Israeli startup Zebra Medical Vision will begin deploying its revolutionary medical imaging AI solutions in one of Israel’s largest hospitals, Tel Aviv’s Ichilov, as well as with Clalit Health Services and Maccabi Healthcare Services – Israel’s largest and second-largest HMO, respectively. The three medical entities manage some 90 percent of patients in Israel, the company said in a statement.
Zebra Medical said it received government support through grants from the Israel Innovation Authority for these projects, but did not disclose financial details.
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The company, founded in 2014 by Eyal Toledano, Eyal Gura, and Elad Benjamin, uses AI to read medical scans and automatically detect anomalies. Through its innovative development and use of 11 different algorithms, Zebra Medical can identify visual symptoms for diseases such as breast cancer, osteoporosis, fatty liver, and conditions such as vertebral fractures, aneurysms, and brain bleeds.
At Ichilov, also known as the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, which runs Israel’s largest ER section, the technology will prioritize radiologists’ worklists by scanning entire queues and flagging those that need immediate attention, thereby allowing those with life-threatening issues to be attended to more quickly.
“Emergency room patients will have their cases prioritized by AI, and if a CT scan includes a brain bleed or if a chest x-ray contains an acute condition such as pneumothorax, the patient’s imaging scan will be prioritized and placed at the top of the radiologist’s list for review, leading to earlier initiation of treatment,” wrote Eyal Gura, Zebra Medical Vision’s co-founder and CEO, in a post announcing the partnerships.
Women who are members of the Maccabi HMO and patients of its private medical centers, meanwhile, may undergo their annual mammography exams where both expert radiologists and AI algorithms review the scans. This is in a bid to increase chances of any cancer detection earlier, and reduce unnecessary biopsies and risks of misdiagnoses.
“Traditional Computer Assisted Diagnosis (CAD) technologies failed in the past by exposing too many false positives and we are hopeful that AI can bring new insight to the process of the ‘second-reading’ of scans,” Gura wrote.
At the Clalit HMO, Zebra will apply its technology to detect early signs of osteoporosis and heart disease in patients and alert physicians who can then apply preventative treatments.
Gura explains that the benefits will also apply to caregivers, who can work more effectively and quickly to provide care, and to the state which can manage a better healthcare budget and
“Every patient with an undetected acute condition such as brain bleed, pneumothorax, or other undetected conditions such as breast cancer, ends up (in the best case scenario) with more days hospitalized, requiring more expensive treatments, with more working days lost and a greater lack of productivity for his or her surrounding family and direct contacts,” Gura wrote.
Gura said the company was “humbled by the opportunity” and remained
“committed to providing the best solutions to our local care providers”
“In 2020, the majority of the people around us, including our loved ones, will be impacted by the tools we are creating,” he said in the company statement. “There is nothing more satisfying than that for our team.”
The Israel Innovation Authority’s CEO Aharon Aharon said the government agency “believes digital health to be of imperative and strategic growth engine for the entire Israeli economy,” and that Zebra Medical Vision’s participation in the program “represents the flagship that will help[…] substantiate and promote digital health in Israel.”
Professor Ronni Gamzu, CEO of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, said: “As a global leading ER center, we put significant emphasis on being on the cutting edge in terms of technology solutions that will empower our team. We selected Zebra-Med’s AI solutions to help our team perform faster and better diagnostics and we are certain that hundreds of thousands of patients will benefit from this new technology.”
Zebra Medical has seven CE marks for its various algorithms and 510(k) FDA clearance for one of them. It has raised over $50 million in venture funding since it was established five years ago.
In 2017, Zebra Medical partnered with multinational tech giant Google to provide its algorithms on Google Cloud, so hospitals and medical professionals in the US can access the service for $1 per scan. The company says its data and research platform has already yielded AI imaging insights for millions of scans.