Hackers have discovered the benefits of breaking into medical records and devices. Many of the records are not properly protected, despite the sensitive information they contain. At the same time, the market value of medical records in enormous, and there are always willing buyers.
"Until recently, no one thought of attacking health systems, but now cyberattacks are ubiquitous and affect every sector” says Michal Geva, founder and managing partner of Triventures. "Over 200 million medical records have been hacked in the US in the last two years, most of them for fraudulent purposes. The sale of medical records on the black market is worth 100 times more than that of credit card records, because unlike credit cards, which may be cancelled immediately, medical records have a long shelf life. In the US, theft of medical records is still not considered a criminal offense.”
Geva adds: "In May 2017, a massive cyberattack, called WannaCry, infected hundreds of thousands of computers across 150 countries. The virus infiltrated computer systems, encrypted the EMR (Electronic medical records), and demanded a ransom to release it. The attack was not aimed specifically at health systems, but it shut down a third of the hospitals in London, and interrupted the provision of medical care for many hours."
Triventures was founded in 2010 by Michal Geva, a serial entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in Israel and the US, and one of the 50 most influential women of 2017 according to Globes Magazine, in partnership with Prof. Peter Fitzgerald of Stanford, an interventional cardiologist and an Electrical Engineering PhD, who has helped found 20 companies to date and brings proven tracked record and vast experience. Prof. Fitzgerald was a partner in a $400M venture capital fund, and is one of the dominant figures in the medical device and digital health industry in the US.
The third partner is Netalie Nadivi, who joined the fund about three years ago, bringing 20 years of experience with startup companies, accelerators and M&A experience from Philips. Triventures manages $130 million, investing mainly in the field of transformational health and medical devices, with emphasis on data-driven technologies, including artificial intelligence, big data, and cyber security in the field of healthcare. The company operates from offices in Herzlia and Silicon Valley.
One of the distinguishing features of the fund is that many of the investors are strategic partners, including large corporations such as Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, Abbott, Cardinal Health, Boston Scientific, Samsung, Nikon as well as large networks of US hospitals and insurers such as Intermountain Healthcare. Although the investors have no special rights in the portfolio companies, many senior executives in these organizations work closely with fund managers to help portfolio companies penetrate the various markets.
“Triventures invests in cutting-edge fields that are based on the growing global connectivity, advanced computing, and information sharing capabilities. At the same time, we understand the potential sensitivity and vulnerability inherent in healthcare, and we are preparing for it,” emphasizes Geva. “We also invest in cyber solutions unique to the healthcare field, or in solutions in other areas based on technology that may be relevant to healthcare. We must bear in mind that most hospitals were not built originally with cyber protection in mind. Medical devices, such as CTs and MRIs, and even medical implants, such as pacemakers, insulin pumps and neuromodulation implants are all exposed to attack, and therefore in need of full and comprehensive protection.”
“We invested in ZingBox, from the Silicon Valley, which has developed a system that enables hospital administrators to identify all the connected devices in a hospital network. The platform properly identifies each unique device and monitors behavior of each one. The platform uses AI to create a digital ‘fingerprint’ for each device to track normal, and more importantly, abnormal behavior and alert the security staff of the organization. ZingBox is installed in more than 100 hospitals in the US and has been highly successful.”
“We believe that there is a need for cyber solutions dedicated to the needs of healthcare systems for the protection of medical records, of medical devices and implants, and of medical data. Adequate security will make it possible to share data within the hospital, as well as between hospitals and insurance companies, safely and anonymously, meeting regulatory and ethical standards.
"Therefore, we are looking for strong entrepreneurs who understand cyber and are interested in entering the healthcare field, or for companies with existing solutions, working in various fields, whose technology may be relevant to the healthcare field worldwide. We could help such companies not only through financial investment but also in understanding the market and how to penetrate it.”
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Digital health as a growth engine
"We see the digital health sector as a significant engine of growth and change in healthcare, far beyond the digitalization of processes," says Prof. Peter Fitzgerald, one of the founders of the fund. "It is reasonable to say that we are on the verge of a tsunami of changes in healthcare systems, a real transformation driven by increasing ability to use data. Health will be almost entirely digital, including cyber security solutions for medicine."
What will big data bring to the field of medicine?
"The ability to use data will enable a much more personalized medicine. It will enable the provision of preventive medicine by deploying sensors and analyzing personal and genetic information. Big data will make it possible to identify, for example, other patients with similar symptoms and find out how they responded to a particular treatment, optimizing treatment for everyone.
"It will also be possible to match the location of the treatment and its character to the patient, for example, providing care in the home or hospital, and to devise custom-tailored treatments based on the patient's condition and on lessons learned from past data. In time, we’ll be able to determine what works best.”
“The new technologies will also greatly affect the accessibility of healthcare. We’ll be able to provide many more medical services outside of hospitals and clinics, for example, at the patient's home, through remote monitoring and visiting nurses. It will be possible to conduct diagnosis and treatment by cell phone, and perform tests in doctors' offices or in retail health locations such as CVS or Walgreens, rather than at central laboratories.”
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