The Israeli Digital Health Ecosystem: What We Always Wanted to Know – Panel Discussion

Israel is famous for its highly functional, constantly evolving health tech and biotech ecosystems. An all-female panel discussion at the most recent Frontiers Health Conference included a top nurse-entrepreneur, a leading VC, and the country’s largest telehealth provider.

It was a unique opportunity to virtually meet inspiring leaders sharing their firsthand experiences in co-creating the startup nation’s digital health landscape while also hearing the views on telemedicine in Israel and its great advances expressed by the panel’s guests. The importance of nurses and caregivers became extremely evident during the pandemic and the panel also discussed how the empowerment of women is destroying established roles, and how in Israel, it’s possible for doctors, nurses, and caregivers to form teams without a single hierarchy.

Digital lealth leader Ravit Warsha Dor , Partner at Kamet Ventures, told the panel how exciting it is was to receive significant funding from the government, as the resources are being used to advance digital health and generate different telemedicine roles and ecosystems.

This investment has helped startups and hospital by generating financial and medical value that has contributed to the creation of digital activities and mature ecosystems. For example, the AI technology portal has contributed to the expansion of the ecosystem. In Israel, there is always a search for innovative collaboration with big companies, industries, and government, which is very interesting.

What is the secret driving this? They are proud, and there is a lot of investment in this area because the money helps licensing and advancement. Stakeholders are always seeking partnerships between investors and startups to magnify and improve the entire digital ecosystem. Having different points of view and investors from different sectors is also important to achieving success. Israel is the place where tech data, algorithms, and investors who understand the market all converge.

Four important keys to the secret’s success are:

  • – Access to patients
  • – Quality of the materialprovided
  • – Convenience in relation todigital products
  • – Outlook

Oranit Ido , VP Marketing and Products Development at Femi, went on to explain that Israel offers vital technology, and that telemedicine is not just about putting a camera between patient and doctor. It is much more than a screen and understanding the context is crucial. Above all, it’s important to create the right system with a waiting room that benefits patients since everyone needs to be transparent in the world of telemedicine.  Also essential to success is being able to see all the people interested in telemedicine, as well as the quality and enormous benefits it offers for all diseases and all types of doctors. Telemedicine continues to grow; however, hospital visits are also on the, reaching pre-pandemic growth levels by late 2021. One of telemedicine’s biggest patient benefits is that it allows them to organize their life while simultaneously accessing the services of a doctor both during and outside of regular hours.

One very important point is that it’s not digital health, it’s digital wellness. It’s wellbeing for doctors and patients, and a priceless improvement in the quality of life and personal organization of everyone involved. When we utilize existing technology and increase investment and integration, we develop ever more advanced technology that generates wellness for a wide array of end users. These tools, their integration, and the opportunities they provide also exist in Europe and have provided many new wellness and organization options to medical patients across the continent. For Femi, the business opportunities of being based in a smaller country allows for the kind of trial and error that makes things to happen, thanks to technology and intellectual property.

Israel’s strengths are science and talent, so having access to and making use of these is an advantage that results in medical advances such as those in telemedicine.

R&D: The New Investment Model  

The traditional investment model works but based on the evaluation of early investment rounds investing very early on is an important key. Another is to offer different investments with different points of view and different approaches. While it’s not a new model, it is a new test that fits quite well. The conference session concluded with the following astute advice from the panel’s speakers:

Ravit Warsha Dor: I think the connection that we are a small country, knowing the real history, and how friendly we are is a reason to work with us.

Noa Choritz: I find Israel a very curious place where it’s easy to meet people and start a conversation, be curious and ask questions, and grow up learning more about the culture every day.

Irit Yavit: In the face of a global health crisis, the development of life sciences and medical technologies is paramount. A unique and a novel investment structure established in Israel in 2019, e.g. a Public R&D partnership. Since the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) allowed the flotation of R&D partnerships companies, 14 new partnerships were listed.  Almeda was the third R&D partnership joining TASE; and the first partnership from the life sciences sector.  As  a HealthTech focused public R&D partnership, it invests on a global basis while focusing on Medical devices, Digital health and Bio-convergence. Almeda Ventures partnership grants  investors of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange access to the life sciences sector. This sector offers investors an opportunity to contribute to the development of life-saving technologies while making a profit.

Oranit Ido: Another mention is that for the Israeli community, the technology alone is not enough, it’s the services, the doctors and improvements in a patient’s path that matter., If you enter the Israeli community, you will see that we are always open to knowledge and having more technology to offer more and more services. Let’s all move on make it happen!

Nana Bit-Avragim: The health data-driven and open innovation-enabling path developed and implemented in Israel is unique but can be applied to any health and life sciences ecosystems and geographies. In our session, we have highlighted a few key areas as 1) open innovation as the foundation for the emerging vital infrastructure; 2) funding capabilities as the opportunity; 3) innovation adaption and delivery with agility and pace;  5) entrepreneurial and open mindset as cultural asset of cross-border and industries collaborations.

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