FDA cleared: Israeli tech to warn doctors before COVID-19 patients deteriorate
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FDA cleared: Israeli tech to warn doctors before COVID-19 patients deteriorate

Physicians are struggling to draw on experience to treat the coronavirus. One Israeli company, newly authorized to deploy its tech in US hospitals, uses data and AI to help

A patient is wheeled out of Elmhurst Hospital Center to a waiting ambulance, in the Queens borough of New York, April 7, 2020. (AP/Kathy Willens)
A patient is wheeled out of Elmhurst Hospital Center to a waiting ambulance, in the Queens borough of New York, April 7, 2020. (AP/Kathy Willens)

An Israeli-made system programmed to alert doctors eight hours before coronavirus patients deteriorate has been approved for deployment in US hospitals.

A hospital command and control system made by Netanya-based CLEW, which has helped to keep the computer and telemedicine networks at two central Israel hospitals running through the pandemic, has now received an Emergency Use Authorization from America’s Food and Drug Administration.

CLEW CEO Gal Salomon said that his is the only FDA-cleared system to provide early warning on patients who are likely to experience respiratory failure or blood complications associated with COVID-19.

It draws on records from thousands of coronavirus patients, mostly US-based, whose data was analyzed by Salomon’s team, using artificial intelligence to understand what changes take place in patients in the hours before a deterioration.

The approval comes with doctors needing artificial intelligence more than ever, because with COVID-19, a new disease, they have limited ability to draw on their experience, Salomon told The Times of Israel.

A control room at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, using CLEW’s system. (courtesy of CLEW)

“Normally, doctors try to use their knowledge and experience, but they don’t have experience — they didn’t study COVID-19 in medical school,” he said. “The fact that our system allows you to deal with data, which is hard evidence, is very powerful. It means that they can work on the basis of correlations and patterns.”

CLEW’s Predictive Analytics Platform is a software suite that is installed on a hospital’s computers. It is designed to manage data for all patients — not just coronavirus patients — in an intensive care unit, analyze it, tell doctors of expected changes in a patient’s health, and suggest treatments based on the hospital’s protocols.

Salomon said that getting the product to the US market took on a new urgency with the COVID-19 outbreak, as the disease is known for causing sudden deteriorations. His team rushed to “teach” the system patterns from the illness of 4,000 coronavirus patients, and add it to data on tens of thousands of people with other diseases.

Gal Salomon, CEO of CLEW (courtesy of CLEW)

“We have built a system that will have physicians getting better decisions on patients, and the fact we have so much data is a paradigm shift that the medical profession has been waiting for years to get,” said Salomon. “This is important for medical care in general, and for coronavirus.”

Salomon said that his company started building the system four years ago, received approval in Israel in March, and has been deployed on a research basis in five Americans hospitals for 10 months. It was installed at Ramat Gan’s Sheba Medical Center and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center at the start of the pandemic.

The new approval means it can be offered to hospitals across the US. Salomon said that this isn’t just good news for his company, but also for patients. “The more patients there are, the more data is generated inside the system, and the better the accuracy will be,” he said.

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