Everything starts with people and ends with people. […] And in order to really touch people, you have to understand how to translate healthcare IT platforms and apps into something that is encouragable. Something that touches people’s emotion.” — Dr. Yossi Bahagon, Sweetch
Dr. Yossi Bahagon, Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of Sweetch, OurCrowd’s latest investment opportunity, is setting out to predict and prevent diabetes. Sweetch, a smartphone platform, leverages a unique diabetes prediction engine to produce a dynamic risk-meter, which interfaces with a custom, automated coaching regimen to guide users toward lowering their risk of developing diabetes in compliance with the “Diabetes Prevention Program” (DPP).
A clinically active family physician, entrepreneur, and worldwide key opinion leader on e-Health, m-Health, and Tele-Care, Dr. Bahagon founded Clalit Health Services Digital Health Division, the largest Health Maintenance Organization in Israel and one of the largest e-Health platforms in the world.
OurCrowd’s Audrey Jacobs recently interviewed Yossi Bahagon about Sweetch and the digital health sector, discussing some of Yossi’s background and how that impacts where Sweetch is headed.
Outsmarting diabetes: Q&A with Dr. Yossi Bahagon
OurCrowd: How do you believe technology will change health care?
Yossi Bahagon: Healthcare is in the early stages of being changed by technology. It starts from accumulating data through the electronic or medical records, but currently most of this data is not utilized enough to improve our health. With technology we can take these huge amounts of data — whether they are clinical or genetic — combine them with the personal life habits of the person that uses [a digital health] platform, and through this data create a real change in his life.
OurCrowd: [Throughout your career] you were involved in supporting and helping many digital health entrepreneurs develop their businesses. Could you tell us about what you did?
Yossi Bahagon: [Being] considered a key opinion leader in digital health, almost every digital health startup here in Israel approached and asked me to get involved in order to get my advice. I was indeed part of the founding team of several successful startups, some of which are already valuated at high tens of millions of dollars currently.
OurCrowd: What inspired you to create Sweetch?
Yossi Bahagon: When I looked at the market, I saw that out of every 3 patients I treat, 1 is pre-diabetes. In the US, this translates to about 90 million pre-diabetes patients. And there was a growing hype around all the wearables, the Fitbits of the world. But there is a gap. All these wearables are producing huge amount of data, but people don’t take all of this data and put brains into it, analyzing it in a way that can give specific users a way to change their behavior. Sweetch does this for you.
OurCrowd: How does Sweetch fill this gap?
Yossi Bahagon: Sweetch takes all the data that is accumulated from wearables or from the sensors in your smartphone, analyzes it with what we call ‘machine learning’ or ‘big data’ or ‘deep learning’ in real-time, and then we prompt personalized recommendations based on your personal life habits. It encourages you to walk more, to live healthier, in a way that you can really do it and advance slowly. The whole idea is that it’s not generic recommendations. The recommendations are customized to the specific user and constantly adapted to the user life habits. And if we see that he doesn’t comply with some recommendation, we don’t push it over and over again just to push it.
OurCrowd: What does success look like for you, for Sweetch?
Yossi Bahagon: The vision we see for Sweetch, and this is why we established the company in the first place, is to see tens and hundreds of millions of people using our software to get healthier. That can use the Fitbits of the world. We will be installed on every smartphone, because we are the brains and the personal health guide of every potential user here in Israel, the United States, Europe, and so on.
Want to meet Dr. Yossi Bahagon in person?
Join us today for an investor lunch presentation in New York featuring the Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of Sweetch!
Investor Lunch: Customization of Digital Health
Thursday, February 25th
12:00pm – 1:30pm
To register, email Allison@ourcrowd.com
Kosher lunch will be served
Space is limited.