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Government to provide 55 million NIS to health organizations for the establishment of infrastructure to promote research and development in the field of digital health

The Israeli Ministry of Health, Israel Innovation Authority and the Headquarters for the National Digital Israel Initiative in the Ministry of Economy and Industry will provide approximately 55 million NIS to health organizations for the establishment of infrastructure to promote research and development in the field of digital health.

The health organizations will receive support of up to 8 million NIS each for programs that will establish and/or expand the infrastructure in health organizations designed to promote research and development in the field of digital health.

The new support program is intended to promote innovative health services in the Israeli health system and to significantly expand the scope of collaborations based on health data and information that could be used for research and development purposes.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz: “Israeli health organizations have recently demonstrated impressive capabilities to embrace and implement innovation at a fast pace and adapt to a new world. We want to further strengthen and nurture this capability. Israel can definitely lead in the implementation of innovation in the health system, however, this requires investment in research infrastructure and dedicated manpower. Israeli health organizations are a source of strength to the Israeli economy, and this is clear today to the Israeli government as well. We encourage and strengthen the close collaboration between the Ministry of Health, Israel Innovation Authority and the Headquarters for the National Digital Israel Initiative in the Ministry of Economy and Industry.”

Dror Bin, CEO, Israel Innovation Authority stated: "As part of the new program, we are interested in encouraging health organizations to establish and expand dedicated units to build the necessary infrastructure for R&D in this industry that will enable innovation, development of an extensive industry and national collaborations that will advance health services." He further added: "The new program offers great flexibility for organizations to build a focused business plan that leverages their relative advantages, both to promote their goals and to create a competitive advantage for the Israeli high-tech industry in the healthcare sector."

Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Orit Farkash Hacohen commented: "We have all seen the importance of the medical data infrastructure during the Corona pandemic. Promoting medical data infrastructure in Israel will progress science and technology towards the challenges of the future and promote life-saving customized medicine. I welcome this important step taken by the Israel Innovation Authority and its partners.”

Minister of Economy and Industry, Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai: "The new program as part of the national digital health program will serve as a growth engine, incorporated by the national digital system in the Ministry of Economy and Industry. It is designed to create digital infrastructure designed to help the growth of start-ups in this field, to promote Israel to the forefront of customized medicine research and to implement advanced digital tools in the Israeli health system, for the benefit of the general Israeli population. The Corona pandemic intensified the necessity of the development of innovative solutions for the health system, and this new program will expand the scope of collaborations between companies in this field and Israeli health organizations."


About the new program:
Research and development of innovative technologies in the health sector is carried out in collaboration between the industry, research entities and health organizations. In order to promote innovative health services in the Israeli health system, and enable the development of this industry in Israel, these collaborations must work efficiently, quickly and at competitive costs. These collaborations require the health organization to have the appropriate capacity and infrastructure to promote data-based R&D: information accessibility, planning and conducting research, analyzing data in a clinical context, conducting clinical trials and more.

Collaborations are not limited to research information access. Global competition mandates to further expand and intensify the use of data and digitization in interventional clinical trials, to maintain Israel's advantage as a strong and innovative public health system. Smart use of data carries added value starting from the experiment's design phase, identifying potential participants, efficient recruitment of participants, digital linkage of data directly from the clinical file to the entrepreneur's file and more. Promoting these collaborations requires continuous investment in infrastructure and relevant personnel, an investment that health organizations find difficult to allocate in the existing reality.

Therefore, Israel Innovation Authority, the Ministry of Health, and the National Digital Israel Initiative are launching a program to support health organizations in Israel in the establishment/expansion of dedicated units that will promote cooperation, and to build the necessary infrastructure. The proposed investment model allows great flexibility for organizations to build a program that leverages their relative advantages, to create a competitive advantage for Israel, allow health organizations to significantly expand the amount of collaborations and create solutions to difficult problems faced by the health system in Israel and worldwide. 

Thus, for example, the program enables investments such as: the establishment of advanced virtual research environments that address the needs of the research, while maintaining a high standard of data security and privacy; investment in data optimization and standardization (for example, FHIR standard); infrastructure for the collection and creation of new data that is currently not part of the clinical portfolio; smarter use of data in clinical trials; development of NLP tool; sandbox that simulates the data in the research environment and more. These examples are specified in the call for proposal, but this program allows flexibility for health organizations to examine for themselves what infrastructure is missing, and to offer attractive programs that will promote research and development in Israel.

As part of this program, health organizations are also encouraged to consider submitting joint programs to several organizations together that together will provide unique value. For example, it will be possible to invest in infrastructure that enables distributed research in several organizations together, standardization of information between organizations, or other infrastructure that facilitates long-term collaborations between health organizations.

A main emphasis in this program is also on the standard of service that will be provided to researchers as part of the collaborations. The health organizations that will receive the grant will be required to create rapid engagement channels and can therefore employ dedicated staff that will help promote collaboration throughout the research and development phases.