“There was no recession and no slowdown, only an increase in demand”
Speaking at "The Future is in HealthTech” panel as part of a series of gatherings sponsored by Calcalist and Start-Up Nation Central, Dr. Shiri Sadeh-Sharvit, Chief Clinical Officer at Eleos Health added: “The willingness of professionals to explore with digital technology has increased, but they will not experiment with things they feel don’t have value”
There was a bubble in the healthtech industry, but the horizon is still very optimistic. This was the main message coming out of "The Future is in HealthTech" panel as part of a new series of meetings sponsored by Calcalist and Start-Up Nation Central that aims to focus on some of the sectors that have not yet realized their potential.
“We have seen a meteoric rise in digital medical appointments. Many bodies, both doctors, insurers, and consumers have experienced real digital health for the first time and in huge quantities. Once we thought that home medicine was an exception, used only in an emergency when hospitals were closed and the doctor was not available, but not anymore,” said Dedi Gilad, co-founder and CEO of TytoCare. “Now in digital health they are trying to differentiate between what works and what doesn’t. This is in contrast to the pandemic period that ‘everything worked’ because there was no other real choice. The fact that insurers are starting to demand technological solutions is a sign that the market has reached maturity because they do not want it ‘anecdotally’. They actually offer virtual health insurance plans at lower costs."
“The world will never go back to what it was”
"The pandemic has pushed us all into cyberspace and the world of health has had to advance the entire field of remote medicine and we have seen a sharp increase of hundreds of percent,” said Michal Geva, Managing Partner at Triventures. “However, despite a decline of about 30% after the pandemic, the use of telemedicine still stands at more than 30% today - compared to the single-digit rate on the eve of the pandemic - and the trend will not stop. The world will never go back to what it was. There are whole areas - like mental health - that people actually prefer to receive the service or treatment in the app instead of in a personal meeting. That means more people feel comfortable about the treatment remotely. Medical professionals report the effectiveness of the treatment and for the most part, these treatments are not only more convenient, they are also cheaper for everyone.”
"The variability between sectors is very high - for example, in mental health today about 60% of the sessions are virtual compared to 4% in other fields (US data),” explained Dr. Nadav Shimoni, head of digital health at Arkin Holdings. “What we understand today is that during the pandemic period there were many different attempts that worked perfectly because of the pandemic but it is very difficult to make them into a ‘business’ in the sense that they can be replicated on a wider scale."
Bringing more medicine to more people and at a lower price
“The problem,” says Dr. Shimoni, “is not the technology at all - it is already there. It exists. What is missing are the psychological elements. That the doctors and patients feel comfortable in this interaction. As a doctor, I know that one of the important things that is taught to us in medical schools is to ask, and immediately after that to ‘touch’. There is no way around it. There is still no training in medical schools on how to conduct oneself with patients virtually and therefore it makes doctors feel uncomfortable in the new situation. Also we need to solve how we can bring more medicine to more people and at a lower price. Therefore, there is still a lot of room for a lot of solutions that we have not yet seen.”
“There has been a dramatic change among providers that started back in 2017,” noted Dr. Shiri Sadeh-Sharvit, Chief Clinical Officer at Eleos Health. "The professionals did not recognize it and were puzzled by it: ‘I want to be in the same room with my patient’ - they said. There was very strong opposition to this - up until the pandemic hit. Therapists adapted to the new reality. Now there is much more openness to integrate technologies, Zoom, virtual reality, and other applications. The willingness of professionals to explore has also increased, but they will not experiment with things they feel don’t have value. By the way, with us there was no recession and no slowdown, only an increase in demand for mental health treatment."
"We try to take advantage of the whole local and international situation to promote this whole ecosystem,” said Eliran Elimelech, VP of Ecosystem Development at Start-Up Nation Central. “We are talking about four levels. The first is capital, how we help companies and startups to reach money. The second level is human capital which is critical. The third is ‘institutional capital’, what are the institutions that encourage innovation (academia, hospitals, etc.). And the fourth is global capital: we are exposed to countless international companies and corporations and they seek to be exposed to Israeli innovation in all its forms.”