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Reporting focus: innovation in health care

The health care sector in upstate New York is undergoing some rapid transformations, and in areas like telemedicine and e-records setting the pace for much of the nation. Innovation Trail reporters across upstate New York are all contributing reports with a particular focus on innovation in health care for a special week of programming running December 17-22.

The series will culminate in a live 2-hour radio/live stream broadcast on the Healthy Friday program hosted by Elissa Orlando on Rochester’s wxxi's 1370connection program starting at noon on Friday December 21. Check your local guide for other stations carrying the live discussion or go to the live stream at http://interactive.wxxi.org/listen

Details of the upcoming stories after the jump.

It's hard to get good primary care in rural New York state. Sarah Harris visits the Hudson Headwaters Health Network, a group of Adirondack clinics using a new model of care called a "patient-centered medical home."

UAlbany is in the midst of building a new 15,000 square foot, $9.4 million biomedical research facility where students and researchers partner closely with pharmaceutical companies to develop new medical treatments using RNA or ribonucleic acid. While most people are familiar with DNA, scientists are uncovering more about the powerful RNA molecules that control proteins within our bodies and act as an on-off switches for genes. The new facility is expected to be completed by spring of 2013 and Marie Cusick has the details.

An app has been created to sift through Tweets on Twitter and show users the location and number of sick people in their area, as well as their likelihood of falling ill. The real-time aggregation of tweets from around the country is also being used to plot the location of disease outbreaks like flu or cholera. Kate O’Connell reports.

How does your workplace influence your health? We know of the dangers associated with some high risk work sites, but what about the average office environment? A researcher at Binghamton University says air conditioning and the body’s adaptation to it, should be getting more attention as indicators of the health of our workplaces. Matt Richmond has more.

Hospitals provide not only a health lifeline, but also a major economic lifeline for upstate New York. Health care contributed $3.1 billion and 23,000 jobs to central New York alone last year. Increasingly they're being relied on more and more to buoy a region's economy. As the health care industry grows, so have hospital's footprints in their hometowns, becoming huge nonprofit land occupiers that don't pay property taxes. Syracuse has pressed its hospitals to pay for city services, but at least one hospital, St. Joseph's argues it invests more than enough its community already as Ryan Delaney explains.

Joanna Richards reports on the new Telemedicine network in the state’s north country. The fiber optic network links together 40 primary care facilities and 8 hospitals in the Adirondack and Champlain regions. The system will transmit information at very high speeds, and the aim is to reduce duplication of services and enable patients to have access to specialists via remote consultations.