ReWalk on Forbes top-10 listReWalk on Forbes top-10 listForbes named ReWalk, the maker of a robotic exoskeleton that helps people with spinal cord injuries to walk, one of its top 10 health technology companies to watch. (Photo: ReWalk)

Forbes names 10 best health tech companies, half are from Israel

From a battery-powered set of legs, to mobile app to connect diabetes patients, Israel is leading the global health technology industry.

The global health technology industry is booming as population levels and life expectancies increase around the world. Forbes recently named its picks for the top-10 most important health companies, from a start-up that enables doctors to provide patients with personalized instructions via easy-to-understand videos, to a  robotic exoskeleton that helps people with spinal cord injuries to walk. Five of the 10 companies have ties to Israel.

"It’s amazing that Israel – a country of only 8 million people – produces so many leading health technology companies," David E. Williams, president of the the U.S.-based Health Business Group, told From the Grapevine.

“Israel’s highly educated technical and medical workers are reared in a society that prizes problem solving and innovation and that places tremendous value on curing illness and saving lives," Williams added. "These conditions have generated a virtuous cycle that draws venture capital and contributes to a rich ecosystem that speeds innovation, lowers costs, and increases the likelihood for companies to succeed."

The ReWalk system is a wearable exoskeleton that helps those with spinal cord injuries to walk using powered hip and knee motion. It was designed by Israeli entrepreneur Amit Goffer, who himself suffered an injury that left him in a wheelchair for life. The ReWalk system was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this summer. “This revolutionary product will have an immediate, life-changing impact on individuals with spinal cord injuries,” said Larry Jasinski, CEO of ReWalk Robotics in a recent press release.

In 2010, uMoove created face- and eye-tracking software for mobile devices. The software is applicable to video gaming, advertising and analytics, but the company is now pursuing medical applications. Yitzi Kempinski, the Israeli company's founder, said that many neurological disorders like autism and ADHD can be diagnosed based on eye movement. “Visual scanning reflects a model of the world that exists inside the brain of each individual,” Moshe Eizenman, a researcher at the University of Toronto, told Scientific American. This video from CNN shows how uMoove's software works.

Telesofia is an Israeli startup that created a platform that allows doctors to generate personalized videos for their patients including everything they need to know, and nothing they don't. The videos describe the proper use of their medication, surgical procedures and discharge instructions, but filter out information irrelevant to the patient in question.

Totali LLC is a Texas-based company with a large part of its creative and development team based in Tel Aviv, Israel. Its new app, Totally Pregnant, is a pregnancy companion app for mothers-to-be. There is also a companion app for new parents, logically named Totally Parents. Together the two apps help new parents along the journey from pregnancy to parenthood.

HelpAround is a peer-to-peer support system for diabetes patients delivered via a mobile application. The app detects a user's location and connects them to community members nearby. Users can share tips and supplies, and offer each other emotional support. The Israeli-based startup was founded by Yishai Knobel and Shlomi Aflalo, who say that P2P tools will become more and more important as the health care industry seeks to cut costs and encourage preventative care.

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