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This selfie could save your life

Israeli startup Binah.ai is monitoring the vital medical signs of 50 million users for major insurers through a regular cellphone video

(Binah.ai)
(Binah.ai)

The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed healthcare, with millions of in-person examinations replaced by remote consultations.

Binah.ai, a cutting-edge digital healthcare startup, is proving to be a key problem-solver for one of healthcare’s most important players, insurance companies. Binah.ai has developed a remote health and wellness monitoring platform so effective that some of the top insurance firms in the world – and their 50 million users – have already signed up.

Using an ordinary 45-second selfie video taken on a standard smartphone, Binah.ai’s AI-powered software can measure heart and respiration rates, stress level, oxygen saturation and heart rate variability. It will soon be able to measure blood pressure as well – all based solely on analyzing changes in the reflection of light on facial skin.

The software is already being used by seven large insurance companies, primarily to screen applicants for life insurance.

“It was clear from the start how Binah.ai’s technology would support us in our digitalization roadmap, adding a valuable new source of health data to our operation,” says Carol Atkinson, managing partner for integration at Momentum Metropolitan, one of South Africa’s largest insurance companies. “We’ve operationalized this to create an easy-to-use client checkup and integrated it into our digital doctor program to give clients peace of mind. We get to assist clients with understanding their vitals and early intervention. It’s a win-win.”

The German arm of Generali, the Italian insurance giant, is creating a new wellness application that will integrate with the country’s push for digitized medical records.

“Generali Deutschland will launch Generali VitalSigns&Care, a state-of-the-art app available for download on anyone’s smartphone and capable of testing – just by using the camera – important vital parameters as well as enabling users to access assistance and prevention services when needed,” says Giovanni Liverani, CEO of Generali Deutschland. “With this new digital solution, we put advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to the service of our customers in a way that is affordable, fast, and easy.”

David Maman, Binah.ai’s CEO and founder, says he got the idea for the company while working on a project with Denso, a global automotive components manufacturer that, like most auto manufacturers, is working on autonomous vehicles.

“Most people are concerned about how to make sure that the car won’t run into the wall,” Maman says. “But I was concerned about the person in the car. What if I’m using an autonomous taxi to go to the airport and I get a heart attack? It means a corpse would get to the airport.”

That sparked Maman’s interest in what eventually became Binah.ai, which is the 13th company he’s founded, one of which was acquired by the Chinese tech giant Huawei. Binah is the Hebrew word for “wisdom” or “intelligence.”

Maman says the medical industry is rapidly evolving and needs to adopt new technologies – if only to support medical staff.

“If in the past an insurance company would tell you to go see a nurse to check your vital signs, now we can partly do it remotely,” he says. “Companies understand that not everyone is vaccinated and Covid is alive and kicking.”

The technology analyzes the light that reflects and interacts with our skin and then returns to the camera, says Dr. Naveh Tov, Binah’s chief medical officer.

“You have three main colors in the light — blue, green, and red — and the software can analyze these signals to extract the changes in blood volume in the tissues,” Tov says.

Binah.ai’s algorithm has already done the necessary adjustment so all you have to do is point your camera or tablet at your face and and click the button. The camera on any smartphone or mobile device will work, he says.

While there are several startups, including some in Israel, that offer remote health monitoring using dedicated hardware, Binah.ai is the only one that requires nothing more than its software running on an ordinary mobile device.

Binah.ai has a team of 65 employees in Israel, the US, Japan and Europe. It hopes to get FDA certification to use the software as a standalone medical device within the next year, opening up new opportunities for the company.

Binah.ai is looking ahead to being able to provide more health information, and the next milestone is blood pressure. Studies show that more than a third of US adults, and over a quarter of adults around the world, have high blood pressure. The condition is often not diagnosed until it leads to a stroke. If all patients had to do was look into a camera for 45 seconds to get their blood pressure taken, Binah.ai could save many lives.

Binah.ai is now funding on the OurCrowd investment platform. For more information click HERE.

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