Hillel's Tech Corner: Clues to the COVID-19 crisis

CLEW Medical are literally navigating the maze of patient data providing clues where they are most needed and where there would otherwise be none.

A HEALTHCARE worker checks on patients remotely by using CLEW Medical’s AI-based technology.  (photo credit: CLEW MEDICAL)
A HEALTHCARE worker checks on patients remotely by using CLEW Medical’s AI-based technology.
(photo credit: CLEW MEDICAL)
To say that these times are challenging would be a laughable understatement. This coronavirus pandemic is quickly becoming one of the most challenging times humanity has ever known.
There are the obvious health tragedies of families being ripped apart.
Let’s start with the families that are finding themselves facing a new reality, seemingly overnight. Just yesterday, I received a call from my best friend, a doctor on the front lines in NY. He told me how many patients diagnosed with  COVID-19 died during his shift in the last 24 hours alone. He told me he can’t get the screams of the families he had to notify that they had lost their loved ones out
of his head.
Then there are the financial components of this crisis that are equally tragic, with endless families entering the unemployment cycle for the first time ever. Private practitioners, such as dentists, and entertainers are suddenly in a position where they need to close their doors with no indication of when they will reopen. We should not belittle the results of the economic crisis.
There are the blue-collar workers, those who are on the front lines who are continuing to go out there and do their job. People in the food industry, such as grocery store employees, truck drivers and warehouse workers; people like janitors, sanitation workers, gas station attendants, and many more; so many are going out there every day while their families worry in fear that their loved ones stay safe. Let’s not even discuss everyone in the medical field, some of whom enter their home and go straight to quarantine in order to keep their families safe.
Lastly, there are, of course, the emotional hardships as well that accompany the isolation and loneliness of this horrible pandemic.
For me personally, the most challenging aspect here, as someone who always likes to find optimism in every situation, is that we truly have no clue when all of this insanity will end. It is hard to manage a crisis when there is no end in
For this reason, the work that CLEW Medical is doing could not possibly be more important. The name CLEW is taken from Greek mythology and refers to the ball of string used by Theseus to navigate the labyrinth. This company is literally navigating the maze of patient data providing clues where they are most needed and where there would otherwise be none.
I heard about CLEW Medical from the company’s investor, Pitango.
Once I did a little digging, I realized two things. The first was that I absolutely have to write about this company. The second was just how fortunate we are to be living in a country full of entrepreneurs who have literally dedicated their lives and their livelihoods to saving humanity, and that is not even an exaggeration.
JUST THIS week, an Israeli organization called Start-up Nation Central released a graphic full of Israeli companies developing products to combat corona. The list is extensive and the graphic is highly impressive. All this is from a tiny country smaller than New Jersey in the worst neighborhood on earth. 
How is that for some optimism?
CLEW's mission is to provide healthcare providers and administrators with high-accuracy predictive clinical analytics that improve clinical outcomes and reduce hospital costs.
The company has developed an analytics engine that detects deterioration in real-time and delivers predictive warnings during all phases of a patient’s ICU stay. Can you see where I am going with this yet and why this is so incredibly crucial today in an environment where people are dying because ICUs cannot handle the burden of people needing urgent care?
CLEW's predictive platform has the flexibility to manage large patient populations without losing individualized treatment needs.
CLEW’s platform provides predictive analytics to detect respiratory
deterioration in advance.
As of last week, two hospitals, Sheba Medical Center and the Ichilov Hospital at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, are already working with CLEW to manage and treat patients infected with COVID-19.
In the US, the CLEW-ICU system is currently undergoing extensive testing in TeleICU facilities at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, and WakeMed in Raleigh, North Carolina. The company recently submitted its 501K application for potential FDA approval.
Using their technology, hospital staff realize that CLEW’s technology can assist in their battle to save as many lives as they can by optimizing their processes and the efficiency of their staff while simultaneously protecting frontline care workers.
So how does this all work?
The CLEW platform uses artificial intelligence (AI) based on predictive analytics to exponentially expand ICU capacity and resources. This is quite literally what we need most right now! Its algorithms are trained to identify respiratory deterioration in advance, enabling early interventions that might change the clinical outcome, especially in COVID-19 patients. This allows
healthcare workers to identify disease severity from a remote command center and act accordingly.
Just a few days ago, on a Zoom call, I had the chance to interview a doctor in the ICU at Ichilov. He reported that the ICU was not as full as they had anticipated, however, they will remain cautiously optimistic as they expect that to change in the coming days and weeks ahead. If there was a way to optimize those processes by leveraging predictive technology, that would be a huge victory for the healthcare system and for COVID patience throughout the world.
CLEW Medical was Founded in 2015 and is headquartered in Netanya.
The company has raised $20 million from investors including Israeli venture capital firm Pitango with participation from Israeli VC, Agate, as well as Relyens, a leading European mutual insurer for healthcare professionals, and German medical cooperation Rhön-Klinikum AG.
The company might have launched in 2015, but given today’s global crisis, has recently become more relevant and crucial than ever. Its machine-learning models enable ICU workers to proactively manage disease severity and workload. The system is used remotely, so can be scaled to cope with patient volume surges, while reducing a caregiver’s exposure risk to infected patients.
Said simply, that is huge!
As for the company itself, it was founded by serial entrepreneur and former Venture Partner at Pitango, Gal Salomon and MindSpeeds’ former CTO, Avigdor Faians, both of whom bring an incredible amount of knowledge, experience and expertise to the table. With a mission like CLEW’s, you need an absolute A-team, and the people in this company meet that criteria, and then some.
The company’s advisory board is no less impressive, with professionals from Harvard Medical School, Stanford Medical School, Assuta Medical Center, Tel Aviv Medical Center, University of Chicago and more.
CLEW Medical has been recognized over the years for its excellence including winning first place in a startup competition hosted by Calcalist and Microsoft.
I think the absolute necessity of CLEW’s technology on a global scale is obvious to everyone. Now the question remains, how does the global community tap into the incredible innovation developed by this small Netanya-based
company and fast? The sooner, the better!