How Israel Became the Beating Pulse of Digital Health Innovation
Combine a thriving tech ecosystem and a national healthcare system renowned as one of the world’s most efficient and digitally savvy, and what do you get? Israel’s vibrant digital health sector – home to more than 450 startups and companies driving innovations in personalized medicine, health analytics, telemedicine, wearables and sensors, and much more.
Israeli digital health companies have raised an estimated $800 million in the past three years, and are gaining notice far beyond the Start-Up Nation’s borders, with more than 25 Israeli healthcare companies featured on the NASDAQ exchange. Israel is also home to a number of medical technology R&D centers and startup incubators run by leading multinationals in the space including GE Healthcare, Johnson & Johnson, Philips, Takeda and more.
The dynamism of Israel’s digital health entrepreneurs is matched by the Israeli government’s commitment to bolstering healthcare digitization. The Israel Innovation Authority recently announced a $33 million grant to Medtronic, GE Healthcare, and Change Healthcare as part of a six-year program designed to boost Israel’s leadership in digital health fields like biotech and medicine.
Additionally, in early 2018, the government approved a 1 billion NIS ($266 million) national digital health project that aims to digitize the medical records of all residents living in Israel, with an eye toward leveraging big data to enable new advances in personalized medicine, disease management, and preventive treatment. Given skyrocketing healthcare costs, tremendous spending inefficiencies in our healthcare systems, the aging of the global population and projections for rising rates of chronic disease, this focus on digital health – designed to make healthcare more personalized, proactive, and cost-efficient – comes at an opportune time.
What does Israeli innovation in digital health look like in practice? Here’s a glimpse at just a few of the hundreds of companies making waves in the industry:
- Tyto Care is transforming primary care by putting health in the hands of consumers. Founded in 2012, the company seamlessly connects people to clinicians to provide the best remote home examination and diagnosis solutions. Tyto Care’s three telehealth products – TytoHome™ for consumers, TytoPro™ for professionals, and TytoClinic™ for remote point-of-care locations – are designed to replicate a face-to-face clinician visit and include a hand-held modular examination tool for examining the heart, lungs, skin, throat, ears and body temperature.
- Sweetchis a clinically proven, AI-powered platform enabling the personalized prediction and prevention of diabetes and improving clinical outcomes of the disease at scale. Founded in 2013, Sweetch’s fully automated, app-based digital coach delivers personalized risk prediction and intervention, driving patients to action and optimizing resource allocation for health systems. Its AI-powered Behavioral Change Engine is clinically proven to help prediabetes and other chronic disease patients achieve a healthier and more active life through data-driven recommendations, preventing the onset of diabetes and other chronic illnesses.
- Co-founded by veterans of the Israeli Air Force, Surgical Theater is bringing virtual reality to surgical training. The basic idea: Surgeons should be able to preview their surgeries just as air force pilots can preview their flight missions. The company’s training products are now used by some of the leading hospitals and medical institutions, including UCLA, New York University, the Mayo Clinic, Mount Sinai, and Stanford University.
- Dario Health, founded in Caesarea, Israel, in 2011, is a global digital health company specializing in mobile health and big data solutions. The NASDAQ-traded company’s solutions include a blood glucose monitoring system for diabetics. The platform syncs with a mobile app to record and track patients’ glucose levels, offering users real-time visibility into their blood glucose and enabling them to optimize their nutrition, healthcare, and exercise choices accordingly.
- Biobeat’s wearable monitors continuously monitor patients’ vital signs, including blood pressure, pulse rate, respiratory rate, cardiac output, sweat, calorie expenditure, sleep, and more. The Biobeat app records these measurements in one place, and the company has also developed a platform for healthcare providers to track multiple patients in tailored, centralized working stations.
- Personalized nutrition startup Nutrino, recently acquired by Medtronic to enable new advances in diabetes care, created FoodPrint™, which tracks how different foods interact with individual users’ bodies. Nutrino’s platform combines big data and body analytics with personalized diet and nutrition, measuring nutritional value through tools including wearables and image recognition technology.
Benefiting from robust domestic R&D, a healthcare system committed to leveraging digitization with a longstanding history of keeping digital records of patients – which now offer a treasure trove of insights for medical researchers – and a vast network of innovative startups and digital health companies, Israel has gained a firm foothold in the digital health revolution, paving the path to new efficiencies and better patient care. The Start-up Nation shows no signs of letting up, and given its track record of success, the prognosis for continued healthcare innovation is stellar.