‘Digital healthcare revolution cannot be contained’

Henry Ford Health System’s head of anesthesiology says Israel and the US should work together to develop technologies that could save money and lives

Dr. Michael Lewis at the December Start-Up Nation Central and Henry Ford Health Systems "Get Noticed by US Healthcare Systems" event. (photo credit: START-UP NATION CENTRAL)
Dr. Michael Lewis at the December Start-Up Nation Central and Henry Ford Health Systems "Get Noticed by US Healthcare Systems" event.
“Technology does not have borders or boundaries,” said Dr. Michael Lewis, chair of anesthesiology at Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) in Michigan, which serves four million patients annually.
Lewis was in Israel last week for a collaborative conference with Start-Up Nation Central (SNC), hoping to find new solutions to address the world’s most pressing healthcare problems.
Originally from London, Lewis made aliyah in the 1980s. Today, he goes back and forth between Michigan and Israel several times per year “for professional reasons.
“Israel has a very unique ecosystem with a large number of entrepreneurial startups,” he explained. “Our goal is to kickstart the technology that could impact healthcare. We’re looking for the big impact stuff.”
Partnering with SNC on its fourth “Innovation Challenge: Technologies for Patient Monitoring in Hospital Settings” is one step toward solving the challenges facing the American and Israeli health systems, which he believes is best done together, Lewis told The Jerusalem Post.
Despite their difficulties, each system has its share of innovation and the technologies being developed that could allow healthcare professionals to “work to the top of their license” – meaning free them up to do what they were hired to do rather than clerical work – and could improve patient safety and outcomes, he said.
Lewis described a setting where “Mr. X,” age 70, was scheduled for surgery. However, at such a ripe age, X had comorbidities. In order to ensure he was ready for surgery, his doctor provided him with a medical monitoring device, which tracked the patient’s blood pressure and sugar level from home. When X’s blood pressure would rise, the doctor was electronically alerted and, in turn, sent a text message to the patient to increase his medication.
During the surgery, a Bluetooth monitoring device captured the patient’s vitals and sent them to the doctor, who only interfered if something needed troubleshooting. And when X went home, he continued to be virtually monitored, avoiding infection or other complications.
“Healthcare will be automated before we know it,” Lewis insisted. ”It will be relationships between robust partners across boundaries that will identify the unique technologies that will make it possible and have the most magnified impact on healthcare.”
Thirty-two companies entered the first round of the Innovation Challenge. Teams in the US and Israel virtually judged the companies and by the end of last week’s live competition, the entrants were narrowed down to five finalists. Those include Clair Labs, for example, which according to its website has developed a contact-free sensing solution that extracts a wide range of physiological and behavioral markers. Its AI engine uses those markers to analyze health-related parameters during sleep.
Another company, Biobeat, competed with its wearable monitor that allows remote, non-invasive and medical-grade accurate monitoring of numerous vital signs, as well as other significant physiological parameters. Similarly, ATLASense Biomed provides an innovative, mobile, continuous remote patient monitoring solution, according to its website.
CardiacSense is specifically for patients with hypertension. Patients wear a “watch” that delivers cardiac and blood pressure monitoring, 24/7/365, for as long as needed.
Finally, QuLab is focused on “revolutionizing” diabetes prevention, early diagnosis and management. Its nano sensor-based patch enables access to continuous metabolic data.
A winner, to be selected in January, will receive $75,000 to be used for product development at HFHS, plus access to mentors across various fields.
These are early-stage companies, Lewis explained, but he said he believes they all have a chance of entering the marketplace.
“Data-driven, digital healthcare would allow our systems to switch to a payer model based on the number of patients served to focus more on outcomes,” Lewis concluded. “This is global. This revolution cannot be contained.”