Hillel's Tech Corner: Medial EarlySign - proactive healthcare

EarlySign is using machine learning-based algorithms from the business world and applying them to our medical data.

Medial EarlySign (photo credit: Courtesy)
Medial EarlySign
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A question I have asked myself (as I am sure you have) repeatedly over the past 10 years is: Why, despite all the technological advancements of the past decade, have we still not cracked cancer? Recent years have seen the advent of autonomous cars, advanced drones, virtual reality, mobile devices, to name but a few. How is it that we have not yet been able to use all this innovation to detect and treat this serious disease, among others?
This is, of course, a simplistic question – after all, not all cancers are the same. But this also applies to a vast range of life-threatening diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and a myriad of other chronic conditions and their downstream complications. Something inside me can’t help thinking that we are not capitalizing on all our tech advancements when it comes to disease detection and treatment the way we should.
One difficulty is that a non-symptomatic person can be harboring a serious illness and not even know it. They can continue going about their daily lives without any inclination that they are getting progressively sicker. It is a sobering thought, not just for that individual and their family, but the fact that we as a society haven’t developed the technology to forewarn these people that they are at high risk.
So, what is it that is preventing us from taking a more proactive approach to early detection? Is it the lack of data? Obviously that is not the issue, because we have seemingly endless amounts of health data at our fingertips. Perhaps the answer is that we actually have too much data, and that it is often so messy and unstructured that we have no way to make sense of it all.
Enter Medial EarlySign, a Hod Hasharon-based company that is addressing just this challenge. EarlySign is using machine learning-based algorithms taken from the business world and applying them to our medical data in order to assist healthcare providers with early detection and treatment of many life-threatening conditions.
EarlySign’s suite of outcome-focused software solutions, called AlgoMarkers™, analyzes dozens of “hidden” factors residing in electronic health records to assist healthcare systems with their efforts in early detection and prevention of high-burden diseases. This includes analyzing routine laboratory test results, existing electronic healthcare records, demographics, medications and diagnostic codes in order to accurately predict who is at highest risk of having or developing a specific disease.
THE COMPANY has raised a whopping $50 million and boasts an impressive roster of investors, including aMoon Fund; Horizon Ventures; and Nir Kalkstein, Israeli billionaire and co-founder of Final, one of the most successful algorithmic-trading companies worldwide. Nir, wishing to do some good for the world, co-Founded Medial EarlySign in 2013. Using market-proven financial algorithms, Nir applied his knowledge to the field of health, to uncover ‘hidden’ predictive signals in routine health data to help predict the risk of life-threatening diseases.
The amount of capital raised, combined with the quality of that capital, gives me hope that we have finally changed the paradigm of moving from “sick care” to “health care.” In other words, not waiting for patients to become sick in order to treat them, but actively taking steps to keep them healthy.
EarlySign’s AlgoMarkers are already helping clients identify patients at high risk for conditions such as lower gastrointestinal disorders, pre-diabetic progression to diabetes, downstream diabetic complications, coronary artery disease and equivalent events, and chronic kidney disease. The company currently works with global health organizations including Maccabi Healthcare Services in Israel, Kaiser Permanente, Geisinger Health, the University of Alabama Medical Center, and SLUCare in the US – all national healthcare leaders.
It is important to clarify that EarlySign does not provide a diagnostic or screening solution but rather a decision support tool to complement and work with health systems’ existing protocols and work-flows.
There is currently a lot of buzz around Health AI and what that really means, and EarlySign crucially has both retroactive data and clinical implementations with healthcare systems to support its vision and mission. EarlySign’s solutions have been validated in peer-reviewed studies with leading institutions, including the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Oxford University and Mayo Clinic.
The company’s solutions provide the first key step in enabling health players to be more effective in reaching out to individuals with rising risk trajectories so their conditions can be identified and treated as early and efficiently as possible.
I, for one, would rather know sooner than later if I was on a high-risk trajectory for progressing to a life-changing disease. I am also pretty sick of hearing stories about someone who went in for a routine check-up only to find out that they were very sick and a life-threatening disease was already in the advanced stages. There is no reason that our healthcare providers shouldn’t be taking a more proactive approach given the data at their disposal, and if EarlySign accomplishes its mission, they will be able to get us there.