One of the health industry’s mega meetings is now underway in Las Vegas. HLTH has become a stomping ground for the health information, digital health and health tech ecosystem – from the behemoths of Google and Microsoft to the countless start-ups dotting small information booths throughout the “Sin City” exhibit hall.
HLTH has joined the roster of the must-attend plug-in industry meetings to exchange ideas and tackle sector-wide challenges. Attracting 10,000 people, it’s quickly become the replacement oasis for companies who once made San Francisco and JP Morgan their go-to roadshow stop. Here, leaders focus less on the financial side of their businesses and more on game-changing ideas, health challenges that must be raised on the multiple stages, and the pursuit of B2B partnerships.
But HLTH is more than just the medical watering hole of US-based hospital systems and health technology companies. It’s become a place for global innovators to rub shoulders with smaller enterprises to tap into the brain trust at the meeting and secure pilot programs and clients.
Israel As An Innovation Culture
The Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute (IEICI) has long served as the organizing body for Israeli life science companies looking to debut publicly or strengthen ties within the HLTH (and its newer sister meeting ViVE) meeting.
The IEICI Health Tech Sector is at the forefront in matching the more than 1,000 Israeli life science companies with potential worldwide partners. It’s a task – based on the country’s success – that has gotten easier and easier. Over the years, an abundance of Israeli companies have been sought and acquired by larger US-headquartered counterparts.
Israel’s health innovation ecosystem is characterized by a strong emphasis on research and development, focusing on fields such as medical devices, pharmaceuticals, digital health, and biotechnology. The country has a disproportionate number of engineers and a vast network of outstanding global academic institutions, including renowned universities like the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Weizmann Institute of Science, that are incubator launching pads for biomedical innovation and pharma-industry research collaborations.
US and Israeli Health Tech Agreements Fast Forward
Israeli startups have been instrumental in developing breakthrough technologies and treatments, from telemedicine to augmented intelligence, precision medicine and virtual and medical imaging. These innovations continuously improve health within Israel, home to Sheba Medical Center, one of Newsweek’s leading global hospital systems. They are exported globally, contributing to the country’s economy and worldwide standing as a top business development partner.
For Start-Up Nation attendees, the Las Vegas mega meeting comes on the heels of Israeli and US government leaders signing agreements that advance food security, drug and medical device licensing, public health collaboration around future pandemics, behavioral health, digital health, and the integration of augmented intelligence into the health ecosystem. HLTH was timed perfectly for follow-up conversations.
Israeli Health Exhibitors Face an Urgent Dilemma
While planning their travel to HLTH was long set, Israeli innovation champions faced an unbelievably sudden tornado of violence that has stunned the world – the massive attack by Hamas terrorists along its Southern border and endless barrages of rockets targeting its civilian centers. Sadly, that is not new to Israel. But, as HLTH planned to kick off on Sunday, October 8th, a country known for its life-saving innovation faced a vastly different situation.
Just as Israel was deploying its Iron Dome technology as a shield against waves of incoming missiles, the terrorist group Hamas launched a massive simultaneous ground attack against civilian villages around its shared border with Gaza. An IEICI delegation looking forward to being at HLTH and networking with others needed to pivot and make urgent changes to their travel plans. Some were already in the States for pre-HLTH meetings; others learned that homes were under siege and their young adults were being mobilized for defense. Their decisions were clear. Some remained in Israel, and others ran for US airports to secure the last seats on flights headed home to their beleaguered nation.
The remaining Israeli delegates seem in a fog—pained and worried about their family’s well-being. Some expressed concern for the Palestinian people who, for too many years, have been under the thumb of warlord-like terrorist rulers and need change.
“A difficult moment for Israelis…To my friends attending HLTH in Las Vegas, consider something unique for a trade show- find someone at the Israel pavilion, ask them how they are doing, and give them a big HUG. It means a lot right now.”
[We have not learned – or asked – IEICI delegates whether family members are missing or worse. The pain etched on people’s faces illuminated their anxiety and worries about family, friends and business colleagues. But Israeli businesses that Medika Life has written about in the past are grappling with the tragedies that have struck their community.]
Responding to the Horror in Israel
The HLTH organizers rallied to their Israeli counterparts in Las Vegas. Concern for their wellbeing – emotional and physical – has been a priority. The organization moved immediately to express support on its social media channel and encouraged meeting attendees to donate to the country’s emergency medical services.
“We are heartbroken for all the innocent people affected by the tragic events happening in Israel over the past few days. Among the international community at HLTH this year, we have over 100 attendees and sponsors from Israel, – including companies who are part of the Israel Export Institute Pavilion – some of whom are not able to make the event as a result. Our hearts are with all of those who have been affected. We stand with the many people and nations around the world that are currently under attack and being deprived of the freedoms we have today.
HLTH will be making a donation to the “AFMDA,” which is Israel’s National Paramedic and Red Cross Service. We encourage all of you to donate what you can. Please join us in donating here.”
Companies On the Innovation Radar Screen
The IEICI delegation and other Israeli companies attending cover the gamut of health innovation. Whether their exhibits were staffed and quickly abandoned as they headed home, all these companies should be on the radar screens of those looking to advance patient care and clinical decision-making. Here are some of those companies that caught my attention:
- 6Degrees, a wearable technology with an AI-driven intelligent controller that hones its ability to understand individual motion capabilities, enables people with upper limb disabilities to reclaim their digital lives. The motion-based controller translates movements into computer commands for any operating system or smart device. The founders saw the challenges of wounded veterans as an inspirational spark.
- Appscent Medical is tackling a health problem with a growing recognition of sleep apnea as a life-threatening respiratory condition impacting more than 900 million people worldwide. This medical device combines an AI diagnostic non-contact platform to monitor a patient’s breathing and sleep patterns. When approved for marketing by the Food and Drug Administration, it may become an alternative to the cumbersome CPAP machine.
- Belong.Life is a HLTH veteran. The company has become a global leader in patient engagement and the world’s largest cancer and multiple sclerosis and patient social and professional network and treatment platform. But more than bringing these large communities together for confidential conversation, Belong.Life provides a practical service that accelerates drug trial patient recruitment and therapy adherence. The big news has been the introduction of “Dave” – the world’s first real-time conversational AI oncology mentor providing empathetic and personalized answers to questions and concerns about cancer. For followers of decentralized clinical trials, Dave, along with Tara, a clinical trial AI assistant, (and Belong.Life) may be a vital ally in helping the process.
- Datos Health has its roots in consumer market insights. That genesis may explain why this automated remote care platform has moved fast to connect consumers with their providers and deliver hybrid healthcare across acuity or care-level situations with an ability to integrate with almost any EMR. While EPIC is the dominant health information platform, many other institutions, such as Amazon’s One Medical, have created their own system. Datos Health flexibility and its “Design Studio” enable the company to develop remote care programs from the drawing board up or tap into a client’s existing protocols.
- Ibex Medical Analytics is transforming cancer diagnostics with world-leading clinical grade AI-powered solutions for pathology. Empowering physicians and supporting pathologists, Ibex is on a mission to provide accurate, timely and personalized cancer diagnosis for every patient. Ibex’s Galen™ is the first and most widely deployed AI-powered platform in pathology. Pathologists worldwide use Galen™ as part of their everyday routine to improve the accuracy of cancer diagnosis, implement comprehensive quality control measures, reduce turnaround times and boost productivity with more efficient workflows.
- IntraPosition looks to improve the hospital’s operational system – the supply chain of patient care. The company offers a real-time location system technology with monitoring and analytics that keeps health professionals and hospital systems in the know. Israel has one of the world’s best and most efficient operating systems – from EMRs to supply chain management. The IntraPosition technology has been tried and tested in a high-performing environment.
- Kahun AI engine runs a tailored literature search for each patient based on its incredible library of more than 30 million evidence-based medical insights. Developing technology following the building blocks physicians are trained in, the Kahun system does not rely on its vast library alone – it draws on patient input. It offers providers recommendations to consider for further evaluation in patient care.
- Kemtai offers a real-time feedback and corrective guidance system for physical therapists and rehabilitation specialists that identifies and analyzes patients’ exact movements by tracking 111 body motion data points. As more and more preventive treatment – geared to avoid surgeries – is a first effort by payers and even orthopedists to understand how movement may exasperate already worrisome and painful problems. Like many of the newer technologies appearing in the field, Kemtai does not use wearables to collect data. Its system requires no special hardware, sensors or devices.
- Maverick Medical AI focuses on one of the more essential aspects of the health system – the medical coding that influences reimbursement and the economic sustainability of health systems and practices. Using AI to reduce mistakes and address payer and provider needs, it claims to offer the industry’s first 85 percent direct-to-bill rate accuracy.
- Neteera is a Food and Drug Administration-reviewed contactless remote patient monitoring platform that includes heart and respiratory rate and bio-data behavioral patterns. What’s unique is that there is no camera or microphone, so the platform is HIPAA- and GDPR-compliant for maximal privacy.
- QuantalX Neuroscience has developed a device to help neurologists, clinical trial champions, and patient communities through real-time diagnostic capabilities that detect neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Lewy Body Dementia, Parkinson’s, Small Vessels Disease, Stroke and Vascular Dementia. Perfecting electrophysiological imaging is possible through high-resolution magnetic pulses. The Delphi–MD device could evolve into a detection standard for early neurologic biomarkers.
- RespirationScan may provide an efficient, life-saving use for AI – using digital information technology to diagnose pneumonia in patients through exhaled breath and combining “cheminformatics and AI to engage respiratory disease. The company’s software finds biomarkers in breath and correlates them to VOCs, gases emitted into the air from products or processes that can alert physicians to medical risks.
- Nerivio by Theranica is the first and only Food and Drug Administration-cleared wearable device approved for ages 12 years and up for migraine treatment and prevention that works safely and effectively by activating natural pain pathways to inhibit migraine and associated symptoms. The company has been dedicated to investing in a continuous flow of research to reinforce its clinical outcomes.
- XOLTAR tackles one of the health sector’s most vexing problems – patient medication adherence. The challenge of patients to understand and follow through on their health providers’ guidance has both survival and economic impact. Combining the precision of technology and the human touch of skilled nursing, XOLTAR tackles the big issue – behavior. The success of their efforts could fill the financial hole of some $650 billion in lost annual revenues from patients not leaning into the advantages of participating more actively in their care.
The passion to change the course of patient care tapping science and technology was evident among those Israeli health innovation leaders able to attend and those that were rushing to airports. According to Joseph Mossel, Co-Founder and CEO of Ibex Medical Analytics:
“The future of cancer diagnosis is AI-powered. As cancer cases continue to climb while growing in complexity, we face a shortage in pathologists who are struggling to keep up with demand. Supporting a critical need for quality diagnosis, Ibex is catapulting the pathology industry into the AI-driven era, providing clinicians with the tools to ensure that every patient receives a timely, accurate and personalized cancer diagnosis. 2023 has been a record year for our company, with strategic partnerships, live customer deployments and funding, and Ibex has plans to significantly broaden its reach in the coming year.”
HLTH was an out-of-the-park success! The content and speakers were on-point and the use of the exhibit hall as central to the conversations was well-orchestrated. The incredibly difficult news coming out of Israel was a topic raised repeatedly by attendees concerned about friends made with the Israeli delegation in past years.
HLTH rose to the challenge by acknowledging the human toll and desire of the community to respond and support a nation well-recognized for its life-changing innovation that has become central to many life science advances. We look forward to following the companies who had planned to attend and share updates. We look forward to their speedy return to HLTH2024 in Vegas!