Israel gets serious about Digital Health

One of the most exciting things to come out of our recent trip to Israel was the chance to spend time with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and hear more about the digital health initiative he had unveiled at Davos the week before.

Medical records in Israel have been fully digitised for seventeen years now, in a platform accessible by all health care professionals across the country.  Israeli citizens each hold a health card, and when they walk into a healthcare provider that card is swiped bringing up all of their medical information.  This has not only delivered untold benefits in terms of ready access to information for decision making and patient care throughout that nearly two decade window, but has also created a rich and extensive data set.

Applying AI to this data set creates an amazing opportunity to gain insights into a myriad of different issues.  This could include increasing understanding around how diseases progress, what impact the presence of concomitant disease states has, how different treatments and medicines impact different patient cohorts – the list of possibles goes on and on.

Prevention is always better than cure both in terms of patient outcomes and cost of care, and the learnings this project will deliver could well see exciting advances in this holy grail of healthcare.  I’m also fascinated to see what additional insights can be gleaned when patient generated data is also added into the mix, the data captured via wearables, sensor and other IOT devices.

There has been so much talk about the disruptive potential of digital health, and it’s incredibly exciting to see a country invest not only 1 billion shekels in funding but also, and probably more importantly, access to the data that enables that potential to be tested for the first time.

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