Most of us have probably encountered at some point or another problems in our everyday healthcare. It could be waiting a long time for an appointment, taking unnecessary medications, or simply not finding enough information about how best to treat a condition.
But now, several Israeli healthcare startups are addressing some of these common issues with easy-to-use technology, potentially helping patients save money and time. NoCamels highlights five of the most intriguing startups transforming everyday healthcare.
Imagine you could skip the waiting time for a doctor’s appointment and save the money you would have paid for the visit. Israeli startup TytoCare has developed an innovative hand-held instrument, called Tyto, which is able to detect and classify common diseases such as flu or ear infections. The kit includes a stethoscope, an otoscope and a computer-vision camera that helps the user diagnosis the problem. In case a doctor is needed, the device can also be used to connect with a specialist for a remote consultation.
Founded by Israelis Dedi Gilad and Ofer Tzadik in 2012, the company has so far raised $18.5 million (drugstore chain Walgreens is among the investors) and is about to complete beta testing of the product.
Israeli startup MeMed has addressed the issue of antibiotic misuse by developing a new kind of diagnostic test, called ImmunoXpert, aimed at determining whether an infection is viral or bacterial. The distinction is made on the basis of the patient’s immune response (through a speedy blood test), as the device can tell the difference between the specific kinds of proteins released in the blood in each case.
Providing a reliable diagnosis is fundamental if we consider that several cases of misuse are caused by incorrect prescriptions. Whereas antibiotics are very useful in healing bacterial flues, when it comes to viruses they are not only ineffective, but also potentially dangerous, since the overuse of antibiotics facilitates the emergence of resistant strains of bacteria, which have become increasingly common across the globe.
The company was founded in 2009 by Eran Eden and Kfir Oved and is headquartered near Haifa, Israel. In 2015, it was awarded €3 million by the European Commission through the Horizon2020 Grant Program, aimed at sponsoring groundbreaking discoveries able to impact global economy and healthcare.
Medisafe, founded by Israeli brothers Omri and Rotem Shor, has developed an app designed to help people keep track of their medications. We all know how easy it is to miss a pill, but for people affected by chronic diseases, missing a dose could have severe consequences and lead to possible hospitalization.
Medisafe has found an easy and effective way to address the problem of medication non-adherence with a mobile app. Available for both iOS and Android users, Medisafe automatically reminds users to take their medicine through notifications and informs a family member when those messages go unnoticed.
Not only does this system build a safety net around the patient, it could also help reduce the overall burden of medication non-adherence, which in the US alone is estimated to cost the healthcare system about $290 billion, according to think tank HealthWorks Collective.
With 2.5 million users, Medisafe claims the app significantly improves medication adherence. Founded in 2012, the company has raised $7 million in three rounds from eight investors, including famed Israeli angel investor Eyal Gura, Lool Ventures and Microsoft Ventures.
Struggling to be active at work the morning after a night out? Imagine how it would be if your sleep were disrupted regularly – often more than a dozen times in one night.
In the US alone, about 50 million people suffer from sleep disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Millions suffer from a condition called sleep apnea, which consists of a series of breathing interruptions during sleep. As breathing stops or diminishes, and consequently the level of oxygen in the brain declines, the human body is programmed to wake up so that the person will start to breath normally again.
If untreated, this disorder can become extremely dangerous: Chronic lack of sleep may lead to reduced cognitive functions, memory loss, depression, and can increase one’s chances of being involved in a car accident. In extreme cases, sleep apnea can increase the risk of a stroke and heart failure.
But an Israeli company seems to have found a simple solution: Nyxoah has developed a small neurostimulator that prevents airway blockage by electrically controlling the nerves of the tongue. The device measures 20 mm in diameter and 2.5 mm in thickness, it can be implanted by a small incision, and then kept in place during sleeping hours by a disposable adhesive patch.
Founded in 2009 by Robert Taub and Adi Mashiach, Nyxoah has so far raised $11 million.
Finding a trustworthy doctor is no easy task. In case you need surgery, choosing the most suitable hospital is crucial yet difficult because essential information is not always readily available to everyone.
After his sister died from complications of a routine operation, entrepreneur Moni Milchman funded and developed a global, comprehensive search engine for hospitals. Type in the procedure you need, and Archimedicx will find and rate the most suitable clinics, free of charge for the patient.
The search can be filtered according to countries, waiting time, budget and other considerations, and enables the user to contact the hospital directly to speak to a specialist.
Archimedicx was founded in 2014 and has quickly reached 30,000 users. The company has raised an undisclosed amount, though it is thought to be worth several million dollars.
Photos: MeMed, Archimedicx, Nyxoah, TytoCare, MediSafe