Today, some of the hottest trends in healthcare are digitalization, innovation, and mobile devices, and Israel is THE location in which these trends thrive. How did this tiny country, smaller than Rhode Island, become one of the leaders in the healthcare digital transformation process? And what is the direction of these trends?
This article is based on the Start-Up Nation Central Report: Israel's Digital Health industry in 2016, published in the beginning of 2017
Written by Eli Pelleg, COO, and Ilana Weissberg Doron, Content Manager
Today, technology reigns the world. Innovation is the hottest word in the global healthcare market, and digitalization and mobile devices are becoming more and more popular.
This industry is in the midst of a digital transformation process, and this growing trend is mostly used as a means of a better communication between the patient and medical providers.
While the entire industry is talking about patient centricity and moving the focus on the consumer/patient, 90% of the industry's digital health work is run on the traditional model of B2B2C.
However, this situation is changing as these lines are being written. According to The Start-Up Nation Central Report (2017), more and more healthcare companies view the patients as an active participant in their own health program. Thus, these companies are attempting to develop the patient's experience in their health program in order to improve the patients' clinical outcomes (especially for patients with chronic diseases).
Processes are being developed through uset of advanced personal health tools, which in recent years have become the largest subsector of the healthcare industry.
Dozens of personal health tools are developed in Israel, the Startup Nation. Israel is an incubator for many, many Hi-Tech companies (for example, Waze and Mobileye).
According to Dr. Yossi Bahagon (Telemedicine Magazine, March 2017), Managing Director of Israel's first digital health VC fund, the reasons are twofold:
1. 100% of the healthcare system is digital and has been for the last ten years. This is not the case in many other developed countries in the world, specifically the US.
2. The innovation atmosphere in the country is part of its ongoing survival mode and is supported by intensive government programs and offices led by Israel's Innovation Authority office (Telemedicine Magazine, March 2017)
Back to Start-Up Nation Central's report, the personal healthcare tools developed in Israel are divided into five subsectors, as follows:
1. Health Analytics: Companies that perform collection and analysis of data intended to solve medical issues
2. Telemedicine: Companies that connect between doctors and patients, simulating medical appointments. They execute services through remote medical devices such as wearables or mobile applications. These companies may also passively collect patient information
3. Clinical Workflow: Companies that improve processes and workflow of hospitals, clinics, labs, and other healthcare stakeholders
4. Wearables & Sensors: Companies that produce these medical devices aimed at the end-users for their to monitor, track and even offer the end-user personal health insights
5. Personal Health Tools: Companies that provide end-users with tools to track, manage, or even treat their conditions
While the clinical pathway subsector stands on its own, and it has remained relatively stable and traditional, the other four subsectors are increasingly more patient oriented – and rapidly developing in Israel.
Not only that, but they complete each other until the borders between them become quite blurry: Personal health tools may collect data and health analytics from the patient through wearables or even provide telemedicine services.
This combination may attain the patient's empowerment. For instance, when the patients are using telemedicine, they will not only be tracked or monitored passively, but will also receive real-time feedback to improve their current health status. Meaning, the patients have turned into an active participant in the medical treatment process.
The Israeli healthcare incubator attracts many of the world's largest & most successful companies to take part in this accelerating field, such as Samsung, which funds Samsung Runway – an accelerator situated in Samsung's Electronics R&D Center in Israel, focusing on early-stage companies in the fields of big data, wearable devices, IoT, and more.
Different ventures are constantly scouting for new Israeli healthcare technologies and innovative companies, aimed to develop this thriving technological landscape. One of these ventures is eHealth Ventures, founded in 2014, and its main aim is to fund and grow promising early-stage Israeli digital health companies. Its network of partners spans North America, Europe and Asia, and it has collaborations with Israeli healthcare facilities (such as a HMO and a hospital), as well as a partnership with Cleveland Clinic innovations ( The Start-Up Nation Central Report, 2017).
To conclude, Israel's digital health sector is thriving and rapidly expanding in recent years. New incubators and accelerators are being formed, conferences and hackathons are being held, and investor funds are being established.
Multidisciplinary Performance Improvement Expert