Femtech – technologies to manage women’s health more innovatively, accurately and efficiently – is the newest focus for the ARC (Accelerate Redesign Collaborate) Innovation Center at Sheba Medical Center in Israel.

“We can not only share our ideas with the world but really change the clinical paradigm,” says the Women’s Health Innovation Center’s director, obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Avi Tsur.

Launched in July to promote patient and doctor safety during Covid, the initiative grew in scope. Big data, artificial intelligence (AI), precision medicine, telemedicine, virtualization and surgical innovations are being harnessed to find new approaches to high-risk pregnancies, postpartum follow-up, contraception, IVF, gynecologic oncology and other OB/GYN medical assessments.

Dr. Avi Tsur, director of the Women’s Health Innovation Center at Sheba Medical Center. Photo: courtesy

“My goal is selecting projects that will disrupt and improve women’s healthcare,” Tsur tells ISRAEL21c. “I’m not trying to publish papers but to change clinical paradigms. I think that is unique.”

The center selected 20 projects, which include technologies for managing high-risk pregnancies and decision-making in labor and delivery; at-home monitoring of gestational diabetes and post-term pregnancies; and identifying the best medication to prevent complications in each high-risk pregnancy.

One project is an AI model for predicting shoulder dystocia — baby’s shoulder getting stuck during birth – based on work Tsur did at Stanford using data from Sheba. Shoulder dystocia has always been unpredictable and therefore unpreventable. Validated on Stanford and University of Texas data, this model would have each laboring mother undergo an ultrasound growth evaluation.

Interdisciplinary teamwork: Women’s Health Innovation Center Director Dr. Avi Tsur and OB/GYN resident Dr. Hadas Ilan working with ARC data science team leader Sigal Sina and Ruth Levy from the AI hub at ARC, Sheba Medical Center. Photo: courtesy

About a dozen staff OB/GYNs under Dr. Eyal Sivan, director of Sheba’s Josef Buchmann Gynecology and Maternity Center, are working with Tsur and other ARC members. Some of the projects have partners in other Israeli institutions.

“The shared vision is leveraging the passion of the OB/GYN department for innovation together with the resources at Sheba,” says Tsur.

“Our strength is the integration of the different disciplines across the hub. I don’t think any other hospital in the world has such a set of resources for digital health.”

Femtech is an up-and-coming field in Israel. Read here about Eve, the femtech hub.