Israel tech firms are taking the lead in mobile health

Through apps or the web, mHealth is providing more personalized healthcare without a visit to the doctor’s office

Luke Tress is a video journalist and tech reporter for the Times of Israel

The mHealth Israel conference in Jerusalem, June 29 2015 (Courtesy)
The mHealth Israel conference in Jerusalem, June 29 2015 (Courtesy)

Mobile health, or mHealth, is a fast-growing global industry that uses mobile technology to improve the practice of medicine. And Israel is at the cutting edge of that technology.

The industry in Israel has seen a growth spurt in recent years, with 28 digital health companies established in 2014, up from 17 the year before, according to mHealth Israel.

Mobile health is all about the apps – enabling people to interact while on the move with websites and online databases that help both with the maintenance of health, such as fitness apps that guide users to proper exercise and diet as well as apps that help individuals with health problems, including diabetics.

Levi Shapiro, lead organizer of the mHealth Israel Conference, said Israel is an ideal setting for mobile health technologies due to its start-up culture and healthcare system.

“Israel has also had electronic medical records for 24 years,” he noted, giving start-ups a huge trove of historical data to tap into.

The mHealth conference, which was held last month at Hebrew University brought together investors, entrepreneurs, health professional and hospital executives to see the latest technology produced in Israel for mobile health and discussed trends and opportunities in the industry.

The focus of the conference, however, was global. Presentation topics included digital healthcare in Africa and China, and market rankings for health apps in the European Union.

Among the Israeli mobile health companies that are operating abroad is Medivizor, which personalizes health information for individuals, said Dr. Tal Givoly, the founder and CEO of the company.

Medivizor maintains a large database that allows users to input personal data relating to their own situation — users answer 10-15 personal questions about themselves and their treatment history and, via an app or web site, get back information and updates about treatments, clinical trials, relevant medical institutions, experts and more.

Founded in 2012, Medivizor aims to provide users with information that is easy to understand and relevant to the user.

“There is too much medical research being published for any doctor to keep up with,” Givoly said, “so we process the information for both doctors and patients.”

Last year, Medivizor entered into a partnership with New York Presbyterian Hospital, providing information for hospital patients and staff powered by the Medivizor database.

The need for the service is most acute for people with chronic and serious illnesses, Givoly stressed, although not all medical conditions are currently covered by the service.

“People all find the same information on the Internet, but it’s not personalized,” he said. “The Internet doesn’t know about them, but we do, and we can help them ferret out the information that will really help them.”

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