Doctors often warn patients and their families against searching the Internet for medical information. But that’s exactly what Israeli inventor Tal Givoly and med-tech serial entrepreneur Dr. Oren Fuerst did when serious illnesses hit their families.
While they knew the consequences of all the junk science and misleading information on the web, Givoly needed to know how to save the life of his teenage daughter who was suffering congestive heart failure, and Fuerst needed decisive information as the caregiver for his cancer-stricken mother.
Together with world-renowned urologist Steven Kaplan, who had too many patients bringing him printouts of disinformation they found online, Givoly and Fuerst created Medivizor – a company that uses patent-pending technology to sift through thousands of content articles and find the most essential information applicable and personalized for each person’s medical situation.
The company says its software, crowdsourcing techniques and medical expertise can help information-seekers access easy-to-read, relevant and customized information in one place.
“Medivizor personalizes health information. Sounds like that’s been done before but to the best of our knowledge it hasn’t,” CEO Givoly tells ISRAEL21c. “We bring the cutting edge of science to people it matters most to, in a way they can understand and act upon.”
“Dr. Google” is known to make web-surfers believe they have severe ailments or side effects they often do not have. WebMD, on the other hand, offers textbook information that is not personalized.
“There’s a lot of great health information out there, but it’s generic,” Givoly says. “The textbook was written many years ago with the knowledge of many years ago, and is the same for everybody. So if somebody has a specific situation, the textbook is not what they care about. What they care about is what the best science is right now.”
Revolutionary online health service
Israel is a leader in mobile health (mHealth) technologies thanks to a government decision in 1980 mandating digital health records for each citizen. There are dozens of mHealth startups in Israel as a result.
Medivizor was among eight finalists (out of more than 50 Israeli startups) to present their game-changing technologies at the mHealth Israel conference in December.
“We are honored to win this tough competition, especially given the outstanding startup innovation landscape in which we competed,” said Givoly after winning first place. “This is a major milestone for us, as the conference’s platform enables us to share ideas with other healthcare entrepreneurs, potential investors and industry giants, too.”
It was one of four contests Medivizor won in a span of six months in 2014. The revolutionary online health service also took first-place finishes in the 1776 DC Challenge Cup, Most Investable Startup — INTERFACE Digital Health Summit 2014, and Doctors 2.0 & You 2014.
Forbes Magazine highlighted it as one of “Six Companies That Are Reimagining Existing Tech Trends.”
Perhaps the biggest feather in the company’s cap is that doctors, clinics and medical institutions are promoting the site to their patients. While health professionals dissuade their patients from checking in with Dr. Google or WebMD, now they’re actually encouraging them to receive cutting-edge personalized health information from Medivizor.
“There’s an enormous amount of new science published each year. There were 9,362 research papers published on prostate cancer alone last year, 19,500 on breast cancer, and 35,000 on diabetes. No doctor or researcher can read all that material. Add to that hundreds or thousands of clinical trials that offer different ways to treat the same illnesses,” says Givoly.
“We scan all the information, determine its clinical relevance, then we translate it to something like Cliff Notes and share it with patients, caregivers and medical teams.”
Helping the greater good
Medivizor is free to the user and makes money from health institutions. But Givoly says users need not worry about their privacy, noting the company does not give away any information without permission.
Users create an account, type in the kind of information related to the person they are seeking information for, and then get selected, relevant material sent to their inbox. The site is not meant to replace a doctor but rather to make the user more knowledgeable.
The site also offers details about clinical trials currently enrolling patients.
“Right now there are over 1,400 interventional breast cancer clinical trials,” says Givoly. “These are options your doctor probably doesn’t know about, you certainly don’t know about, but Medivizor could help you know about.”
On November 13, 2012, Givoly – a serial inventor who holds over 25 granted patents — wrote a blog post announcing the launch of Medivizor.
“Whatever I do, it should inspire me and I must be passionate about it,” he wrote. He also wanted to do something that “had the potential to bring great benefit to the world.”
Givoly tells ISRAEL21c: “We want to help millions of people coping with serious or chronic illness. We think that it’s really a shame that besides coping with their illness, they need to also cope with chronic web researching without being able to access the cutting-edge of science in medicine.”
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