Telehealth in Israel and its Benefit to Clinical Research
The healthcare system in Israel has faced the challenges of the COVID outbreak this past year by embracing telehealth solutions that accelerate digitized and remote medical care. Health services now offer online consultation services with physicians and nurses; telehealth devices are available for the monitoring of temperature, heart rate, pulse, blood pressure and more; and when needed, home visits by nurses or doctors are available.
As part of this process, various medical institutes in Israel are looking into how medicine can be advanced even further. Sheba Medical Center, for instance, has established the ARC (Accelerate, Redesign, Collaborate) Innovation Center. ARC collaborates with a vast, global network of medical, academic and technological institute and companies, to advance new technologies in medicine. As Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, Deputy Director General, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Innovation Officer at Sheba Medical Center has told Pharma Clinical, the various innovation hubs in ARC are aimed at completely transforming the face of medicine by the year 2030.
Clinical research has followed the same suit, finding solutions for remote performance of study procedures such as monitoring of blood pressure, ECGs, blood sugar levels, etc.; using electronic patient diaries for monitoring of study compliance; home delivery of study medications, as well as home visits. The Ministry of Health has also adapted regulatory requirements by introducing Procedure 169 earlier this year, which allows the use of digital tools for the informed consent process.
While these changes have been implemented primarily to ensure the safety of both the patients and the medical staff, they have naturally proven very convenient for the patients participating in clinical trials – reducing the need to come into the hospital or clinic. Sponsors and researchers are equally benefited – happy patients mean a higher rate of recruitment and retention, resulting in shorter study timelines. Therefore, it is very likely that these advances in the conduct of clinical research are here to stay.
# clinical studies # digital health