Startup that detects your ills by analyzing your voice wins contest

Israel’s Healthymize, which uses AI to spot symptoms of diseases such as asthma and heart failure, takes first place in mHealth competition

Levi Shapiro, founder of mHealth, at the opening event in Jerusalem on September 14, 2017 (Courtesy)
Levi Shapiro, founder of mHealth, at the opening event in Jerusalem on September 14, 2017 (Courtesy)

The future of disease prevention may be in our voices.

At least that is what Israeli medical startup Healthymize believes. The firm has developed technology that uses artificial intelligence to analyze the voice and breathing of patients via a regular voice call to detect symptoms of diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure and mental illnesses.

The startup’s technology nabbed first prize last week in the connected health startup contest of mHealth Israel, which touts itself as “the largest connected health community in the Middle East” with more than 4,500 active members. The four-year-old competition took place in Jerusalem, with the support of the Jerusalem Development Authority.

Healthymize’s patented technology seeks to detect disease quicker and to initiate treatment sooner, increasing chances of survival and full recovery of the patient, by turning smartphones, tablets, smart watches and home virtual assistants into continuous health monitoring devices, the organizers of the event said in a statement about the winning firm.

Healthymize also uses its AI-based technology to detect worsening symptoms or flareups and alert medical teams in time to get help to the patients earlier, possibly saving their lives.

“We’re grateful to be acknowledged for our technology and for the opportunity to improve patients’ quality of life while significantly saving on the cost burden on both patients’ families and the health system,” said Dr. Shady Hassan, co-founder and CEO of Healthymize and attending physician of internal medicine at Carmel Medical Center in Haifa. “We expect this win and the recognition in the value of our technology to accelerate our planned pilots and our deployment with connected health partners around the world.”

The conference was attended by over 500 health tech startups from around the world, including Israel, Europe and the US, the organizers said. More than 70 startups vied for the final prize. Finalists included radiology health tech startup AI DOC, which applies deep learning and AI to medical images and data, Augmedics, Neetera, Day Two, Eye Control, Dreamed Diabetes, MedyMatch and Wikaya.

Speakers at the event included former UK health minister Nicola Blackwood.

“Israel has a tremendous amount of health innovation and talent to offer the world, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting some extraordinary companies during my visit,” said Blackwood.

“Startups are helping to pave the way for a promising healthcare future, but they must be careful not to fall into the trap of ‘build it and they will come.’ For healthcare startups to succeed, they must deeply understand the market and how their solution fits into it. They should not assume the market will adapt to fit their solution.”

Founded by Levi Shapiro in 2013, mHealth Israel aims to create global awareness of Israel as a leader in health technologies and to actively connect Israeli digital health startups with global healthcare leaders.

“It is incredible to see the growth of the community and the significant global interest in the breakthroughs being produced by our innovators,” said Shapiro. “We are helping to accelerate the path towards a healthier future.”

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