Israel’s health technology scene is having a moment.
Healthy.io is just one of the startups based in Tel Aviv and is moving into the US healthcare market. USA
The company, which develops technology to make it easier for consumers to conduct urinalysis tests at home, already has relationships with US healthcare systems. USA, including Geisinger. His concept offers an alternative to traditional methods of getting a urinalysis, which involves a person taking time out of their day to go to the laboratory or doctor’s office.
With a Healthy.io kit, a patient self-tests at home using the included FDA-approved toothpick, which can be dipped in a cup of urine. From there, a smartphone camera scans the results. Healthy.io claims that its computer vision algorithms and calibration method make accurate testing as easy as taking a selfie.
The physician or healthcare system decides whether the results are uploaded directly to a patient’s electronic medical record so that the physician can view them immediately, or whether patients can have direct access and view the results immediately.
Healthy.io looks for signs of early kidney disease and urinary tract infections. In Israel and the United Kingdom, they currently use technology to detect possible complications in pregnancy. They are currently moving towards launching this in the US. USA
Co-founder and CEO Yonatan Adiri refers to his company as helping to usher in the “era of the medical selfie.” That is due to the inspiration behind the business model. Adiri and his co-founders, Roee Salomon and Shachar Mendelowitz, envisioned that smartphone cameras would become much more sophisticated, in part so that consumers would continue to take selfies. So they began to think that they could take advantage of that for medical use cases.
Healthy.io is not the first business to turn a smartphone into a medical device. But the company is more advanced than most, given its relationship to hospitals and its regulatory approvals, which Adiri attributes in part to its Israeli origins.
Israel’s entrepreneurial ecosystem
Adiri said that Israeli entrepreneurs in space are extremely focused on machine learning technology. Unlike in the United States, where training data is extremely difficult to access because it is stored in disparate systems, Israeli founders can take advantage of a large amount of structured data to train their algorithms.
“Our healthcare system has been digital for 20 years,” said Adiri, who previously worked as a technical adviser to former Israeli President Shimon Peres. “That creates structured data and capabilities.”
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Adiri said the country has also benefited from its previous business successes. His biggest home runs to date include Wix (went public in 2013), Mobileye (sold to Intel in 2017 for $ 15.3 billion), and Waze (sold to Google for $ 1 billion). According to Adiri, many of the early teams from these companies are now entering healthcare or investing in healthcare technology businesses.
These days, healthcare technology has quickly become one of the most attractive markets for entrepreneurs in Israel. Its startups, including Healthy.io, Tytocare, and K Health, are attracting investments and customers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other major markets. Healthy.io has raised $ 95 million since it started in 2013, from a combination of Israeli and American investors. This year, Healthy.io and K Health made it to CNBC’s 2020 Disruptor 50 list of the world’s most innovative startups, released Tuesday.
Veteran investor in medical technology, Dr. Peter Fitzgerald, said he now flies to Israel every month to meet with local founders and offer advice. Fitzgerald, co-founder of venture firm Triventures, believes the country is already “the digital health hub” because of high-quality talent. “It is connectivity, because so many people served in the military together, and the concentration of people who are so hardworking in one place,” he said. “I had never seen anything like it”.
“It appears that many of Israel’s best talents are dedicated to healthcare technology,” added Dr. Daniel Kraft, a Silicon Valley-based medical scientist and investor who is on the Healthy.io board of directors. “Israel has a good reputation now both for the startup mindset and for solving really difficult problems.”
The Covid-19 healthcare technology boom
Many healthcare technology companies, including Healthy.io, are poised to succeed amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Using their technology, consumers don’t need to go to the lab or doctor’s office to get tested in person. All this carries the risk of exposure to the virus. But Adiri said he is not resting on his laurels. Many companies in their space saw rapid growth in the spring, but that is already starting to decline as patients become more comfortable seeking in-person care.
“We cannot be complacent,” said Adiri. “It all went up really fast, but I think we’ll see some relief.”
For this reason, he advises new companies to take advantage of this moment, but recognize that they still have to demonstrate that their solutions are a viable alternative to traditional methods. To maintain momentum, “we are going to have to work 10 times as hard,” he said.