Startup of the Week / Medivizor, Your Personal Medical Consultant

Staying abreast of the latest developments regarding one's disease and finding reliable information is difficult. This startup does the legwork for you.

“These days, when many people get sick, especially with serious or chronic disease that threatens their lives or their quality of life, they start doing research on the Internet,” says Tal Givoly, co-founder and CEO of Medivizor. But how reliable is the information they find? Enter Medivizor.

Medivizor was created to fill the need for medical information that’s exact, reliable and clear and, most important of all, that meets the user's condition and needs.

“For example, say a person has a certain subtype of a particular cancer. He’s already gone through treatment and things aren’t moving forward the way he’d like," Givoly describes. This is a person who needs very specific information, for instance who the experts are in the field, the medical centers that specialize in his condition, or what are the cutting-edge treatment options available. Such information is almost impossible to find.

The company's premise is that much of the process of searching for information about disease is inefficient. "On the one hand, there’s a lot of information. On the other hand, not all of it is easily accessible, and the existing information isn’t personally suited to the patient," says Oren Fuerst, co-founder and chairman, who has personal experience helping sick family members.

Physicians, such as co-founder Dr. Steven Kaplan, know the problem from the other side – patients come to them armed with piles of paper and information found on Internet. Then the doctors have to spend time weeding through the information and explaining to the patients (and their families) why most of it isn't relevant.

The service is only in English but it will be available in other languages in the future.

Medivizor began with four common diseases: prostate cancer, breast cancer, diabetes and colorectal cancer. Information about other diseases will be added soon, mostly depending onusers’ needs.

Using the website, Medivizor.com, is free.

While many websites offer information about emergency care and contain information about viruses or infections, Medivizor focuses on serious and chronic disease. For example, for those diseases it supports it has information such as the state-of-the-art treatment approach, latest research, clinical trials, and experimental treatments.

To register for the site, the user must answer 10 to 15 questions about the disease he has in order to isolate information relevant to him.

The information that appears on the website is taken from professional scientific journals, among other sources. When new information – a study, article or treatment – is published in the world, it is sent to the user at the frequency he chooses.

Medivizor, which has about 15 employees around the world, mostly comprised of doctors and software developers, was founded in 2011. Besides Givoly, its executive team includes Dr. Oren Fuerst, a serial entrepreneur and investor in the medical equipment, Dr. Steve Kaplan, a urologist and entrepreneur, and Ronen Keinan, its chief operating officer. The company raised its first capital in 2012.

Crowdsourcing also plays a role. “We deal with large quantities of information combined with technology and human knowledge,” Givoly says, adding that the material in the system is checked by experts and is overseen by chief medical officer Dr. Kaplan.

Givoly had served as chief scientist of software giant Amdocs. His decision to leave it for medical entrepreneurship was no trivial matter. “I believe software has endless potential anywhere it's taken. But if there’s any place where technology hasn’t found enough expression yet, it’s healthcare. There, technology can influence our lives and our quality of life for the better much more effectively than anything I’ve experienced yet in the telecommunications or Internet experience,” he says.

Daniel Bar-On
Marina Zlochin