Medical or Health tourism has become a common form
of vacationing, and covers a wide variety of medical
treatments. It mixes leisure, excitement, fun and
relaxation, combined with healthcare which is highly
Other highly attractive benefits include the
opportunity for patients to avoid long waiting lists
and with the savings they make, get a holiday
included in the package.
Medical tourism in Israel has grown dramatically,
it offers world class healthcare services at low
Becoming a medical tourist in Israel, allows you to
make huge savings and see one of the worlds most
beautiful and diverse countries at the same time.
tourists are an expanding group and one of the
leaders in the field is Israel.
1) International renowned
Tourists from all over the world benefit from the
vast range of medical treatments and high
quality research provided by Israel's leading
The Israel Health care industry is undergoing phenomenal
expansion. The combination of high quality services and
affordable cost facilities is attracting thousands of
international patients every year.
This is hardly surprising
the cost of advanced surgeries in Israel is from 10
to 15 times lower than in the USA or Europe.
Added to this a growing number of hospitals have formed
alliances with the US and European hospitals in an effort to
improve overall care and stand on par with the best hospitals in
When compared to other popular medical tourism countries, Israel
has the advantage of hospital facilities, experienced doctors
Acknowledging the Center's high level of medical expertise
and cutting-edge capabilities,
has cited the Medical Centers
and hospitals in Israel as
'One of the World's Top
Medical Destinations for Tourists',
for people seeking excellent specialized medical
'a leader in its field'.
While cost is a consideration; it is the quality of
heart surgery that is the most important factor for
The success rates in Israel's top hospitals for
heart surgery are an average of 99.3% which is more
than most of the leading cardiac centers in the
2) A Central Role in Israel's
Advanced Healthcare System
Israel has one of the world's best medical systems, and each one
of our Medical Center plays an integral part in Israel's
advanced national healthcare system. The country has impressive
health statistics including one of the world's lowest infant
mortality rates (3 per 1,000 live births) and a long life
expectancy (84.9 years for women, 81.9 years for men).
These figures reflect the Israeli government and public's
obligation towards healthcare - supporting advanced health
services, top-quality medical research, a modern network of
hospitals, and a remarkably high physician/citizen ratio.
Israel's healthcare system ensures that every citizen - from
birth to old age - is entitled to superb medical care.
health expenditure is amongst the highest of any developed
nation. The Ministry of Health is responsible for overseeing and
supervising all health services, implementing nationwide
standards, issuing medical licenses, and supporting medical
3) Innovations in Medical Technology
There is virtually no area of medicine to which
Israeli devices have not made significant
Cardiology, genetics, neurology and ophthalmology
are but a few of the medical sciences benefiting
from advanced Israeli technology. From neonatology
to gerontology to the latest in telemedicine,
Israeli scientists, universities and companies are
working to benefit the entire health system, from
physician, to patient, to medical administrators and
Israeli medical and biotechnological firsts include
state-of-the-art surgical lasers; fully computerized
no-radiation diagnostic instrumentation for breast
cancer; an intelligent medical sensor that can be
used to track and direct instruments to an exact
three-dimensional location in the heart or other
organs via a real-time virtual image; the fully
flexible waveguide fiber for endoscopic surgery;
unique computerized monitoring systems for critical
care patients; pain-relieving transcutaneous
devices; a revolutionary autoclave design to combat
AIDS and other infectious diseases; and many more.
Three of the biggest commercial plays were scored in
medical devices and technologies: ESC and Laser
Technologies merged into one company, valued at one
billion $US. Medinols cardiac stent was purchased by
agreement with Boston Scientific Corp.; and Biosense
Ltd. was purchased by Johnson and Johnson, each in
deals closing at about 400 million $US.
4) Academic Research and Developmen
Each of Israel universities and research institutes
has established its own research authority.
These authorities assist professors in finding,
applying for and administering grants and funding
for their research. Each has generated a commercial
limb that also initiates investor searches, helps
private launches, assists commercial exploitation of
research by drafting and filing licensing
agreements, actively guides technology transfer and
encourages patenting of new discoveries before they
are submitted to peer-reviewed journals, to prevent
the current worry publish and perish.
Thus these research and development enterprises give
the universities a chance to profit from and
reinvest the fruits of their research by working
through subsidiary companies while at the same time
increasing the potential for new development in
industry. For instance, medicine and medical
equipment are the dominant start-up sectors at most
Israeli universities and at the same time provide
the technological expertise for most of these
- Ben Gurion University of the Negevs Ben Gurion
Negev Technologies and Applications Ltd., for
example, offers support in both medicine and
bioengineering. It has pioneered the Neuromedical
Electrical Stimulation Systems Ltd. (NESS), a
glove-like device that can stimulate movements in a
paralyzed hand or arm. Another commercial innovation
is the Savyon Diagnostics rapid diagnostics kit for
- Bar-Ilan Universitys Bar-Ilan Research and
Development Co. Ltd.
spawned Medis El Cell Scan
an advanced electro-optical blood cell sorting
device to diagnose and detect early stages of
- Hadasit Medical Research Services and
Development, an enterprise of the Hadassah
Medical Organization Ltd., in Jerusalem, has
facilitated innumerable licensing or joint ventures
in cancer therapies, osteoporosis, diabetes,
cardiovascular disorders, orthopedics, diagnostics,
medical devices and laser technologies.
- In 1966,
The Technion Israel Institute of
Technologys Technion Research and Development
founded Elbit Ltd., as a start-up
company, considered the original progenitor of the
medical device industry in Israel. Today, it is a
giant healthcare and diagnostics conglomerate with
sales of 970 million $US annually.
- Tel-Aviv University Ramot,
with its Rad-Ramot high-tech incubator in Tel Hashomer
Hospital, has generated several start-up companies.
The now well-established Organics Diagnostics Ltd.,
produces ultra-high sensitive and fast diagnostic
kits, and recently merged with American giant,
Selfcare Corp. Another younger success is Combact
which has a unique technology for rapid bacterial
- Established in 1959,
Yeda Research and
of The Weizmann Institute of
Science, pioneered the concept of pure research
benefiting from its own applications. It has spawned
thousands of successful medical technology
- Yissum Research Development Company Ltd.,
of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem was
established in 1964. In 1997, it signed 130
contracts, half of them with companies abroad. One
of its products is a tiny, biodegradable chip
developed by the Faculty of Dental Medicine, which
treats gum disease by slowly releasing chlorhexidine.
It was acquired by the local conglomerate Israel
Chemicals and is now valued at 140 million $US.
avoid missing out on rapid developments across
disciplines, and to keep from becoming too
competitive with each other, the autonomous
university research authorities formed an alliance,
FURAD (Forum of University Research Authority
Directors), that pools and strengthens their
technological and administrative resources. FURAD
helps to assure that the Israeli academic community
responds to rapidly-evolving changes in the research
funding environment, both in Israel and abroad, and
stays in touch with the networks of regional and
global partnerships (with the European Union, for
example) and interdisciplinary research projects.
Jointly, the Research Authorities maintain and
update a comprehensive national database of Israeli
academic research and development, lobby government
ministries for funding, expand global partnerships,
and contribute to and implement national scientific
Governments Technological Efforts
The government is also actively involved in the
medical technological sector. Nearly half of the
approximately 200 nascent technologies under
development in government supported incubators are
medical technologies, not to mention those in
biotechnology and software.
Magnet, a program of the Chief Scientist of the
Ministry of Industry and Trade, has a five-year
budget of over 200 million $US to support carefully
targeted generic technologies or pre-competitive
concepts, such as electro-optics or biomedical
diagnostics, by coordinating groups of academics and
Healthcare and medical technology especially
electronics has been identified as the most
promising growth sector by the Healthcare Department
of the Israel Export Institute. Partner to
making that possible is the business and marketing
effort of the 24 American-Israel Chambers of
Commerce, first created in 1953, and Associated in
1993, representing over 3,000 American business and
professional members, based largely in Minnesota and
in the Chicago and Boston areas.
it Work? Is it Safe?
Growth of medical technology depends not only on
insights and ideas, but on proof through rigorous
testing for safety and efficacy. Speed, not haste,
is the motto when weighing public health needs
versus public health protection.
Testing of devices is controlled by the medical
device assessment department in the Ministry of
Health, which over the years, has adapted a process
which corresponds with that of the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration (USFDA). This harmonization
allows laboratory, animal and clinical (those
involving human beings) studies conducted in Israel
to qualify as proof for approval, as if they were
conducted in the U.S. The result is a streamlined
approval process and a shortcut to marketing Israeli
medical technology in the U.S., making healthcare
delivery more efficient and up-to-date. The USFDA
recently modified its procedures to make the
approval process more efficient by actively guiding
inventors and researchers in formulating their
testing protocols to meet USFDA licensing demands;
thus, the focus was shifted from a test of the
trials to a test of the products themselves.
In contrast, Israeli government regulations require
only those medical devices which release radiation,
contain components derived from animal sources, or
are coronary stents, to have ministry approval for
marketing in Israel. Expanded legislation to empower
the Ministry of Health to examine and/or approve all
medical devices is currently being formulated and is
expected to be in effect by the turn of the century.
Meeting Ethical Standards
Israel's system of ethical standards, established to
meet international criteria following the Helsinki
agreements, is exacting. Proposals to initiate
clinical trials, for instance, must be reviewed by a
system of ethics committees, which convene in every
hospital and medical institute.
Considerations are based on ethics, moral and
religious implications and social impact, as well as
on health and safety grounds. Examples of the
complex questions the committees might ask could
include: Could a new contraceptive device be used to
abort as well as prevent pregnancy? or How would
technology to determine brain death which often
occurs before the heart stops beating affect
declaration of the moment of death and thus,
decisions about when organ donations may be made?
Technological growth is geometric, not linear, with
one industrys previous inventions spawning new
developments in another.
This trend comes into play, for example, with
medical technologies which have profited from
previous developments in the electronic defense
industries. Opgal Medical Systems, a subsidiary of
El-Op Electro-Optics Industries Ltd. in Nes Ziona,
specializes in thermal imaging, remote sensing,
lasers, and displays. Opgal Medicals IVA-2000
Thermal Imaging System for cardiac surgery is based
on thermal coronary angiography (TCA), a technology
originally developed for military uses like night
vision and heat-seeking surveillance. The improved
accuracy in angiographic imaging, and in image
storage improves decision-making in the surgical
operating theater and benefits the entire health
system, from physician (user), to patient
(consumer), to medical administrators and insurers,
and back to the patient (consumer).
Medical insurance costs have been reduced because
the number of re-do operations is significantly
reduced: the system documents the procedure,
reducing malpractice insurance; operating theaters
are freed; and the reduced recovery time from
minimally invasive procedures cuts bypass costs by
Once a device is created, its use during
applications invariably spins off other
developments. A new thermal sensor, invented at the
Jerusalem College of Technology, for example, makes
thermal imaging readings more precise during an
angiogram. The sensor will be incorporated in the
next generation of the OpGal line of products.
Applications in ocular surgery, neurosurgery,
peripheral vascular surgery, cancer detection, and
dialysis control with this device are under
discussion in Europe, the U.S. and Israel.
8) Biting into
Economic forecasts indicate a bright future for the
biotechnology and biomedical sectors in Israel. The
medical technology and devices sectors stand out
with the highest growth of any sector during the
No fewer than 60% of the 1,500 start-up companies in
Israel are in the medical and life sciences arena,
with no indication of a slowdown well into the next
millennium, according to a survey conducted by the
Science and Technology Forecasting Center at Tel
By the year 2008, forecasters say, Israeli
biomedical and biotechnology industries will have
sales of 3.9 billion $US, almost ten times the sales
in 1997; and investment in this sector will grow to
930 million $US in the year 2008, and to 8 billion
$US in 2010.
According to Ernst & Young, investment analysts, the
very best prospects for the industrys growth, are in
the medical devices, bio-electronics, diagnostics
and smart drugs sectors. Pure biotechnology, on the
other hand, requires greater investment and a longer
development time more than twice the
two-to-four-year average estimated development time
for medical devices.
The international accounting firm, Kesselman &
Kesselman PricewaterhouseCoopers showed in their
Money Tree Survey that the average medical devices
sector venture capital investment increased in 2001
by 72% to 9.2 million $US from 1.5 million $US in
1997, with most medical device-based companies
located in Haifa and northern Israel.
9) Smart money
In spite of the need to overcome seemingly
insurmountable odds, such as distance, language,
cultural differences, and fluctuations in the
continuing peace process, Israel has become a prime
site for international venture capital and
technology-seeking funds, especially since the
beginning of the 1990s.
Since 1992, more than 80 venture capital funds are
investing in medical technologies, raising nearly
7.5 billion $US, about half of which was invested
within six years. Medica Investments of Medica
Venture Partners, like the private Medmax, is a
unique fully-dedicated healthcare fund. Because of
the high expertise and long-term view, Medica takes
a pro-active brokering interest in the business and
the science in all of the 19 biotech and medical
device investments in its 75 million $US portfolio.
Interest in Israels medical technology by giant
multinationals like Bristol Myers-Squibb, General
Electric, GEMS (General Electric Medical Systems),
Johnson & Johnson and Siemens has grown increasingly
competitive as Israels reputation for high-tech
innovation and ingenuity spreads. More industry is
being developed locally, for example ELGEMS, a joint
venture formed in 1997 with Elscint, for the design
and manufacture of medical imaging products.
During 1999-2005, Israels healthcare exports
spiraled upwards from 7,9 billion $US to 8 billion
$US. The electro-medical equipment sub-sector made
the largest contribution to the industrys growth
during this time, accounting for a full 69% of total
exports, followed by pharmaceuticals and chemicals;
biotechnology and diagnostics; and medical supplies.
U.S.-Israel Binational Industrial Research and
Development Foundation, matches Israeli high-tech
companies with strategic partners in the U.S.
Instrumental in establishing the commercially
successful Israeli electronics, communications, and
software sectors, BIRDF recently prioritized new
biomedical technologies and the links among the
biosciences and electronics and computer sciences.
And BIRDF is not alone. Recognizing this new and
emerging realm of endeavor, in April 1998, a joint
seminar of BIRDF and
U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation, focused
on three spheres that combine the expertise of cell
physiology, electronics and biomedicine: bio-chips
and gene-chips; bio-sensors and neuro-sensors; and
10) Examples of Medical Devices and Equipment
Pioneered in Israel
* Tuttnauer Co. Ltd. in Jerusalem is a world leader
in steam and gas autoclaves of all sizes for
sterilizing medical instruments for clinics,
hospitals and laboratories.
Cardiac stents are implanted in blood vessels during
angioplasty to keep occluded vessels from
* InStent with American partner, Medtronic/beStent
line and the crimper.
* Medinol with American partner, Boston Scientific/Nir
cardiac stent line market leader.
* Angiosonics Inc. a catheter-delivered ultrasound
for thrombolysis, a non-invasive therapeutic
ultrasound in the heart; early studies have shown
that it could break up clots in peripheral vessels.
* Laser Industries a Sharplan holmium/yag laser for
unblocking multiply-occluded coronary vessels.
* Perio biodegradable chip with slow release
chlorhexidine to treat gum disease from the Hadassah
Faculty of Dental Medicine, sold to Israel
* CAPTEK gold, platinum, palladium metal composite
for aesthetic, high strength dental crowns and
bridges that reduce plaque by 10% on natural teeth.
* BioSense Ltd., CARTA & NOGA systems
hardware-software non-fluoroscopic intrabody
navigation and 3-D mapping system, hailed as the
missing, real-time link between diagnostics and
* ASI APPLIED SPECTRAL IMAGING Cytogenetics and
pathology have been revolutionized by SKYTM
(Spectral karyotyping), SkyVision, and the
SpectraCube to sort chromosomes, cells or tissues in
colors reflecting genetic abnormalities.
* Trans-Scan T-Scan devices which significantly
improve mammography diagnostic accuracy with no
* SophisView Technology Ltd. (SVT) MACOM 4000 and
MAPP 4000 digitized mammography which enhance
* Medis-El Nuritor, an advanced, compact and
portable analog/digital EEG
* Mindsense Ltd kits for detecting mental illnesses.
* Imexco General Ltd. Neuritor, a computerized
neurological brain-monitor for the acquisition &
analyses of multichannel EEG/ECG signals in real
* Riemed Ltd. Intra-View, a new generation of
transcranial Doppler including intracranial,
extracranial, peripheral vascular and intraoperative
simultaneous investigation of two cerebral sites.
* MedEye Medical Imaging Ltd. AngioVision for
retinal diagnosis, digital angiographic acquisition
and viewing systems.
* Talia Technology Retina Thickness Analyzer (RTA),
a combined electro-optical laser and conventional
optical instrument for the non-invasive measurement
of ocular pathologies. Its Laser Slit has been
marketed since 1996.
* Shapiro Instruments (Israel), Subsidiary of
Shapiro-Evans Perceptions Ltd. (UK) Innovative
optometric examinations using simple technology, but
* Delve Medical Ltd. an electronic stethoscope with
phonocardiograph instrumentation to receive and
digitally process body sounds, filter out
interfering noises, and graphically present the
sounds on a display screen.
Diagnostics Sleep Disturbances
* Diagnostic Sleep Laboratory Ltd. diagnostic
equipment for sleep recordings (respiration, ECG,
* First Care (Jerusalem) bandage that enables
self-application to wounds; can also block arterial
flow and increase distal hemostatic pressure.
* Mennen Medical Ltd. Cathlab patient monitoring
equipment for critical care.
* Wais Med Bone Injection Gun (B.I.G.), treats
emergency patients with drugs and other fluids by
intraosseous infusion, directly into the bone
* CBF Medical Ciliary Beat Frequency monitor
attaches to a standard endoscope, to optically
measure the frequency waves of ciliary cells as new
diagnostic for mucociliary function in respiratory
disease and tubal infertility.
Gerontology - Osteoporosis
* Myriad Ultrasound Systems SoundScan Compact and
SoundScan 2000 bone quantitative sonometers which
detect subtle changes in bone quality, as in
osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
* Sunlight Ultrasonics Omnisense the only sonometer
providing multiple sites skeletal bone density
* LMS or CHAI (life in Hebrew) the USFDA-approved
Sure-Closure Skin-Stretching system, replacing
costly skin grafts or flaps to close large wounds
and avoid disfiguring scars; newer applications
focus on polymer technology, a medium for graft
storage and a first-ever wound gel for dermal ulcers
and chronic wounds.
* SPM RECOVERY sealed chamber to apply ozone/oxygen
mixture and bacterial medium to infectious wounds,
post-surgical wounds, trophic ulcers, decubitus, and
* SIL-K silicone sheeting from Kibbutz Degania,
which has USFDA approval, eases intense pain after
scar-tissue removal operations.
* Oridion (originally Spegas) pioneered infra-red
measurement of carbon dioxide exhaled by patients at
all points of care. u Elrad Analytical Systems
systems which monitor gases in patients during
* Optomedic Medical Technologies the Kaplan
PenduLaser, a carbon dioxide surgical laser system.
* Hadassah-based Nanomed with US-based Summit a
unique movable arm delivery system for cold action
Laser for intra-ocular surgery.
* Nanonics Lithography the breakthrough Near Field
Optics, which can focus laser beams at a tenth of a
* A number of companies have developed a broad range
of innovative optical glass rods as active media for
solid state medical lasers and high intensity
luminescence (replacing gas and dye media).
* NurtureLife the Patir incubator in Jerusalem a
device for checking the amount of milk an infant
drinks during breast-feeding.
* Hisense Ltd. 200 $US monitor called Babysense,
sends out an alarm if a baby stops breathing while
asleep, as happens in SIDS (sudden infant death
* SPO Medical Equipment Ltd. Long Life, an early
warning monitor, which senses lowered breathing and
pulse levels and could prevent SIDS.
* Medco Electronic Systems Ltd. Femo, a non-invasive
fetal ECG and fetal heart rate monitoring system
with true beat to beat variability, which prevents
unnecessary C-section deliveries.
* Cybro Medical an optical and non-invasive fetal
monitor based on pulse oximetry complementary to the
ECG to reduce unnecessary C-section deliveries.
* Vital Medical the Tissue Vitality Analyzer (TVA),
expected to save lives and millions of dollars by
detecting failed organs before implantation.
* Titan Electronics a compact, pocket-sized,
battery-powered Transcutanous Electronic Nerve
Stimulation (TENS) stimulator to relieve menstrual
Radiology & Medical Imaging
* InSight Therapeutics and GEMS new joint venture
TxSonics produce state-of-the-art devices for image
* UltraGuide 1000 new add-on device for
ultrasound-assisted interventional procedures.
* Real-time Radiography Readout (R3) Ltd. a joint
venture of YISSUM (the Research Development Company
of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and T.T.I.
(Target Technologies Israel) Ltd.
* X-Medica new concepts in filmless digital X-ray,
for the next generation of medical imaging.
* NESS (miracle in Hebrew) a USFDA-approved
glove-like device that aids therapy in restoring
function to paralyzed hands and arms.
Telemedicine & Portable Medical Technology
* Card Guard with a Hewlett-Packard UK alliance
provides software-hardware systems for
Cardiology/Portable ECG, Pulmonology/SpiroPhone
Transtelephonic Spirometer, and Ob/Gyn/Portable
Fetal-Maternal Monitoring Device.
* Imexco General produces CardioScope a pocket
cardiological diagnostic ECG monitor, with storage,
printer, and transmission capabilities.
* TzamalCare innovative remote controlled systems,
Infu-Tech and Infu-Net diffused infrared wireless
transmitters and readers to monitor and control
infusion therapy from a remote station.
* MTRE Advanced Technology ALLON 2000 returns and
maintains normothermia of core body temperature into
trauma management, during surgery and post-op.
* Medisim Up-Grade gives quick, accurate, digital
readout of body temperature.
* Influence a device to treat urinary incontinence.
* Medispec Ltd. and Direx devices for treating
kidney stones, gallstones and various prostate
* Opgal Medical Systems, a division of Opgal
Optronics Industries Ltd. in Karmiel the IVA-2000
Thermal Imaging System for real-time thermal images
of blood flow through exposed coronary arteries,
without ingesting toxic contrast materials or
exposure to radiation.
* OrSense Ltd., a start-up Hemosense, an
infrared-based bloodless blood test of hemoglobin
* Vascular Technologies Ltd. award-winning device
attaches to a standard catheter to indicate correct
insertion of an infusion needle into a vein.