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Northwell Health spins off Health Connect software venture

Michael Dowling, president and CEO of the newly

Michael Dowling, president and CEO of the newly renamed Northwell Health, on Dec. 5, 2015. Photo Credit: David L. Pokress

Northwell Health, known until Jan. 1 as North Shore-LIJ Health System, has announced a joint venture spinoff company that will market software to outside hospitals, health systems and physician groups.

The new company, Health Connect Technologies, was formed through a 40-60 partnership with majority owner Newport Health Solutions, a Manhattan-based maker of software for the health care industry.

The software by Health Connect is designed to link doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to improve continuity as a patient moves through a treatment regimen.

The program “tracks referral status and follows a patient’s journey within the network,” said Thomas Thornton, Northwell senior vice president and executive director of Northwell Ventures, the system’s 3-year-old venture capital and joint-venture arm.

The spinoff comes as Great Neck-based Northwell, with 18 owned and operated hospitals in the New York metropolitan area, promotes its new name and plans further expansion amid a rapidly changing industry. Health care’s increasing competition and consumer focus is leading Northwell, a nonprofit with nearly $8 billion in annual revenue in 2014 but thin operating margins, to create profitable spinoff companies.

“Health Connect will leverage the knowledge and intellectual capital we have accumulated in the past several years, enabling us to continually pursue disruptive technologies that will transform the industry,” Thornton said.

The joint venture agreement to form Health Connect was signed in December and the fledgling company is seeking a home within New York City, a Northwell spokesman said.

“Our collaboration with Northwell’s clinical and administrative leaders has generated solid proven results that HCT will build upon,” Newport Health chief executive Sophia Teng said in a statement. “It is our intent to use our collective strengths to accelerate the growth of Health Connect in the region and across the nation.”

Health Connect’s software has been tested for 18 months at Lenox Hill Hospital, which is planning a broader rollout.

Gus Costalas, Lenox Hill Hospital’s deputy executive director, said the software trial “reduced readmissions” and increased “network utilization.”

The software also provided a trove of patient data, allowing Lenox Hill to better manage its patient population and physician network, he said.

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