Japan’s Sompo taps Israeli telehealth startup for medical diagnosis of the elderly

TytoCare’s AI-based device for remote medical checks of heart, lungs, skin, ears, throat and belly will be deployed in nursing homes and the elderly care market throughout Japan

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

Israeli telehealth startup TytoCare and Japan's commercial insurance provider, Sompo, sign collaboration agreement in presence of economy ministers of both countries. (David Hacohen/Courtesy)
Israeli telehealth startup TytoCare and Japan's commercial insurance provider, Sompo, sign collaboration agreement in presence of economy ministers of both countries. (David Hacohen/Courtesy)

Japan’s commercial insurance provider, Sompo, has teamed up with TytoCare to deploy the Israeli telehealth startup’s artificial intelligence-based remote medical device for nursing care services of the elderly.

Founded in 2012, the Netanya, Israel-based startup co-founded by CEO Dedi Gilad and COO Ofer Tzadik, has developed an FDA-cleared handheld remote medical examination device which it says can replicate the doctor’s office in the home. TytoCare’s home smart clinic device has attachments that can examine heart, lungs, skin, ears, throat and abdomen, as well as measure body temperature, allowing users to perform comprehensive physical exams.

TytoCare on Tuesday signed a commercial collaboration agreement with Sompo’s digital arm Light Vortex to install and incorporate the startup’s remote medical examination products in nursing homes and the elderly care market throughout Japan. The agreement comes after the companies recently received regulatory approval for TytoCare’s products from the Japanese Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA).

Sompo’s nursing care business operates the largest chain of nursing homes for the elderly in Japan, in terms of the number of rooms. It includes 301 nursing homes with 28,500 rooms, as well as 58 day centers for the elderly and 505 centers which provide various services for the aging population.

Japan has one of the fastest-growing aging populations in the world, while birth rates are declining. About 30 percent of the population are 65 or older, and the country is faced with a shortage of nursing care professionals.

“The collaboration combines our advanced telemedicine solutions with Sompo’s commitment to making healthcare services accessible to the Japanese market, and thereby enabling a significant leap forward in the experience and quality of healthcare services for older patients,” said Gilad. “We believe that in the end we can together improve the well-being of the community and set new standards for the quality and convenience of medicine in Japan in general.”

Remote diagnostic tools from Israeli startup TytoCare enabled patients at Sheba Medical Center’s field hospital in Ukraine to be remotely examined by expert physicians in Israel. (TytoCare)

Sompo has been operating in Israel through its Digital Lab Tel Aviv, established in 2018 to tap into Israeli fintech and insurtech startups. The lab has invested over $20 million in Israeli startups including smart car dashcam company Nexar, robot developer Intuition Robotics, and health data platform Binah.ai.

Yinnon Dolev, head of the Sompo Digital Lab Tel Aviv, said the “collaboration aims to upgrade the care of the elderly through the groundbreaking solution developed by TytoCare in the field of remote medicine, which includes a diagnostic camera, a digital stethoscope, and an AI-based clinical insights module that assists doctors in diagnosis.”

“The purpose of the collaboration is to produce optimal data-based medical care, in places where the medical staff is not physically present,” Dolev added.

During the coronavirus pandemic, hospital and health organizations in the US, Europe and Israel have expanded their use of TytoCare’s products to remotely examine and diagnose quarantined patients and isolated patients at home, providing health professionals the clinical data required to make treatment decisions from a safe distance while minimizing physical contact.

TytoCare’s products to remotely examine and diagnose patients are being used by 220 health organizations and health plans in the US, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

Earlier this month, TytoCare raised $49 million in fresh capital led by existing investor Insight Partners with participation from new investors, including California’s health system MemorialCare, the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) trust fund and Israel’s Clal pension fund. With the added funding, TytoCare has raised a total of $205 million from investors to date.

Other investors backing the startup in previous financing rounds are Tiger Global Management, Qumra Capital, Qualcomm Ventures LLC, Olive Tree Ventures and Shenzhen Capital Group Company.

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