The Israel startup sector is helping innovate the healthcare industry, which was once considered one of the most efficient in the world. OECD reports then started to paint a different picture of the health system in Israel.

The report found that expenditures on health care was just 7.7% of the country’s GDP, much lower than the average of 9.3%.

Private expenditures were at 37.9% of all payments, more than the average of 28.5%. Patients in Scandinavia have the least private hospital cover at 16%.

Occupancy is cited as a major detriment to Israel’s healthcare system, too. Occupancy rates are higher than other OECD members, which is delaying care to patients and straining the already-low budget set aside for healthcare.

But technology has the ability to help reverse this trend.

Israeli doctors have started testing artificial intelligence technologies in hospitals. The software aims to assist doctors in determining whether certain patients should be operated on. Testing has been kept very quiet, but reports claim that the secret program has been put in several hospitals across the country.

Patients may not have been alerted to the process, which is a concern, but the technology, despite the controversy, is an exciting step forward in healthcare.

Tel Aviv’s MEDecide Ltd., a local startup founded in 2015, provides the AI software that is assisting with surgery decisions. The goal of the company, when viewing their website, is reportedly to innovate the healthcare industry and allow for a higher standard of safety.

How does this all relate to the issues Israel’s healthcare is facing?

First, the technology will help determine if surgery is needed. Unnecessary surgeries are costly, and the software will help to improve the overall patient care while keeping costs lower. Valuable resources, often provided to patients that may not need surgery, will now be available to patients that positively need surgery.

Insurers will also benefit from the new technology with lower risks and costs.

Artificial intelligence is being implemented under a pilot program, but the way the software works is also interesting. The software will analyze the patient’s information to recommend whether the patient needs surgery or not.

Test results, medication, discomfort and medical history will all be analyzed so that the software can recommend surgery options or additional testing to better identify the patient’s issues. The software will also be able to recommend therapeutic procedures.

Transparency issues aside, because I firmly believe that doctors should have told their patients that AI was helping with their diagnoses, AI is set to pave a new future for healthcare. Israel’s health system could benefit greatly from lower costs, granted the GDP expenditure is far lower than in other countries.

MEDecide claims that their software is aimed at the United States industry in an attempt to ensure a surgery is required before pre-approval. Pre-approval surgeries are the most common and often the most unnecessary.

Despite MEDecide focusing on international usage, the startup has the potential to increase the quality of care at home, lower costs and eliminate unnecessary surgeries that are common around the world.