Tel Aviv, Israel — The Innovation Authority, the arm of the Israeli government responsible for advancing industrial R&D throughout the country, has given a multi-million-dollar grant to Zebra Medical Vision, a digital health startup, to integrate its AI-powered offerings across many of Israel’s biggest hospitals. Founded in 2014, Zebra is a medical imaging platform enabling radiologists to manage unwieldy workloads without compromising quality of care. 

Zebra’s AI automatically prioritizes those medical images that are most likely to reflect serious health issues. In addition, it indicates the area of an image where a physician is most likely to identify a pathological problem. The technology works with x-rays, CT scans, and mammography, and the company stresses that such capabilities empower radiologists and in no way replaces them. 

Hospitals across the country will leverage Zebra in different ways. One of Israel’s health systems, Clalit Health Services, will use Zebra’s tech to connect all doctors in its network, so that they receive alerts when a patient displays high risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, and other serious conditions. Maccabi Health Services will use it to deliver second opinions in breast cancer diagnoses, as its C.E.O., Varda Shalev, explains, “The combination of man and machine brings us to new heights in the treatment of cancer. The integration of Zebra allows early, accurate detection of breast cancer, which is key to successful treatment.”

Ronni Gamzu, C.E.O. of Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center, echoes Shalev, explaining that his hospital is using Zebra to “perform better and faster diagnostics, and we are certain that hundreds of thousands of patients will benefit from this new technology.” This helps eliminate long lines in the ER. 

Zebra’s C.E.O., Eyal Gura, says, “Our team is humbled by the credit that was given to us by the Innovation Authority and is committed to giving 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. There is nothing more satisfying than that for our team.”

Why This Matters

Though Zebra is headquartered in Israel, the Israeli government saw that the startup was already accessing and equipping other hospitals across the world. The Innovation Authority gave Zebra this grant after it saw that Israel’s health systems were, on this front, laggards. The incredible pace of change calls for regular, actionable introspection. 

About the Author:

Ben helps spark innovative healthcare thinking as Associate Director of Innovation. Previously on the editorial staff of Vanity Fair, he brings experience in engaging, rigorous storytelling to the healthcare world. Ben’s goals are to move brands to rethink their roles, own their evolving narratives, and maintain vital and vigorous consumer relationships.