Doctor with cancer patient. (Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)
Doctor with cancer patient

Navina helps doctors spend more time with patients and less time on the computer.

By Pesach Benson, United with Israel

It’s been said that there’s no such thing as information overload, only bad filtering.

For doctors, information overload can be a matter of life and death when they’re forced to spend valuable time sleuthing medical records for clues, instead of treating patients.

An Israeli company called Navina is coming to the aid of doctors. Using artificial intelligence, Navina presents the doctor with an easy-to-follow patient profile. It includes the patient’s illnesses, risk factors, treatment history and more.

Thanks to Navina’s app, the doctor can see the most important info on his phone.

Say, for example, a patient complains to his doctor of weakness and fatigue. The patient has a history of health problems requiring the physician to review cardiology, nephrology, and pulmonology consultations with different specialists at various hospitals over previous weeks, months and/or years.

Then throw in the patient’s history of lab work (how far back to go?), a cardiac echocardiogram, and miscellaneous emails and faxes that may or may not be relevant. And don’t forget to factor in all of the patient’s current medication.

Navina’s technology filters and presents that data in a way doctors can use immediately.

Navina was co-founded by by Ronen Lavi and Shay Perera in 2018. Both worked on artificial intelligence in the IDF’s famous Unit 8200 whose soldiers are often described as Israel’s cyberwarriors. Veterans of Unit 8200 are highly sought-after in the high-tech industry.

After finishing their military service, Lavi and Perera founded Navina in 2018. The Hebrew name means “Together we understand.”

Perera, Navina’s chief technology officer, told NoCamels that the impetus for Navina came when a relative of his was diagnosed very late with cancer. He said this was due to mistakes by the family doctor and the relative deteriorated. He and Lavi realized that doctors were simply overlooking key info because they were overloaded with patient data.

“We built algorithms to do two main things. First, you have a lot of unstructured data — a lot of text. In a process called entity extraction, we extract all the right relevant codes out of the text, all the labs, all the meds, all the problems, all the diagnoses, through machine learning (ML) capabilities. Then, we build a knowledge graph that links all the data,” Lavi, the CEO, explained to NoCamels.

Navina is now being used by 1,500 physicians in the U.S. The technology helps doctors can prepare for patient visits more effectively, reduces misdiagnoses, and even helps physicians more accurately estimate treatment costs.

“I think the gain for the patient is very obvious,” Lavi told NoCamels. “They want to get everything to be addressed. And the physician should be with the patient, not with the computer. And that’s what Navina allows them to do because everything’s summarized for you in two or three clicks.”