Back in 1948, as Jewish pioneers fought for the independence of the State of Israel, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion assigned Dr. Chaim Sheba with the task of establishing a military hospital. Dr. Sheba, Commander of the new Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps, appropriated the barracks of a former British military garrison as a temporary medical facility. Years later, this hospital became the world-renowned Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.
The population of Israel has grown by leaps and bounds since then, and so has Sheba. Presently, Sheba, the largest medical center in the Middle East, treats approximately 20% of Israel’s population of nine million people. In addition to its role in clinical healthcare, Sheba is also a pioneering force in global medicine and technologies.
In 2018, the Israeli government approached Professor Yitzhak Kreiss, Director General of Sheba, to transform the hospital into the country’s first “City of Health.” This venture aims to apply digital healthcare for the goal of curing disease and treating patients outside of the hospital setting. At the core of Sheba’s City of Health is the futuristic ARC (Accelerate, Redesign, Collaborate) Innovation Center. With a determined focus towards revolutionizing and upgrading patient care, ARC unites the nation’s talented and ambitious scientists, startups, innovators, high-level developers, academia, large corporations, and investors.
Start-ups within the ARC Innovation Center are currently making strides in big data, precision medicine, and predictive analytics in healthcare. These unique ventures challenge the status quo and redefine the conventional hospital model through the integration of telemedicine, digital and mobile health technologies.
In the short amount of time since Sheba launched the ARC Innovation Center, the world has already taken notice. Time magazine cited two of the start-ups, and physicians from around the globe have expressed interest in collaborating with Sheba Medical Center. At present, a collaborative program with London’s St. George’s Medical School in Nicosia, Cyprus, is already in place.
Regarding the notion of bringing doctors from around the globe to Sheba, Professor Arnon Afek, Associate Director and Acting Director of Sheba General Hospital, says, “One of the main strengths of any successful company is diversity. Having doctors and researchers from Israel working alongside doctors and researchers from the UK, USA and other countries enables a fascinating exchange of ideas and the creation of a multicultural environment as the basis for innovation.”
From both a clinical and research point of view, Sheba is one of the most innovative medical centers in the world, and the environment fosters intuitive thinking. “In theory and practice, we accentuate the essence of the start-up nation mentality. This is a dynamic and exciting place to work, especially for those medical professionals who wish to become a part of the future of medicine,” says Prof. Afek.