Tuesday, July 31, 2012

NYC Testing New Ideas

The New York City (NYC) Economic Development Corporation issued an RFP seeking a consultant to develop, launch, and operate the program referred to as “Pilot Health Tech NYC”. The program will partner entrepreneurial healthcare technology companies in the private sector with organizations or individuals providing healthcare services in New York City such as hospitals, physician clinics, payers, pharmaceuticals, nursing associations, and others.

Each project will focus on defined needs of the healthcare industry and test a technology prototype in a healthcare setting. The main goals are to:

  • Build relationships between NYC healthcare provider organizations and NYC healthcare technology companies that can turn into long-term client vendor relationships
  • Provide guidance to healthcare providers and companies on how to integrate and scale the most innovative healthcare technologies
  • Develop projects around EMR implementation
The consultant may be a company, non-profit organization, academic institution, industry group, or individual. NYCEDC will consider partnerships or joint ventures between multiple entities. Organizations hosting the pilot program need not be headquartered in New York City but should have a significant presence in New York.

NYCEDC is planning to award approximately ten pilot projects that will receive matching funds up to $100,000 each for a total of $1,000,000 of award money to be distributed by the consultant. Submission deadline is August 14, 2012. For more information on the subject matter of the RFP, email pilothealthtech@nycedc.com. For other questions call the hotline at (212) 312-3969. Go to www.nycedc.com/opportunity/pilot-health-tech-nyc-consultant-services-rfp to view the RFP.

New York City is also actively involved in several projects involving REACH practices that use EHRs. By using a data tool nicknamed “The Hub”, the Primary Care Information Project (PCIP) operating in NYC and supporting the adoption and use of EHRs, is providing public health researchers with data on trends in population health.

The PCIP system pulls data from 600 NYC REACH practices with EHRs that includes 2.500 providers across NYC. This data represents about 2.5 million patients and over one million primary care visits in 2012.

Through PCIP’s use of “The Hub”, NYC Department of Health (DOH) is able to collect timely public health data on the city population. For example, DOH can identify where patients seek care whether they stay in their own neighborhood for primary care or go somewhere else.

This information tells the DOH whether public health issues in that neighborhood can be addressed by primary care physicians in that neighborhood of if the department needs to cast a wider net due to people leaving the neighborhood for care.

The DOH is also able to see which geographic populations are struggling with critical health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and asthma. As a result, the DOH can assist community health leaders develop programs to support these areas of need.

Another function of the system is to use the tool for messaging. “The Hub” can send critical updates directly to providers through their EHR inboxes. Physicians can be notified of public health threats, and keep current on changes in healthcare law or policies such as in the case of changes in Medicare reimbursement.  

In another project, the NYC DOH, Office of Viral Hepatitis Coordination (OVHC) recently launched the “Check Hep C” project”. The project is designed to increase community-based organization and community health center capacity to provide hepatitis C (HCV) testing, patient navigation, and medical care in regions of NYC most affected by HCV.

As a public health initiative, MDLand, a NYC-based NYC REACH preferred EHR vendor has collaborated with the DOH to develop a software module “iClinic” to manage the “Check Hep C” testing and patient navigation care management in their EHR. The “iClinic” Check Hep C Module is currently being used at five Syringe Exchange Programs and three Community Health Centers as part of the Check Hep C Project.

Last spring, NY State approved the NY Medicaid Redesign Team Health Disparities Workgroup proposal “Promote Hepatitis C Care and Treatment through Service Integration”. This proposal will provide reimbursement for Hepatitis C wrap-around services to support medical care. In order for community health centers to provide and bill for these services effectively, incorporation of services into an EHR is critical.

For more information on the Check Hep C Project and OVHC testing and care management using EHRs, email Community Projects Specialist Nirah Johnson at njohnso2@health.nyc.gov.