Sheba Medical Center launches innovation hub, declares global ambitions

New Innovation Hub at Sheba Medical Center Aimed at Accelerating Cutting-edge Technologies Developed by Israeli Digital Healthcare Start-ups.

Sheba Medical Center launches innovation hub, declares global ambitions  (photo credit: SHEBA MEDICAL CENTER)
Sheba Medical Center launches innovation hub, declares global ambitions
(photo credit: SHEBA MEDICAL CENTER)
Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer inaugurated its state-of-the-art ARC Innovation Center on Thursday evening, a hub to accelerate cutting-edge technologies developed by Israeli digital healthcare start-ups.
ARC, which stands for “Accelerate, Redesign, Collaborate,” aims for start-ups to work shoulder-to-shoulder with hospital staff to identify unmet clinical needs, develop solutions and bring them to the global healthcare marketplace.
The center for open innovation – which has already welcomed a dozen start-ups into its first cohort of entrepreneurs – focuses on six medical tracks, each headed by a senior Sheba physician: precision medicine, telemedicine, virtual reality, digital innovation focusing on big data and artificial intelligence, surgical innovation, and rehabilitation.
“Think about the world around us. We are in the midst of global turbulence and chaos – civil wars, climate change, raging forest fires, earthquakes, and the ultimate challenge of the emergence of new diseases,” said Sheba Medical Center director-general Prof. Yitshak Kreiss.
“We have two choices. One is to keep doing our work and turn a blind eye to the growing chaos around us and wait for someone else to make the world better. Or we have another choice, we can obligate ourselves to lead the change. We are obligated to take on the challenge and to implement global change in healthcare.”
The innovation center and its start-ups might be based in Ramat Gan, north of Tel Aviv, but they are united in their global ambitions. Driven by a desire to solve global healthcare challenges and the small size of the domestic market, Israeli healthcare solutions are always export-oriented.
Even prior to exporting healthcare innovation itself, ARC has already exported its innovative model. Canada’s Ottawa Hospital has already joined Sheba to embrace an open innovation philosophy, initially focusing on the need to address the predicted “flood of care demand” caused by the rapidly-growing elderly population. Discussions are underway for additional hospitals to adopt the model.
“Three years ago, we had a vision – a living ecosystem embarking on a mission to redesign healthcare so that we are able to meet the ever-growing challenges,” said Sheba chief innovation officer Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, who will lead the center together with Dr. Nathalie Bloch.
“During the past three years, some called it chutzpah and arrogance, but still we persisted. This evening, we dream of a possible future. Then we have to work hard to make that dream become a reality.”
The ARC Innovation Center has also partnered with venture capital fund Triventures to form Triventure ARC, a $45-million healthcare seed investment fund. Two major healthcare providers, Meuhedet and Leumit, have also joined forces with the initiative to implement innovative solutions in their operations.
Start-ups joining the ARC Innovation Center include AI-powered medical-imaging analysis company Aidoc, virtual-reality rehabilitation platform XRHealth, and treatment-compliance company Well-Beat.
“Aidoc carried out our first clinical trials at Sheba. The hospital’s commitment to research and excellence helped set us on the right course,” said Aidoc vice president of marketing Ariella Shoham. “Even as we expand globally, Sheba is still Aidoc’s home-base and a world leader in patient care.”
XRHealth is currently working on pilot programs with Sheba to convert it into “the first fully-integrated extended-reality hospital,” according to cofounder and CEO Miki Levy.
Incorporating virtual and augmented reality solutions into the medical workflow, the company already has projects with multiple sclerosis) clinics and rehabilitation centers. The technology can even replace sedation and pain distribution in certain cases.
More than one quarter of all Israeli medical clinical research takes place at Sheba, the largest hospital in the Middle East, which treats more than one million patients annually.
Earlier this year, the medical center was named by Newsweek magazine as the tenth best hospital in the world, highlighting its role as “a leader in medical science and biotechnical innovation, both in the Middle East and worldwide.”