Israeli health-tech accelerator is reaching out to Canadian medical centres
March 29, 2019
A health-technology accelerator at the biggest hospital in Israel is now striking up co-development agreements with Canadian hospitals to mutually devise and test innovations.
The Accelerate-Redesign-Collaboration (ARC) centre, an incubator at the 2,000-bed Sheba Medical Center, recently formed alliances with The Ottawa Hospital, McGill University Health Centre, and discussions are in the works with the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM).
ARC is reaching out to other hospitals in Canada that are interested in fostering innovation and testing new concepts.
In the United States, ARC is already working with Stanford Hospital and Clinics, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Henry Ford Health System, among others.
Some 28 companies are now working with ARC, which started about a year ago at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel HaShomer. “They get access to our anonymized data, and we are one of the most digitized hospitals in the world,” commented Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, chief medical officer and chief innovation officer at Sheba. He added the data must also stay on site, as an additional privacy measure.
ARC was exhibiting at the recent HIMSS conference in Orlando, Fla. It was seeking to publicize its programs and attract further partnerships with medical centres, universities and entrepreneurs, as well as with industry partners and potential investors.
Prof. Robert Klempfner, Director of the Cardiovascular Prevention Institute in Israel, is part of the team at ARC. He explained that ARC is forming partnerships with organizations around the world to share expertise and jointly test new ideas.
“If an idea works in Israel and it also works in Rochester and Ottawa, it’s even more valid,” said Dr. Klempfner.
He said that unlike most accelerators and incubators, the idea for technologies at ARC start in the hospital. “We’re looking at the pain-points of our institutions, and we’re looking for solutions,” noted Dr. Klempfner. He observed that normally, it’s the other way around – companies come to incubators with solutions they already have in the works.
He said there will be ARC centres established in Canadian hospitals, but that ARC is to be more of a state of mind than a physical space. “They don’t need floor space, they need ideas,” said Dr. Klempfner. “The goal is to create a culture of innovation among nurses, doctors, CFOs, and others.”
In short, ARC is to be an “ecosystem for start-ups”. He noted that ARC at Sheba just gave out 15 grants of $50,000 each to what they call Level One start-ups. There will be additional levels of development, including partnerships with large companies like Google, Microsoft and Boston Scientific, to help scale-up innovations.
After a year in operation, there are many promising ventures coming out of ARC, said Dr. Klempfner. They include a tele-cardio rehab project, currently in partnership with St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.
Dr. Klempfner observed that after suffering a heart attack, many patients don’t return to hospital for rehab, which reduces their chances of a good recovery.
“Only 20 percent of the patients in Canada return for cardio rehab,” he said. So instead, ARC and St. Paul’s are testing the use of remote monitoring and wearable devices, such as the Apple watch or the Garmin watch, with specialized apps for cardio rehab.
“We believe that you can solve 99 percent of the problem of rehab without the patient coming to the hospital,” said Dr. Klempfner.