June 26, 2019

Sheba’s ARC Program Is Paving the Way for Digital Health Care

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Sheba Medical Center’s recently established Accelerate Redesign Collaborate (ARC) Innovation Center is focused on developing new innovations to help the medical world in its shift toward digital health care, Sheba Chief Medical and Innovation Officer Dr. Eyal Zimlichman told the Journal in an interview.

ARC is built on four main components: digital health, open innovation, collaborations and building a home for innovation.

On digital health, “the technology is there,” according to Zimlichman.

“We don’t need to invent any new technology. I’m talking about wearables, I’m talking about censors, I’m talking about Internet of things, I’m talking about data, I’m talking about electronic medical records,” Zimlichman said, “and then on top of that you build applications – like for example artificial intelligence (AI) or telemedicine programs – that can do stuff that you cannot do today.”

One of the challenges that the medical world is facing in the transition to digital health includes the role doctors will have as AI becomes more prominent in the medical field. Zimlichman thinks that AI will eventually become the best method to diagnose and recommend treatment to patients, but it will be the doctors and patients that will have the final say.

“We think the doctors of the future would need to have better interpersonal skills, would need to have better communication skills, so that they can translate to the patients something that the patient can understand, so that they could make an informed decision together with the patient,” Zimlichman said. “These are things we don’t see the AI doing in the foreseeable future.”

An example of this is a type of wearable tracker that is being developed from one of ARC’s grant-funded projects that can predict when a patient suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder will have their next anxiety attack.

“It’s simpler now to work with our psychiatrists how we can prevent it,” Zimlichman said.

ARC’s open innovation means that Sheba is open to myriad ideas from startups on how to improve health care.

“We’ve opened our gates and we let the startup companies come in and we are working with them as part of our family,” Zimlichman said.

Zimlichman added that they don’t think that any one institution alone can transform health care, which is why Sheba has signed collaboration contracts with 13 medical institutions in North America “to develop new innovations.”

ARC also provides $50,000 grants to 30 medical projects each year, and those projects are developed in 10-month cycles.

The ARC Innovation Center aims to be the hub for digital innovation, and Zimlichman said that there is global interest for other ARCs to be established in their countries.

“We see ARC being now a franchise that is being copied in other locations in the world,” Zimlichman said, adding that while they’re mostly in North America, they’re starting to expand into Germany and Japan.