficiency in the VNSNY workflow.

Healthify / VillageCare
The Heathify platform screens patients for their needs, connects them to the appropriate resources for treatment, and engages them through text messages. Sixty percent of a person’s health is affected by social issues like food insecurity, unsafe housing, domestic abuse and other issues. VillageCare’s Health Home case managers will utilize the Healthify platform to connect patients with the services they need to address these “social determinants of health.” Moreover, VillageCare case managers will utilize the Healthify resource database to rate and review different community and government resources so VillageCare can direct their patients to the best possible help.

Tactonic Technologies / NYU Langone, Rusk Rehab Center
Tactonic Technologies is partnering with NYU to test whether its system of imaging sensors and powerful software can help doctors at the NYU Rusk Center for Rehabilitation measure whether a patient is ready to leave the hospital. Doctors check to see whether elderly patients can walk steadily before discharging them but often make a subjective judgment call that can lead to unnecessary slips and falls that bring the patient back to the emergency room. Tactonic will allow NYU doctors to make an objective measurement of patients’ gait.

Hindsait, Inc. / NY Blood Center
The NY Blood Center will work with Hindsait to pilot the innovator's predictive analytics software to predict and classify the behavioral traits of prospective donors. Hindsait’s pattern recognition algorithms and predictive analytics will compute and assign a unique ‘donation probability’ score for each potential donor that will trigger automated ‘score-sensitive’ personalized motivational messaging to the prospective donor.