According to the 2022 New York Healthcare Innovation Report, funding for 2021 is up 150% from a previous record of $3.6 billion in 2020. Digital health startups in areas such as virtual healthcare, patient engagement and mental health took 87 % of funding.
Investment in healthcare in New York City hit an all-time high in 2021, when 182 healthcare and life sciences startups raised a combined $9 billion, according to the 2022 New York Healthcare Innovation Report released today. Investments increased "in part due to the pandemic and underlying healthcare challenges," the organization said in a press release announcing its latest annual report.
Funding for life and health science companies in New York increased 150% from a previous record of $3.6 billion in 2020, nearly 13 times the $700 million raised in 2017.
By 2021, 87% of the funds raised went to digital health startups. And much of that investment has gone to companies focused on virtual care, patient engagement and mental health.
Brooklyn-based Cityblock led the pack with $592 million raised across multiple funding rounds in 2021. The company provides home, community and virtual care to low-income Medicaid and Medicare recipients. Weight-loss app Noom has raised $540 million, and direct-to-consumer health startup Ro has raised $500 million to expand into diagnostics and home care.
The CEO of the group that published the report believes the record year for investment in digital health startups comes on top of a significant validation of the city as a hub for healthcare innovation.
"2021 is the year that New York cemented its position as the digital health capital," said Bunny Ellerin, co-founder and CEO of NYCHBL, in a statement. "The city's diversity, access to capital, and large talent pool mean that founders and supporters are flocking to New York to launch or relocate their digital health startups."
Drawing on insights from New York-based entrepreneurs, investors, physicians, patients and thought leaders, the annual report profiles 100 of the region's leading innovators, including start-ups focused on women's health, and describes the evolution of the emergency care.
In addition to the top three fundraisers, the report's "Digital Health 100" featured many other emerging companies. Twentyeight Health, a women's health platform focused on improving access to sexual and reproductive health care in underserved communities, was one of those featured.
"When I immigrated to Canada from Taiwan at the age of seven, I saw firsthand the impact of universal health coverage on underserved communities," Amy Fan, co-founder, president and chief product officer of Twentyeight Health, was quoted as saying in the report . . . "This inspired me to pursue a career in advancing health equity in America for communities that face the greatest barriers to access." Among other things, the company offers home delivery of contraceptives.
Virtual care, at-home services and deliveries, and convenient access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines have fueled innovation in digital healthcare in New York, as in many other areas, during the pandemic. The virus is also a major factor in the development of emergency care, according to industry leaders interviewed for the report.
"Being on the front lines has allowed us to provide the communities we serve with access to testing and vaccines, which has been very gratifying," said Vivek Taparia, president of the New York market for GoHealth Urgent Care, in the report. .
But he added that there have also been challenges related to dealing with surges, supply chain issues and staffing; And that requires emergency care organizations to adapt on the fly to meet changing demand.
"The volume of emergency care across the industry has increased dramatically: before Covid, only 5% of facilities treated more than 60 patients per day, today that figure is almost 50%," said Taparia.
Like hospitals, emergency centers have often been overwhelmed by demand during the pandemic. In addition to the bottlenecks patients face at emergency care centers, the increased demand has resulted in administrative delays, lost revenue and rejected applications. So says Julien Dubuis, Nym's senior vice president and chief commercial officer, who is also included in the report's top 100 innovators. The AI-enabled company translates clinical language into medical billing codes to avoid those delays, Dubuis said.
Such investments continue to rise, as do patient numbers, as Covid-19 puts pressure on many aspects of healthcare and life. And that enables many more digital healthcare companies to establish themselves and expand.
"As we look to 2022, we will continue to see significant traction in areas such as specialized virtual care, mental health and data infrastructure," Ellerin said in a statement. "One thing is certain: digital health in New York will evolve, adapt and innovate."