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From pregnancy tests to ultrasound scans, medical technology is with us from before we’re even born. When someone is unwell, diagnostics and medical devices help healthcare professionals restore them to full health as quickly as possible. Medtech is such an integral part of our lives that it might be surprising to learn some of its aspects haven’t changed at all and for longer than some might think.
That’s beginning to, yes, change, as medtech entrepreneurs identify the gaps and work toward filling them. From artificial intelligence to 5G capabilities to robotics, medtech has now begun to reshape the most delicate bastion of healthcare: medical procedures.
One country, in particular, has turned medical heads in recent years. Israel, whose healthcare technology market is valued at $6.2 billion, according to the International Trade Administration, has leveraged its tech-oriented entrepreneurial spirit to find solutions for gaps in medical care and technology that will literally save lives. Much of its success can be attributed to its interdisciplinary capabilities; which successfully brings together medicine, clinical expertise, software expertise, and engineering proficiency to optimize its strive toward innovation in health.
Clearing up feeding
Since medical errors in hospitals were cited as the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the BMJ, the issue of effective enteral feeding protocols has become a point of increasing concern in recent years, particularly in treating ICU patients. Around the world, 22 million feeding tubes are placed each year, often by nurses using traditional blind insertion techniques. Misplacing the tube in the lung can produce fatal consequences, yet these losses have slowly become the accepted collateral of high-risk ICU procedures.
It’s unsurprising feeding tubes can be dangerous, as the system used to place them has barely changed since the 80s. ENvizion Medical, a trailblazing company based in Tel Aviv, tackles this problem by developing the next generation of electromagnetic feeding tube placement devices.
The company’s system, dubbed “the Waze of feeding tubes,” utilizes multiple sensors and known anatomical landmarks to generate an image mapping of each patient’s anatomy up to the upper GI tract in order to trace the feeding tube accurately and avoid misplacement. By providing vision at the bedside, ensuring accurate placement and quicker feeding times to combat malnutrition, ENvizion’s system is helping reshape our approach to patient safety. The technology may not only turn conventional enteral feeding on its head but also the way in which medical procedures, some of which have been widely accepted for decades, can be refined through technological ingenuity.
Early bird catches the worm
Medical imaging technology pioneer Nanox made its Wall Street debut in 2020 with Israel’s largest IPO of a young medical company in history. The Neve Ilan-based company is planning to play its part in revolutionizing early-detection healthcare. When ready, it will deploy global medical imaging infrastructure at an affordable price-per-scan service model, subjected to regulatory approvals. The system aims to improve the accessibility and affordability of early detection services through medical screening as a service (MSaaS) and increase the availability of imaging as a standard of care.
Early detection and pre-operational analysis through AI is becoming an increasingly effective method for optimizing medical procedures. The area of automation in health tech enables imaging to be utilized in medical institutions that may not have the resources or access to heavy-duty scanners.
A breath of fresh air
In recent years, the country’s medtech brains have placed a great emphasis on improving elements of medical procedures, which have for too long been assumed the best method available. Mechanical ventilation (MV) has existed as one of the last-resort interventions used to treat patients in intensive care units, yet resorting to it can, and has, exposed patients to certain high-risk complications.
That’s where Inspira Medical has stepped into the fold, developing a respiratory support technology to be used as an alternative to mechanical ventilation. The company’s intravascular oxygenation device, OXSPIRA, safely raises oxygen levels and reduces carbon dioxide in the patient’s venous blood, enabling physicians to address the primary ventilatory condition, without the complications associated with MV. Patients are left awake and alert, allowing for their lungs to rehabilitate without the intrusive process of intubation. The burden and risks attached to conventional methods are slowly being chipped away through innovations such as these, and it’s these forward strides which are completely reshaping our confidence in medical procedures.
There is simply no denying the emergence of medtech as a rising force for good, and Israel’s medtech scene is as promising as the country’s nickname, “Startup Nation.” Israel’s digital health ecosystem is positioned to evaluate gaps in traditional medical processes, and how they can be addressed through available technologies. What’s becoming increasingly apparent is that medtech in Israel has now matured to a stage in which it is now penetrating the most precarious and risky elements of the medical process: procedures. The timing for such innovation couldn’t be better.